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How To Grow Your Accounting Skills In 5 Simple Steps
There’s more to becoming a good accountant than graduating with a qualification.
Here are your five key steps to growing your skills from Bryan Kesler, a licensed CPA who mentors accountants to pass their CPA exams.
1. Become a CPA
Becoming a CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant) one of the most surefire ways to distinguish yourself as a qualified professional in the accounting industry and to increase your accounting knowledge substantially.
The CPA exam puts your accounting skills to the test in Tax, Financial Accounting, Business and Finance, and Auditing.
There are CPA review courses that help you to prepare for this challenging exam which consists of 4 exam parts. CPA candidates can usually pass the exam within six months with the help of a good review course and a mentor. Review courses will help you to learn the material and prepare you to pass the exam with practice questions, lectures, review notes, and more.
There are many different certifications in the accounting world, including the EA, CMA, and CIA. While each of those certifications is good, the CPA is the most widely recognized credential and most comprehensive exam. Nearly every accounting job posting you’ll see will say they want either the EA/CMA/CIA or the CPA license, making the CPA license the most versatile in career options.
2. Take the Right Classes
Accountants can work in many different career paths, including tax, auditing, and even information technology!
Most universities have accounting students take a predetermined set of courses to earn their accounting degree as well as giving students the flexibility to choose their electives. Use these elective options to deepen your knowledge of your desired career. This is also an opportunity to hone soft skills, such as communication skills, problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking, which will enhance your appeal to potential employers.
Not only will taking courses related to your career look good to potential employers, but it will also improve your skill sets to be more successful in your chosen career.
3. Take CPE Courses
Good accountants never stop learning! Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is a great way to stay up to date with new regulations and changes to the industry.
All CPA licensees are required to take CPE each year. These a great way to acquire highly specific and useful skills to apply to your career.
Want to learn pivot tables or Vlookup functions in Excel? Or maybe deepen your knowledge of tax planning, data analysis or forensic accounting? There are CPE courses that teach those!
4. Actually Doing
Accounting is called a “practice” for a reason. You can learn a lot from courses and CPE, but the best way to truly enhance your skills as an accountant is to gain some work experience, and apply what you have learned to real-world situations.
Accounting is a very technical skill that is best learned by being out in the field. The problems you’ll face in the real world will never be as clean and straightforward as you encounter what you learn about in your accounting courses in your training. But that’s why accounting professionals are so highly valued – we solve problems.
Accountancy is rapidly evolving, making accountants needed now more than ever. Accountants used to fill out green ledgers and tax returns by hand. Now, most of the work we do is online, making virtual accounting easier than ever.
There is no shortage of demand for quality accountants, and many employers are desperate for suitable candidates who want to learn and grow with their companies. All you have to do is be willing to put in the work!
5. Find a Mentor
One of the most important things you can do for your accounting career is to find someone to be your mentor. Someone who will take you under his/her wing and help you think about your future. Even elite athletes have coaches and mentors to help them along the way.
A lot of accounting firms will partner their new staff up with a mentor who is just above their level. You should utilize this resource as much as you can.
Ask your mentor thoughtful questions about what to expect in your career and their thoughts on how to help you get where you want to be. Be clear about your career aspirations. And be sure to ask your mentors how you can help them. Their time and attention are valuable, and it’s essential to acknowledge them even if they don’t ask for anything in return.
And don’t stop with just one mentor. You can have many mentors! Just be sure that you’re not taking advantage of their time and are applying what they say!
A career in accountancy can take you to many different places, but you have to make it work for you.
Choose where you want to go with your career and be selfish in relentlessly pursuing your goals. Seek out the right certifications to enhance your skills, never stop learning, and seek out the help of those around you.
Keen on learning accountancy?
A career in accounting guarantees a bright future. Take the first step today and explore what accounting courses are on offer.
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