Finding an Accounting Job

If you’re good with numbers and computers, you may want to consider accounting jobs.

Almost everyone needs help managing their money from time to time. Corporations and businesses have entire departments devoted to money management. Accountants help businesses and individuals track their money and assets over time. Also, it’s a good time to be looking for accounting jobs, since the recession and several high-profile financial scandals have actually increased demand for quality accountants.

Not all accountants do the same kind of work. Accounting jobs vary dramatically. The main types are: audit, budget analysis, tax, management, and financial accounting. When individuals hire an accountant for their personal finances, they usually need a tax accountant with a CPA degree. On the other hand, businesses employ a variety of lower- and upper-level accountants for budget management and financial analysis.

Accounting jobs can be found almost anywhere. Government of all levels, corporations, and private firms hire accountants on a regular basis. Suburbs offer a variety of small business and accounting firm options, while going closer to a city broadens the market considerably.

Self-employment is an option. Accountants often find that opening their own firm provides the lifestyle they need. People who strike out on their own need a CPA degree and a high level of business sense and initiative. This type of work can often be done from home.

Accountants pay their dues. With few exceptions, people who pursue accounting jobs usually work their way up from the entry level. Start out as a clerk and process invoices, or as an auditor to check cash-flow accuracy. Before long, you will develop the knowledge, contacts, and skills to move up in the field.

Top accounting jobs require more education. A college degree can certainly help secure a job in entry-level accounting, but it’s not necessary. Sometimes, accountants have found success with two-year degrees and lots of initiative. But if you want to find a top job in business analysis or management accounting, you will need a college degree in business or accounting at least, and will likely need a master’s degree as well.

Your income will likely be in direct proportion to your effort and education. Accounting jobs vary widely in their compensation, but hard work and training typically pay off in this field.

Finding a job in accounting careers depends not only on your professional abilities but also on your ability to conduct a job search. Research accounting firms in the location where you wish to work, and check their websites for job openings. Also, be sure to maintain your network of classmates and colleagues who can let you know of job opportunities that may not yet be posted. Job search websites are another way to search for accounting jobs. While you may have a lot of postings to sift through, you can also get ideas about the kinds of opportunities available in your area and may get more research ideas from the postings you see.

The first step in applying for a job in accounting careers is to send in your rèsumè and cover letter. Following an organized rèsumè format and concisely listing your accomplishments will get you noticed. While writing your cover letter, be sure to include what it is about the position that interests you and how your qualifications and experience make you a good fit. It never hurts to have a second or third pair of eyes with experience in accounting careers look over your rèsumè and cover letter and give you tips.

The interview process at some accounting firms can take several rounds. Coming to your interview prepared will relax your nerves and help you answer questions well. Be polite to your interviewers and everyone else you encounter. Remember to proactively show your knowledge about accounting careers and the firm you are interviewing with by asking relevant questions. Think of good questions to ask before you arrive at your interview, but do not hesitate to ask well-informed questions that come to you during the interview either.

Have your references in mind before you apply for jobs in accounting careers or enter your interview. Let your references know ahead of time if a potential employer is going to contact them, and prep your references on anything specific that you would like them to say about you. Choose references wisely. Pick people that know you well enough to accurately describe your talents and accomplishments, and pick people who you get along with and can trust to speak highly of you.

Utilize any career services that are available to you through a university or professional organization. The more practice you get in the job search process, the easier it becomes.