Most people associate accounting with dealing with too many numbers and undertaking too many calculations. What we often ignore is the fact that accounting, as a discipline, has been around for centuries and it remains one of the most important disciplines in human history. Today, no organization can effectively manage its finances without meticulous accounting facilities, and so it is no surprise that people with accounting backgrounds are in such demand. The world needs those who know the numbers inside out.
There are plenty of opportunities for those studying accounting, and those who are interested are set for a great career. However, we cannot miss the most fundamental aspect of accounting: it is not easy to study. When I say that, I don’t mean it’s boring; the intention is to make you aware of the challenging nature of accounting as a discipline. Therefore, there are some things you need to know before getting into bookkeeping.
In this article, I have compiled a few things that anyone interested in pursuing a career in accounting should know. So, let’s take a look at them.
- Mastery of technology is an essential attribute
We are talking about the 21st century that digitized almost everything in our daily lives. Accounting practices have been overhauled and while we still retain some traditional accounting methods, much of the process has turned to specialist software. You will inevitably end up using accounting software, which means your technical knowledge and skills will come in handy. If you are not good with computers, you should focus your attention on the same. Accounting software simplifies most calculations and organization, but there is still significant manual intervention by the user. Therefore, tech-savvy accountants will thrive.
- Accounting specializations
You may not know it, but there are a range of accounting specializations one can choose from. These include forensic accounting, which basically requires investigation of financial statements, etc. to detect fraud or other wrongdoing; environmental accounting, which tracks spending on environmentally friendly measures such as garbage disposal; sports accounting, which helps make important decisions such as ticket costs and athlete salaries; and Personal Financial Planning, which does what it says and helps with effective financial management in personal life. When studying for your degree, be sure to invest in researching any majors you might consider in the future.
To work as an accountant, you will most definitely need certifications. Each country stipulates its own certification requirements for those who intend to become professional accountants. Well-known certifications include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Chartered Financial Planner (CFP), Master of Business Administration (MBA) , and Certified Payroll Professional (CPP). Typically, these certifications are difficult to obtain, but hard work and patience can do it all.
- Strategic thinking and advice
If you think you’re just doing math, you can’t be far from the truth. As an accountant, you will need to take on the role of consultant or advisor from time to time. One of the skills you need to have is strategic thinking that will help you in your consulting role. When a client comes to you, you will need to communicate your ideas and suggestions intelligently; you can’t do this without strategic thinking. Throughout your studies and even after, be sure to develop your strategic thinking skills.
- Networking is key
You must recognize that the nature of accounting is such that you will most likely need strong networking skills. Much of your career depends on the goodwill you enjoy among your customers, and customers don’t grow on trees that you have to pick. From day zero, you should start talking to your peers, juniors and seniors. Build strong relationships with your professors and those of your internships. Attending workshops and seminars is a good way to connect with people working in your field of study. Years of effort in networking will eventually pay off as people will recommend you and as a result a chain of customers will gradually grow.
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