In the past several years, the accounting industry has transformed itself from one perceived as stodgy and static to a diverse, vibrant field that includes everyone from tax advisors to FBI agents, from CPAs to environmental activists. The business world's growing focus on strong, reliable, honest accounting practices has also led to an incredible spike in available accounting jobs, a renewed respect for the field, and steady salary growth. Here are some tips on how to stand out in the competitive field of accounting.
1. Be a Spreadsheet / Data Ninja - You'd be surprised, most accountants only have mid-level knowledge of Excel. As an accountant, you'll have a serious advantage over your competition by knowing arcane spreadsheet formulas. Master Excel VLookup and Pivot Tables until you can be proud to call yourself a Spreadsheet Ninja.
2. Make Time Management a Priority - Read up on the latest time management and productivity blogs and books. Put into practice tips such as going in to work early and defining your priorities for the day. It makes a difference and your boss will notice. By being laser focused at work, you'll get more done and feel more accomplishment.
3. Put Yourself Out There - Find a mentor or identify a role model. Join local accountant organizations. Attend networking events. Develop friendships with people at work. Continuously seek to understand what's happening in the world, the economy and your organization.
4. Earn a Reputation for Being a Team Player - Learn about the business from the ground up. Make a point to talk to people face to face . Ask for ways to improve communication and process. Be proactive and anticipate needs of your manager.
5. Continue Your Education - Branch out. Accountants with a graduate certificate in consulting or accounting information systems rise to the top. There is high demand for accountants who have broader knowledge that encompasses areas such as sales, insurance, legal, and risk management.