What to Expect in Your First Year of Public Accounting

Public accounting is one of the best ways to start your accounting career. As many of you know, I started my career in public accounting working for a CPA firm and it was quite the learning journey – to say the least. I had no idea what I didn’t know and the learning curve was very long. Now that my first few years in public accounting are in the rear view, I want to provide some insight to those of you who may just be getting started in public accounting.

Start by managing your expectations. If you are used to being a high performer and the smartest in your class, you will need to adjust your expectations entering your new firm. You will be new and have the least amount of experience and that is really okay. Try to focus your attention on learning rather than leading at first. This way when it is time for you to step into a leadership role, you can do so with the proper tools and experience.

Prepare to manage your work and your career. How well you do and how far you go will be entirely up to you. Of course there will be resources to leverage along the way but it is important to remember that you are in the driver’s seat of your career. You will need to manage your work and overall career development.

Lastly, remain coachable. The most important part of embarking on this journey is learning from the inevitable mistakes you will make. Understand that there will always be ways to improve and you should welcome this feedback throughout your journey.

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