How can I be successful in accounting?
College can be fun just as much as college can be a drag. But at the end of the day, you are here for a degree so you can achieve all your life goals of retiring early and supporting your family or finally buying a Maserati to match your mansion. Education is important, but it’s not always easy, and as an accounting student, there are limitless ways of improving yourself and your work.
As you pursue your career in accounting, there are so many paths to take. You may want to own your firm one day. Find a promotion. Land a big raise. Regardless of your goals, there are some basic keys to your success in the field of accounting, and every single successful accountant can boast of these characteristics. You can do well with one or the other, but only together do they cooperate for success and freedom in your accounting future.
First, you should take some time to address where you are now. Are you a beginner? Experienced? Expert? What are your future goals in your career in accounting? Are these goals available to you at the current time, or will you need a big change to achieve your goals? You need some clarity for what you want before you can fully develop these traits. Then when you’re ready, you can begin working on these two critical keys to success in accounting.
Is Accounting difficult in college?
Choosing a major in college isn’t easy, and neither is graduating. Anyone will tell you that their major is difficult, but some will have an easier time because they have the right skills and right mindset going into their profession. Accounting is an occupation that will always have high demand, but it is constantly changing in the way it operates. Currently, most data is computerized and streamlined to aid accountants, so you will need to know more than just math and numbers. Analytics, Law, Communication, and Math are the essential skills you will study to become an accountant. It takes determination to study accounting because even when you graduate, there will always be a lot of work to do, upwards of 50-70 hours a week just crunching numbers.
So what Skills are Necessary to Become a Better Accountant?
Reasoning and Analytical Skills
Plenty of courses like algebra, statistics, and quantitative methods prepare students for the math involved with accounting, but being good with numbers also means being good with managing numbers as well. The world of accounting is intricate and detail-oriented, and students should be able to understand and analyze numbers to the exact digit. Endless financial statements and ledgers and taxes will require plenty of brainpower to solve and correctly resolve any issues, which is why reasoning and analytics play a major role in becoming a better accounting student.
Ethics and Morality
Accountants are held to a high standard because they handle the world’s money. You may have to take some law classes to understand the ethics of finances and what is legal and illegal to do. Major financial decisions that large corporations make come down to ethics and how accountants are advisors of what to do and not to do. This is why accountants are so important for the business world today.
In the 21st century, plenty of jobs are becoming obsolete because of technology providing the same service a person could do at half the cost. The trick is to learn technology and use it to your advantage. Everything runs on computerized data, so it makes sense to take a few courses relating to computer and maybe even computer programming. Students will not only have a complete understanding of the data but also have new tools to work with to make your job a bit easier.
Tips for Accounting Students
Accounting isn’t only all about numbers. You make yourself a more desirable accountant by learning more than just crunching numbers. Working towards a goal is very admirable, so here are some tips to become a better accounting student and on your way to your new sports car!
Accountants are always urged to continue to learn because the job itself is always evolving. Getting certified for a program like excel or even app design will help you become a more well-rounded accountant and become more desirable.
Network, Network, Network!
You will meet plenty of aspiring accountants while you study, but you will need to expand outside your comfort zone and meet real professionals. Go to networking events, seminars, even TEDx presentations to get a better view of not only the accounting world but the real world as well.
Read For Leisure
Your profession should bring you some joy, so reading a book about accounting or related to accounting should be enjoyable to you as well. The more you read, the stronger your skills get, and the passion for your profession grows.
Working hard and staying up late is a part of college life, but there are times where we can feel overwhelmed with everything. So it’s best to take a break now and then to recover and relax. Watch a movie or play some video games, but make sure to come back to work. If you need help with accounting homework, make sure to check out! We can help you be productive while you take your break.
No one knows everything about everything, and that’s okay. Do your research about the best accountants, the lucrative deals, or even the history of accounting. The more you know, the better prepared you are, for most things.
Steps to your Career Success in Accounting
Step 1: You must Excel in Math
Accounting is about numbers and the manipulation to numbers; hence, you must be certain that you excel in math at high school. People who hate math may not be a success in the accounting field. That’s why you gotta love math if you like to become an accountant. Take special attention in math and ask your teacher or counselor’s guidance on which courses to take to best prepare you for earning a degree in accounting when you enter a college later.
Step 2: Request Information From College that Offer Accounting Degree
Besides the traditional brick & mortar colleges, there are many prestige’s online colleges, and online universities offer degrees in accounting that enable you to earn an accounting degree from home. Send a letter, an email or make an online information request to those colleges that offer accounting degrees for their catalogues and admission requirements on their accounting degree programs.
Step 3: Research On Certified Public Accountant Requirement
To become a certified accountant, you must receive Certified Public Accountant certification, CPA from a state. The pre-requirement to CPA certification is you must first receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related business fields. Check out the information on the requirement of CPA will make you more prepared on what courses need to be taken in an accounting degree program.
Step 4: Ensure Your Accounting Degree Will Fulfill State Requirement
Normally, you will start your first career in your state after graduating from your degree program. Hence, you need to make certain that the accounting degree program that you are going to enrol fulfil all state requirements, else you will face a problem when you want to start your accounting career later.
Step 5: Decide Accounting Field Of Interest
There are a few starting points for your accounting career, you may major in public, government, and management accounting or internal auditing. No one-degree program will cover all these fields; you need to choose which field that best suits your interest which you can choose as your majors of study.
Step 6: Become Proficient with Accounting Software
The time of using Microsoft Excel program in accounting work was over. You need to become proficient with a variety of accounting software if you want to succeed in this field. You may not be able to learn all the accounting software in the market, but you need to be familiar with the common accounting software used by most corporations.
Step 7: Gain Working Experience in Related Fields
Related working experiences are important in determining success in your accounting career. If you are attending a class-based accounting degree program, you could work at part-time jobs or internships in accounting firms during your college years. Suppose you are getting your accounting degree online. In that case, you can start gaining your full working experience in accounting with a full-time job, because an online accounting degree program allows you to plan your learning schedule that fits into your full-time job.
Step 8: Takes CPA Test & Become A Certified Accountant
You can start preparing for the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) examination while earning your bachelor’s degree in accounting. You will need some accounting experience, in addition to a bachelor’s degree, before applying for the test.
Keys to Successful Small Business Accounting
Bookkeeping, finances, revenue – these are all terms, among many others, that tend to be intimidating for many small business owners to tackle. Keeping track of accounts receivable, billing, collections is also an arduous task for many. The main problem tends to be that a lack of attentiveness in the financial health of the business is detrimental, and leads to many costly errors that are often easy to avoid.
Implementing a robust accounting strategy may initially seem like an impossible challenge, but it is not as difficult as it may seem.
By looking at each aspect of the accounting business, and asking yourself some questions associated with each, this is already a big step.
Some questions may seem easier to answer than others. For the ones that pose a challenge, think deeply about why that challenge exists. What steps you could take to make answering that question easier the next time around – this will become the foundation of your accounting strategy going forward.
As you probably already know, bookkeeping is all about the details. Revenue tracking may not seem like it is all that important, but those small decisions we overlook tend to snowball into large errors very quickly.
- How will you view your books?
- How will you get paid? Will you accept online payments?
- How will you keep track of your expenses?
- How will you keep your business in the black? (Budgeting)
By putting some small measures in place, you are ensuring that the rest of the financial process will become easier to handle.
No business will thrive without proper payroll practices in place. Employees need to be compensated for their time consistently, that much is certain. However, there are other questions associated with that aspect that must also be considered:
- How will you handle payroll?
- Will you offer payroll benefits?
- How often will employees be paid?
- Will they be salaried or hourly?
Payroll benefits are a good incentive for employees, while also allowing you some breathing room when it comes to taxes. Similarly, there are pros and cons to the frequency of payments, as well as whether they should be salaried or hourly that must also be considered.
Taxes are an unavoidable and time-consuming process – and unfortunately, they’re inevitable. There are ways of making it easier on yourself, however. Figuring out what your obligations are, to begin with, is vital, as well as ensuring that you are paying the right amount.
- How will you determine your tax obligations?
- How will you know if you’re overpaying or underpaying?
- Are there automation systems in place
And if it becomes difficult to manage, consider automating certain processes to make it go smoother, or outsourcing to save yourself some resources in the long run.
Banking is another one of those small issues that tend to grow in size if ignored. Using a credit or a loan comes with obligations, so it is important to work with a bank that is right for your business.
- Where will you keep your accounts?
- How many bank accounts will you have?
- Will you use a line of credit or a loan?
Keeping your personal and business account separate is also incredibly important, so it might be worth considering using different banks to reduce the temptation to blur the lines between the two.
Financial reports are paramount to a successful business – as is reviewing them regularly. Set up key performance indicators, establish a baseline and then use that to measure success going forward.
Regular financial report reviews will help you spot irregularities and errors early on:
- How will you generate reports?
- What reports will you be viewing?
- How often will you be viewing your reports?
There are many different indicators you can establish that will work with your business needs, and it is imperative to be disciplined in reviewing these. Whether it is monthly, quarterly or somewhere in between – regular financial report reviews will help you spot irregularities and errors early on.
Systems & Workflows
Establishing a system and workflow will not only help increase the success of your business, especially once it is streamlined, but it also helps keep employees accountable. Some questions to ask here are:
- Who will be entering expenses?
- Who will be generating invoices?
- Who will pay the bills?
- Who will generate reports?
Creating distinct responsibilities for your financial team will help in keeping track of important financial aspects. Still, it will also give your employees a defined scope of work that will help them succeed.
Broader Client Base
If you offer a diversified package of services, you’ll appeal to a more diverse client base. For the sake of an example, let’s say your firm offers bookkeeping services exclusively for small businesses. Now, you only appeal to small-business owners for that single service. Your clients can’t refer you to friends who need personal tax returns done, or to larger businesses who need a range of accounting services. You’ve pigeon-holed your business into a single service offered to a single business type, and it isn’t easy to experience significant growth when you’ve been painted into a corner.
Same Clients, More Business
You already have a customer base, so why not maximize the business you get from these customers? Firms who offer diversified services can offer multiple services to the same customer; this allows your business to maximize their potential profits while making you a convenient one-stop-shop for all of your customers’ accounting needs. Instead of just doing your client’s tax return, you can do their tax return, their business tax return, provide bookkeeping services for the business, and help with payroll management. Suddenly, your profits from a single customer have increased many times over!
An Expert in the Field
You might think that diversifying your services leads to lower levels of expertise—or, as the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, but master of none.” However, in the court of public opinion, this is not true. When customers see that you can handle all aspects of accounting, they will see you as an expert in your field. That’s why those firms at the very top of the industry have such a great reputation for what they do—because they can do it all.
Diversifying your portfolio of services can help your business to grow and gain a reputation for being the go-to expert in your industry. It’s just another step on the climb to the top of the accounting field.
Finding the formula to success can be a trial-and-error process, and very few businesses truly figure it out. It takes the right employees, the right habits, the right tools, and sometimes, a little bit of luck to climb to the top of the accounting industry. However, we hope you can learn from those companies who seem to have unlocked the secrets of running a successful accounting firm so that you can apply these secrets to your own business, and turn your firm into the next big success story.
So now that you have the secrets of the most successful accounting firms out there, what else are you waiting for? Start implementing these changes in your own business today, and watch your business grow!