For many young people embarking on their accounting careers, one of the most important lessons to learn is how to be a successful first year accountant. Your first year at an accounting firm or other company is one of the most important, as it will set the stage for your potential future career with your employer.
So continue reading to learn all about how you can achieve the best success as an entry-level accountant!
Why Become Top Rated 1st Year?
Many people in this economy are just happy to get a job – the market is tough, and with little forgiveness on student loan debt it is important to start earning money in order to make your payments on time and in full. But remember that you are also embarking on a career that may last a lifetime!
You want to put your best foot forward in order to get the big promotions, gain priceless experience and become a top 4 accounting firm’s dream employee. So do not be content with doing an average job – aim to be a top rated first year accountant and you will go far!
Doing an excellent job as a first year accountant will let your boss(es) know that you are serious about an accounting career, and that you have real goals and ambitions that you are striving towards.
They will keep an eye on you for promotions, assign you important tasks and clients, and help you network with other leading accountants in your field. Make sure to check out my top tips below, and you too will be on your way to becoming an incredibly successful first year accountant!
Top 5 Tips for Being a Successful First Year Accountant
Competition to become a successful first year accountant at a big 4 accounting firm can be fierce, though it can also be cutthroat in some of the smaller firms as well – these days, everyone is looking to make it to the top! In this section, I’ve put together my top five tips for making it to the top of the 1st year leader board: I gained a lot of experience and knowledge from my own time as a first year accountant, and I want to pass that along to you!
1. Ask Questions.
This goes for both the big stuff and the little stuff. Sometimes first year accountants are afraid of coming off as ‘dumb’ if they don’t automatically know what their boss or supervisor is talking about – but this is not the case!
Consider this: if you were supervising someone, would you prefer they ask you a few basic questions to ensure they completed a task correctly, or would you rather turn up at their desk to see that the task was nowhere near completion? So swallow your pride, ask a few questions, and make sure things get done right!
Your boss will know that you are new and do not have the same experience as your senior co-workers, and they expect you to ask questions. How else will you learn?!
2. Get Organized.
As an accountant, you will be expected to juggle multiple clients and tasks every day and every quarter. It is therefore incredibly important that you become organized and develop a foolproof system for keeping track of your work.
Make sure that you keep separate folders for each individual client, and then put these in a larger ‘Clients’ folder on your desktop. The work you’re doing for your current client should be a separate folder in and of itself: I like to simply name this folder ‘Current Client’ and have it in plain view on my desktop.
You should also have a folder containing any relevant past training you’ve done and company guidance papers, just to reference if the need arises. You can follow a similar method for your email inbox by creating separate folders for ‘client requests’, ‘workplace memos’, etc. Most importantly, whether it’s on your desktop or in your inbox, do not delete anything!
3. Take Notes.
Like my tip about asking questions, it is important for anyone wanting to be a top rated first year accountant to take diligent notes during your training period. Sometimes this is a task easier said than done: if you have messy handwriting (like myself!) you may want to bring along your tablet or small laptop to the training sessions to more quickly and efficiently record what the senior accountants are telling you.
It is also important to ask questions before and after these training sessions to make sure that you have everything clarified in your own notes. This is especially relevant for the walk-through segments of training, which may actually only cover half of what you need to know. So be sure to check your notes and then ask your supervisor to explain or clarify anything else!
4. Be Diligent.
When completing a task or assignment, you need to make sure that you diligently check every detail before signing off on it. You are a professional accountant now, which means you are personally accountable for all of your work!
You do not want to make silly mistakes that will reflect poorly on yourself and your company, nor do you want to be known as someone who produces sloppy work. So before signing off on an assignment, first step away and take a break for a few minutes after you finish it.
This will give you a slight rest and allow you to then look at the task with fresh eyes. First check for any typos or spelling mistakes. Be sure to review all of the steps you took with the audit software to double-check your work. Only after thoroughly reviewing everything should you sign off on your assignment.
5. Attitude is Everything!
In addition to these more practical tips for your everyday work life at an accounting firm, it is important to have an excellent attitude in order to become a successful first year accountant. First and foremost, do not whine or complain: no one forced you to become an accountant, and I guarantee that many people would do almost anything to have the job that you have now!
It is important to let your employer know that you are excited and eager to come to work each day: attitude is everything in becoming a top rated 1st year! You should also remember to have fun at first year training seminars, and do your best to network with people.
If a few people are talking about going out to a bar or restaurant later, ask to join them. Try your best to remember a few faces from your first year at the firm, because as people leave, the classes will get smaller and you will more often than not start to see the some of the same people.
I hope this article has given you some great ideas and a bit of motivation to become the best first year accountant that you can be! It is so important to start off strong, so follow these tips and I guarantee you will be a top rated 1st year!
Originally posted 2016-08-08 20:46:07.