Working Your Way Up the Ladder

It’s not always popular to talk about “paying your dues,” but the fact is most people start out their careers somewhere near the bottom and work their way up. A combination of hard work, skill, a good network and even luck will move you up the rungs of your accounting career ladder. Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll take to get there. Education and internships The first step in an accounting career is education. Accounting majors may pursue an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree. An Associate’s degree may help you land a job. But a Bachelor’s degree will open up more doors in the long term. While you’re working on your education, you may have the opportunity to intern in a corporate accounting department or a public accounting firm. Internships may be paid or unpaid, but they can expose you to many areas in the accounting field, help you begin to build a professional network and set you up for success after graduation. Entry level jobs After you complete your education, it’s time to look for a job. You’ll have to choose whether you’d like to work in public, private or governmental accounting. Public accountants prepare tax returns and financial statements for a variety of clients. Private accountants work internally for a company to handle financial transactions and reporting. Governmental accountants do the same for federal, state or local government entities. Whichever path you choose, there are usually lots of opportunities for entry-level accounting jobs. Common job titles include staff accountant, junior accountant, accounts payable or accounts receivable clerk and audit associate. Any of these positions are a great first step in your accounting career. Once you’re in, you’ll start gaining experience and building the network that will help you advance in your accounting career path. Mid-level accounting jobs Once you’ve gained some professional experience, you can start working your way up the organizational ladder and moving into more advanced positions. With two to eight years of experience, you’re eligible to become an accounting manager, cost accountant, accounting analyst, controller or audit manager. In a public accounting firm, Read More »

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