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How To Start Your Accountancy Career Off On The Right Track

  • April 10, 2019

Whether you’re fresh out of uni with a degree in accounting or you’ve just recently changed career paths and received your accountancy qualifications, the world is now your oyster. In addition to being one of the world’s oldest professions, accounting has always been one of the most in demand. Moreover, while certain professions may come and go, the world will always need more accountants.

With a high median salary and a constant demand for qualified accounting professionals, the time has never been better to join the field. However, you’ve probably already realised just how large and diverse that field is. With so many opportunities to apply your skills in some different areas, knowing where or how to start your career can be a little overwhelming.

So, here are some tips on how to get your accountancy career off on the right track.

Set Career Goals And Be Focused

Rather than applying for the first position that you find, start by clearly defining your goals and mapping out an accounting career path. Before starting your job search, make sure you’ve carefully considered the following questions:

Where do you see yourself in five years? What would you like to have accomplished by then?

Do you want to specialise and if so, which areas of accounting do you want to focus on? How could you gain more expertise in those fields?

Do you want to work as part of an accountancy firm, or would you instead work in-house for a particular company/industry?

Are you willing to commute long distances or even relocate for a job?

What sort of salary and benefits do you aspire to in your career?

Are you willing to work more extended hours to get ahead quickly, or is work-life balance more important to you at this stage in your life?

Know What Employers Are Looking For

Being aware of what potential employers are looking for from accounting candidates is essential not only in planning your job search but in preparing for future interviews.

Beyond the basics – requisite education and qualifications – companies are often looking to work with or hire an accountant who understands the ins and outs of their business. Having at least some experience in a relevant industry can go a long way in landing you a job with a company. For example, if you’re changing careers and already have a background in retail or manufacturing, you might consider applying your accountancy skills in one of those industries.

If you’re interviewing to work as an in-house accountant for a company, they’ll also want to make sure that you’re the right fit culturally and that you have the soft skills to match your accounting chops. Are you a reliable team player who can work well with others, and are you able to communicate beyond the numbers? These are just some of the questions potential employers will want answers to when considering you for a role.

If you want to specialise in a certain area of accounting, working for an accountancy firm or a larger private company with their own accountancy team may be the right move for you. However, if you’re aiming to work with a smaller business, where you are likely to be their sole financial professional, you’ll need to be able and willing to do a bit of everything, from record-keeping and managing payroll to preparing taxes. In addition to ensuring that you have these sets of skills, employers will also want to know whether you are up to date with using the latest accounting software.

Access Contacts And Build New Networks

As the saying goes, ‘It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.’ Knowing how to make connections at professional conferences and networking events can help open doors to new jobs. Keep in mind that your most valuable contacts may not be the obvious ones (those working in accounting). For example, your next-door neighbour may have a brother who’s a CFO at a growing company.

While real-world networking can still be highly effective, social networking online has become equally (if not more) important. In addition to reviewing all of your social media accounts to make sure they cast you in a favourable light, making sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and polished is every bit as critical as keeping your CV up to date.

As the world’s largest professional network, with over 550 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is an extremely valuable resource for both researching and networking with potential employers. Maintaining a complete profile that’s replete with the right keywords can be a highly effective way of connecting with the kinds of companies you’d like to work for.

Work With A Specialist Recruiter

In addition to networking, finding a specialist recruitment consultant who is willing and eager to invest time learning about your skills and preferences can give you a definite edge in your job search. You’ll want to work with a specialist recruiter with connections within the accounting field who can help you find opportunities that suit your background and career interests.

In addition to saving you valuable time in your job search, a good recruiter will help to prepare you for interviews by giving you insightful background information about potential employers. And since recruiters are paid by the company they place you with, they have an incentive to find you the highest-paying position possible and will serve as a strong voice on your behalf during salary negotiations.

Businesses ranging from start-ups to large companies routinely use recruitment companies to locate potential hires with in-demand skills and experience. By working with a specialist recruiter to boost your search, you can increase the likelihood of landing the right position with the right company, thus setting your accountancy career off on the right track.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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