Accounting Career Path
This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Vivian Hsieh ’20
The recruitment season for the Accounting industry has arrived! As a PCA who has gone through the entire process last year as a sophomore, I would like to share some of my personal tips that have helped me to secure an internship for the next summer.
Tip 1: Do Not Underestimate Any of Your Experiences
Given the competitive nature of the Accounting industry, people often think that they need to have prior Accounting internship experience or else they are simply not good enough compared to other candidates. However, this is not true at all. In fact, many Accounting firms appreciate your experiences from other opportunities because they demonstrate your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and do things that are not necessarily Accounting related. Also, there are many transferable skills that one can learn from experiences outside of Accounting.
For example, as a teacher assistant at a local English-Mandarin preschool, I was constantly communicating with parents in two different languages. This shows the professionals that I am fluent in two languages and that I have been practicing my customer service skills on a lower scale. Customer service is one key activity that the accounting industry values, so even though my experience was not directly related to Accounting, I was still able to learn a meaningful skill that will definitely help me in my career.
Tip 2: Network, Network, Network…
An opportunity in the Accounting field requires a lot more than just a good resume or an extraordinary GPA. It requires plenty of networking early on as the networking sessions allow professionals to get to know you better than what a piece of paper tells.
Ever since my freshman year, I have been attending career fair, Accounting Spotlight, employer table, etc. because I know that these networking events will allow the professionals to understand my passion in Accounting and the firm as well as my willingness to learn. Also, by networking early on, I was getting my foot into the door relatively sooner than my peers, so the professionals most likely knew me better than they knew others.
Tip 3: Plan your academic calendar out early on
Meeting the CPA requirements is not hard. However, strategically planning out your requirements, or schedule, can be extremely helpful. One regret that I hear from many professionals is that they wish they had started studying for the CPA exam prior to working full time. Studying for the exam while working basically takes away the work-life balance, and it creates stress that could have been avoided if the studying had begun earlier.
Other than the CPA exam, it is also important to plan out how you would like to obtain your 150 credit hours early on. Ever since freshman year, I have been taking an Accounting class almost every semester. This helps me to spread my requirements out and have a better balance between Accounting and non-Accounting coursework. This also allows me to enjoy Accounting slightly more, because I was never overwhelmed by the information to take in.
These three tips have helped me to secure an internship for the next summer, so I hope you can benefit from these tips as well. Good luck throughout your recruitment process, and I wish you the best results!