Making a career change to accounting is a bold move if you are already set in a different career. However,
if you have decided to make a change, then you’ve already made the important first step. Fortunately, accounting is a lucrative career with many opportunities for advancement and is well worth the wait and dedication.
If you are set to make a career change into accounting, here are some things to consider.
Get Your Bachelor’s in Accounting
Whether this will be your first venture into higher education, or you have a non-related degree already, you will have to go back to school to get a degree in accounting. Although it may seem daunting, this is an essential step in the path to become an accountant. You will have to get a bachelor’s and potentially a master’s degree.
If you have the time and the resources, attend a university to earn your bachelor’s in accounting. However,
if you are like many working professionals who can’t afford to take time off work or have other obligations, consider getting an online degree. There are, still, other ways of obtaining your degree, such as working remotely from a satellite campus.
Consider a Master’s Degree
While it is not absolutely essential, one of the best ways to bolster your resume and your skill set is to get your master’s degree. The accounting field is flooded with qualified candidates, so employers are becoming more selective. This rise in competition means that employers are more likely to pick someone with a graduate degree. The three degrees offered are a Master of Accounting, a Master of Professional Accountancy, and Master of Science in Accounting.
Depending on the school and the program, it can take one to two years to finish a program. You can also get a graduate degree in a related field like business, economics, or commerce. It may be that you can qualify for a master’s degree if your bachelor’s was in an unrelated field. However, you will most likely have to take extra time and classes to grow and strengthen your mathematics and finance knowledge. If you are willing to dedicate your time, getting your master’s degree can expedite your path to success.
“Accounting is a lucrative career
with many opportunities for
advancement and is well worth
the wait and dedication.”
Don’t Hesitate to Jump in Now
If you do not have a background in accounting, you will have to jump into it right away to learn the ropes. Do not hesitate to network with your peers, meet your professors, and go to events enlisted by the school. You may find that there are students in your same position, so build a support group with them and take advantage of all of your opportunities to gain an advantage.
Depending on your current responsibilities, it’s vital that you consider internships. These can give you firsthand experience and provide invaluable insight into the roles you’re considering; check out the offerings in your area at http://www.internships.com.
Decide Your Specialty
While you are in school, determine which sector you want to specialize in. Private accounting allows you to work for a single company. You become a part of their in-house staff and you help keep count of their records, expenditures, payroll, etc. You essentially become a specialist by virtue of working at one company for a long amount of time. The hours are consistent—typically nine to five—and you work in an office.
If, however, you decide to be a public accountant, then you get to market yourself to a variety of clients. You will work a much more flexible—albeit inconsistent—schedule, but you will nonetheless benefit from having more diversity of the kind of work you will be doing. You will likely find out which you prefer by means of experience and education.
Prepare for the CPA Exam
Not all accountants become certified public accountants, but you will have the upper hand if you do. While pursuing your degree in accounting, you will have to complete one hundred and fifty hours of preparation requirements for the CPA exam. There are huge benefits to taking and passing the CPA. First, you will stand out to potential employers. Someone who passes this exam shows devotion to the profession. You will also have more security in your career if you become a CPA.
Employers want the most qualified candidates, and there is no better way to get noticed. That said, the test can be extremely difficult. Many find they must retake certain portions of the test over and over again before receiving a passing score. Set aside months of time to study before sitting for any portion of the exam, and be sure to utilize study resources from a site like http://crushthecpaexam.com.
As soon as you are able, get experience in the field. Whether this is as an intern or at a job, getting some experience immediately will broaden your network base and give you more opportunity for advancement. Consider, also, that you already have work experience.
As someone who has years of experience behind them in another field, you can bring unique skills and insight that the younger accountants right out of college may not have.
Have you considered a career change into accounting?
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