How to retrain as an accountant – whatever your age
Being an accountant is not an easy feat. However, the position pays well, the demand is quite high, and the job is stable. Plus, you can be the one to decide if you want to move up the ladder.
So, if you’re looking to start a new career or want to add a new profession to your portfolio, being an accountant is a smart choice. After all, who would say no to an average base salary of $60k+ per year with the possibility of going as high as $88k+?
And that’s just as an employee. Things change considerably when you have your own company and can choose your clients (which you can easily do once you have some experience under your belt).
If you’re looking into a career change and accountancy looks good, here are some of the things you should keep in mind.
Make sure you have the right skills
While you can learn most of the skills needed to be a good accountant, it helps if you already master some of them. Also, it’s crucial that you know which skills are needed to make sure this profession fits your personality and overall aspirations.
Without further ado, here are the most important skills to succeed as an accountant:
- Problem-solving – swiftly identifying issues, exploring possible solutions, and implementing effective strategies are crucial for accurate financial reporting and decision-making.
- Attention to detail – meticulous attention to detail is vital in accounting, as even minor errors can have significant implications on financial statements, taxes, or audits.
- Technological ability – proficiency with relevant accounting, spreadsheet programs (like Excel), and other technological tools improve the efficiency of calculations, data management, report generation, performance tracking, and financial analysis.
- Interpersonal skills – excellent communication skills help you collaborate within a team environment. Plus, you can make complex financial information easier to understand for non-experts involved in decision-making processes.
- Ethical values – accountants play a critical role in the financial integrity of organizations. Therefore, strong ethical values are essential to maintain trust and credibility in the profession. This includes maintaining confidentiality, adhering to professional standards, conducting unbiased financial reporting, avoiding conflicts of interest, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
Get your certification
To be an accountant, all you need is a bachelor’s degree in accounting. However, if you plan on furthering your career, you will need to get some certifications, and the CPA is one of the most important ones.
However, becoming a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) involves much more than just taking the exam.
Understand exactly what exams you’ll need to take
The conditions needed to take the CPA exam can vary depending on the jurisdiction, as each state or country has its own specific requirements. Most jurisdictions will accept candidates that have a bachelor’s degree, but the degree must be from an accredited college or university and should generally include a certain number of accounting and business-related courses.
To make sure you master the CPA exam, check the CPA Exam Guy website for tips and reliable resources. Keep in mind that this is a comprehensive examination consisting of four sections, each testing different areas of accounting and business knowledge.
Get great study materials to help you pass the exams
Finding the best study materials for CPA prep can be quite daunting, but this step is crucial. So check user reviews, reputation in the industry, and track record of helping candidates succeed before deciding on a provider.
Also, make sure that the study materials cover all content areas tested on the CPA exam thoroughly. This includes auditing & attestation (AUD), business environment & concepts (BEC), financial accounting & reporting (FAR), and regulation (REG).
The best study materials will provide comprehensive coverage through concise explanations, examples, practice problems/exams, and reference material.
Get some experience
Getting your certification is only the first step to becoming a great accountant. The second and most important step is getting work experience.
If you’re serious about this career path, you should start early by looking for internships during your undergraduate or graduate studies. This will help you get a better understanding of how accounting works and boost your qualifications for entry-level positions.
Additionally, post-graduation, you should search for positions that offer valuable knowledge, skills, and opportunities for further career advancement.
You can become an accountant at any stage of your career
In conclusion, you can become an accountant at any stage of your professional life. While it may be a bit more difficult when you have a job and other responsibilities, if you plan your time effectively and make sure to study for the exam, things should go smoothly.