Undoubtedly, accounting is a lucrative field to work in, especially in today’s technologically advanced business environment. Every company relies on accountants to help them deal with their financial matters and make important financial decisions. As a result, it’s not surprising to see accountants earning market-competitive salaries from large companies.
The benefits accompanying a career in accounting have attracted many people, making the job market fiercely competitive. So, professionals need to bolster their knowledge and skills to land a good job. Otherwise, they might find themselves being unemployed for a long time. So, to help you establish a successful career in accounting, here are five tips for staying competitive.
Advance your education
One of the key aspects employers look for in job candidates is their qualifications. Your qualifications reflect your expertise and talent. Earning a simple accounting degree will get you started an accounting-related job, but you may not be able to compete with professionals with higher additional qualifications. Therefore, you need to advance your education to prove yourself better than other job candidates. More importantly, with advanced qualifications, you’ll be able to improve your job performance thanks to your vast knowledge of accounting. This will allow you to be competitive not only for job positions, but also for promotion opportunities in the future.
However, you have more options at your disposal when choosing what degree or course to pursue. For example, you could opt for a postgrad in accounting or business. Or you could opt for a CPA certification to stand out from the crowd. You’ll be able to join top-tier accounting and auditing firms after passing the CPA exam. You can check out Wiley Education or search online for study material, prep guides, and test dates.
While education can be useful for staying competitive, you can’t learn everything in a classroom environment. Along with qualifications, employers also keep an eye on the experience of job candidates, as it shows how well they can perform their jobs. So, to land a decent job in accounting, you need to avail as many opportunities as you can for earning experience.
One of the best opportunities available to earn experience is to pursue internships. Doing so is particularly beneficial for those who are still pursuing their education or have recently completed it. If you are new to the field of accounting, you won’t find many job opportunities until you have gained experience through internships. Internships help you stay ahead of the competition and allow you to improve the skills needed to advance in your career. Alongside internships, you can also use volunteering opportunities to increase your experience further. But increasing experience through various internships and volunteering opportunities seems more attractive to employers.
Build your professional network
Not all career opportunities are publicly announced. 85% of all job vacancies are filled through professional networks. Along with providing job opportunities, professionals in your network can help you advance in your existing career as well. Therefore, it’s crucial to expand your professional network in the field of accounting. Only then will you be able to access the jobs you want to pursue and the opportunities you want to avail for a successful professional life.
Building your network will also give you the chance to meet experienced and skilled professionals who can offer you important advice to stay competitive. Additionally, many professionals are willing to train others and help them succeed.
So, try to visit networking events and interact with professionals as much as possible. You might find several people with the same interests as yours at such events. Furthermore, you can also meet up with accountants of your age or students you graduated with to discuss professional challenges and exchange professional contacts.
Gain soft skills
While skills needed specifically for accounting are important to cultivate, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of developing soft skills. While hiring employees, employers look for individuals who have exceptional accounting skills and soft skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork skills. Possessing such skills will allow you to gain a competitive advantage over those who focus only on accounting skills. As a result, even if you have lower qualifications, you might have a good chance of landing a lucrative job because you’re good at working with other people. Furthermore, developing soft skills can make it easier for you to handle your job effectively.
Communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytical skills are some of the most important soft skills you should focus on developing and improving. Finding a mentor in your career can help you learn these skills, as experienced professionals can train new accountants.
Develop technical skills
In the modern age, technology is starting to become a significant part of a career in accounting. Tasks like financial analysis, data representation, and forecasting are now more efficiently performed through computer programs. 79% of companies agree AI can help to increase their productivity. As a result, employers look for candidates familiar with technology and possess good technical skills to handle their jobs effectively. So, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, keep developing technical skills and soft skills.
As data analytics plays an important role in accounting, understanding how to use AI software and other programs to handle financial data is a good idea. You can also familiarize yourself with blockchain technology, as it’s becoming quite popular in the accounting sector. Knowing such technologies will give you a competitive advantage over other accountants and machines that can replace you in the age of automation.
Accounting is a career that offers numerous benefits, including a good paycheck. Successful accountants enjoy demand, financial stability, and job satisfaction. However, becoming a successful accountant in this fiercely competitive job market is becoming increasingly challenging. Therefore, it’s crucial to gain a competitive edge. So, be sure to follow the tips mentioned above for a successful future.