Accounting Degree Secured, Now What?

The time has finally come for you to walk (or strut) across that stage and turn your tassel. You’ve worked tirelessly for this moment and it’s finally here. Now that you’ve earned your degree in accounting, you probably have a cute little idea about how your future will play out. Here are a couple of things to consider.

Your Career

If you played your cards right, the job has already been secured (and thus the bag). If you have not quite finalized your career plans that is fine too- but let’s devise a plan. Typically, accounting graduates go on to work in accounting related roles post graduation and/or attend grad school. If you are finished with the schooling aspect of life, think about what type of career you want to have.

There are varying accounting roles. However, with little to no experience you will likely be limited to an associate accounting position in either public, corporate, or governmental accounting. Having an idea of the type of lifestyle you want is helpful in deciding what type of role you prefer. Things to consider include travel, work-life balance, and variety of work. If you are beginning your job search post graduation, understand that your options could be limited. Many college recruiters fill positions in the Fall but that does not mean there are no jobs out there. Utilize your social media networks, liked LinkedIn and keep an open-mind during your search.

Your Certification

If you are planning to get an accounting/business related certification such as the CPA, CFE, or even CISA-now is the time to prepare for that. I’m sure that after four or more years of studying in college you think you could use a break, but this isn’t the time to chill. Many accounting jobs start in the Fall. If you’re graduating in Spring that gives you the summer months to get it done.

“Okay boom- I’ll take the first two months off this summer to catch up on fun. Then in August I’ll start studying for the CPA and be done in time to start my full time position in October.” If your plan sounds anything like this, you might be playing yourself.

Sure, there are a few unicorns out there who successfully take all four sections of the CPA exam in a couple of months, but I would warn against this plan. You will want to front load your work. This way, if you need to retake any sections you will have time to do so. If you finish in time to salvage a couple of summer months-great!

I speak from experience when I say, once you start working, trying to find adequate study time between deadlines can be like trying to find a Beyoncé concert ticket at will call. Set yourself up for success and get as much of your testing done before starting your new role.

Whichever step is next for you in your accounting journey, be sure to keep an open mind. Everything may not go precisely according to your timeline and that is okay. If you are entering the profession of accounting, it’s important you learn to be flexible.

Understand that the first couple of years of your career will be focused on learning and developing your craft. There is no need to pretend that you know it all, no one is going to believe that anyway.

Enjoy this next chapter- you worked hard for it!

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