4 Steps to Take Control of your Entry-Level Accounting Career

4 Steps to Take Control of your Entry-Level Accounting Career

Congratulations! You’ve made the great decision to join the accounting profession.

Now what?

Whether you are just getting started in an accounting career or have a few years of experience under your belt, here are a few points to consider so that you can take control of your career now and ensure you lay the foundation for a successful future.

Know your options and where you want to go

A career in accounting offers a range of many interesting paths. It is essential to gather as much information as possible on the career paths available to you.

From deciding on the company size you would like to work for, whether you would like to work in public accounting or private industry, and/or whether you would like to get your CPA license, the options are endless.

Adequately researching how each factor will play into your career goals, salary, and job satisfaction will help you to grow. For example, at a smaller company, you may get to wear many hats and see a lot of the accounting process. If you are at a larger company, you will likely be specializing in one aspect of the accounting process but also gain experience of working with large ERP systems.  There are pros and cons at every level and talking through those with a mentor, colleague, or recruiter is important in this early stage of your career.

Focus on Networking  

Improving your networking skills takes time and energy. It may even require you to slightly get out of your comfort zone, but don’t get too concerned.

Here are a few reasons we have heard regarding why people aren’t networking:

1. Networking is daunting… – “It just feels too big. It’s too much.”

Try breaking it down. Devote 5 – 10 minutes a day to practicing your networking skills.

2. Not enough time to network… – “My job, family, social life, etc. always takes away time to network.”

Ease into it and take it at your own pace. A connection can happen in as little as a minute. Build your presence up and the connections will come.

3. Outside of your comfort zone… – “I feel socially awkward networking.”

Maybe you just need to know what to say and how to say it. Practice with friends or family and get feedback on how you communicate.

4. There is no pay off… – “I’ve tried and I didn’t really see any results I like.”

Don’t give up! It’s a long game that will pay off in time.

    A solid network is beneficial to help connect you to ‘hidden’ job opportunities, advance your career and just chat about current events in the market relevant to your job or industry.

    In the post-COVID era, networking is taking shape in many forms virtually. From engaging through a LinkedIn Group to having a virtual coffee on a Zoom call to attending virtual conferences, there are many ways to keep up with your network in today’s world and it has never been easier to dive right in.

    Mindset is Important

    Staying true to your long-term career goals while remaining positive and tactful is very important in your accounting career early on. An experienced recruiter or mentor can help you with this.

    Think of your first or second job as a stepping stone for getting you to where you ultimately want to be. As long as you are growing and gaining experience, it will be beneficial in the long-run, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

    When you are interviewing with a hiring manager or recruiter, remember that while it would be nice to make your dream salary, you must have the experience to justify the compensation.

    Maintaining a positive mindset is important for growth. Whether you stay with your current company for years or plan to transition, remember that the role and responsibilities that you have now will help to prime you to get to where you want to go.

    Prepare for Change

    If the year 2020 taught us anything, it is that the only constant is change. Whether you are more deliberate or opportunistic in your approach to your career, understanding that your path may end up looking different than you expected is important.

    Being flexible and optimistic is key to succeed in your career. Don’t falter, negativity is self-sabotage. Your knowledge and ability to advise and interact will help you through. You have all the tools you need at your disposal!

    If you think you need coaching or would just like to have a conversation about any of the areas listed above, an experienced recruiter can help.

    The team at Accountants One focuses on creating long-term relationships. We personally enjoy getting to know you, your preferences, and your career goals. After a thorough interview, we strive to match you to an organization that fits what you are looking for, both technical and cultural fit. You can count of us to assist you in finding a role where you can grow and flourish!

    How to Maintain Effective Communication in a Virtual Workplace

    How to Maintain Effective Communication in a Virtual Workplace

    This year, more than ever, remote work has become a staple of the workplace. According to Flexjobs, we’ve seen a 44% growth rate in remote work opportunities over the last 5 years alone. This year was no exception.

    Maintaining effective communication is very important for businesses to run efficiently. Increased communication – working remotely or working onsite – has a number of benefits including increased morale, productivity, and trust.

    Here are five tips for maintaining effective communication in the virtual workplace.

    Schedule Regular Meetings

    Scheduling consistent and frequent calls with your team give you an opportunity to sync up and make sure priorities for the day or the week are set.

    These types of meetings ensure that there are no challenges moving forward and you can address anything that is urgent or important.

    Since working remotely can leave a workplace feeling scattered, these meetings also serve as a chance to connect on a deeper personal level as well. Allow for some time to socialize and let everyone feel connected to each other. Not only will it improve communication, but morale as well.

    Use Tools at Your Disposal to Keep the Lines Open

    How you communicate can be just as important as what you communicate. With so many different tools at our disposal, it’s important to choose which ones suit your needs the best and ensure your employees the greatest level of communication with each other.

    Video conference tools such as Zoom and GoToMeeting have become more popular because they offer the option to join via video or phone call, which makes it easier for everyone to connect in the best way for them. Whatever tools you use, make sure you keep them “sharpened.” Keep your applications and systems up to date to make sure that no breakdowns happen.

    Have an Open Line for Feedback

    Feedback is always important in the workplace, remote or not, but making sure everyone has their concerns addressed is probably the most crucial part of making sure they are able to communicate effectively.

    Don’t assume that the choices for tools you’ve made will work for everyone. Give them time to explore the tools, and then ask for their feedback. See if there is a way to address their concerns to make their job easier and, if necessary, explore other options.

    Make Important Information Easily Accessible

    Preserving information is easier than ever. Most virtual meetings can be recorded for use at a later date, online schedules can be synched up, and information can be shared with whoever needs it. Making sure that information is easily accessible can help you avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

    Record important meetings when possible to make sure absentees don’t miss out on the information not included in slides. Have note sheets ready and make them easy to find on a shared company drive like a company intranet or Google Drive.

    Set Expectations for Your Team

    Once you have all the pieces in place and are set up for success, you need to make sure you are personally communicating your expectations with your team. Trust them to be able to do the job you’ve given them. Make sure important tasks are scheduled, easily available for viewing, and everyone is on the same page.

    If you are an individual contributor within an organization, communicate your workflow items with your team, and set your team’s expectations. If they are relying on you for certain data, it’s important they know how much you have going on so that they don’t waste valuable time. This is where Agile Project Management and the daily standup meetings can become even more important.

     

    How To Show Promotions or Various Positions on Your Resume (With Examples)

    How To Show Promotions or Various Positions on Your Resume (With Examples)

    September 2, 2020

    If you’ve been with a company for a long time, reflecting a promotion or job change with your long-term employer shows growth and stability on your resume. This will make you a competitive candidate in the job market, which will make you stand out from the rest. 

    Once the decision has been made to move to a new organization – voluntarily or involuntarily – getting started on your resume can sound like a daunting task.  A successful resume should paint a clear picture of your career for the hiring manager or recruiter, showcasing promotions or lateral moves within your organization.

    Here’s a quick breakdown of scenarios when adding to your resume:

    Scenario 1 – The Promotion

    Receiving promotions within your organization should be celebrated and acknowledged even on your resume, especially in public accounting. That’s a huge achievement, right?

    If you are climbing the ladder at a Big 4 or Mid-Tier Accounting Firm, you will typically receive a promotion every 1 – 3 years. Starting out as an Associate and progressing to Senior or even Manager is very impressive to virtually any hiring manager or recruiter.

    Often a promotion means a new title, salary, and increased level of responsibilities. The scope and nature of your work change. Be sure to stack all job titles on your resume and bullet point list your daily responsibilities, and don’t be scared to mention your promotion as a bullet point!

    XYZ Accounting Firm, Atlanta, GA

    Tax Manager (January 2017 – Present)

    Tax Senior (March 2015 – January 2017)

    • Accomplishment or value you brought to the company that resulted in promotion

    • Responsibilities

    • Responsibilities

    • Responsibilities

    Scenario 2 – The Lateral Move

    So, you changed to a different position in the same company? Lateral moves can be really helpful in showing your adaptability and ability to work cross-functionality (especially in larger companies) with different lines of business.

    To show this type of transition on your resume, it is best to use the company name as and then list each position underneath. As you go back in time, feel free to add less detail. Recruiters and hiring managers are going to read more about your most recent experience and see your achievements in that role.

    XYZ Accounting Firm, Atlanta, GA

    Forensic Audit Manager (January 2017 – Present)

    • Accomplishment or value you brought to the company that resulted in promotion

    • Responsibilities

    • Responsibilities

    • Responsibilities

    Audit Manager (March 2015 – January 2017)

    • Accomplishment or value you brought to the company that resulted in promotion

    • Responsibilities

    • Responsibilities

    • Responsibilities

    Remember that your resume should tell a story about your career. Try to highlight as many accomplishments and give the hiring manager or recruiter as much insight as possible into the value that you’ve brought to previous companies. It is also important to remember that you should be prepared to talk about the different items listed on your resume. Be prepared to share a story that relates to the point you are making. 

    Want to discuss how we can serve your professional needs—and start achieving more of your career goals? Contact us today or apply to a position.

    Steps to Improve Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

    Steps to Improve Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

    July 7, 2020

    There’s no getting around it. Social media is an immensely present aspect in our lives. It affects everything from how we interact with each other to where we choose to grab a bite to eat for lunch. It can also make all the difference in how you advance professionally. Employers, recruiters, and hiring managers use social media to cross reference your resume, qualifications and personal image. A CareerBuilder study found that 58% of employers conduct social screenings to look for information supporting a candidate’s qualifications for the job.

    For this reason alone, you should be aware of your personal brand at the very least. In fact, when utilized correctly, personal branding on social media can be a very powerful tool in taking your career to new heights.

    To make the best impression on social media, our expert team of search professionals has compiled a list of steps to upgrade your presence and personal branding, especially on LinkedIn.

    Step One: Profile Personalization

    The best place to start is with the image you are building for yourself. Who are you? What makes you unique? That is the focus of what your personal brand should be: What can you, and only you, bring to the table? Create a custom URL so it is easy for potential connections to reach out and find your profile.

    Your profile should be current, so plan on doing profile maintenance for any new professional accomplishments or experiences. This could be anything from a new job to completing a certification, to learning a new skill. Just as important as accurate information, you should also make sure your professional head shot and cover photo are up to date as well.

    LinkedIn can feature 50 skills on your profile, and you should take the opportunity to build those skills out as much as you can as often as you can. Employers and recruiters will often search on these keywords so including them will open doors to new connections and opportunities that you may be interested in.

    Step Two: Getting Connected to Stay Connected

    The saying goes: It’s not what you know, but who you know. Building and using your LinkedIn to connect and network is effective in building your profile and personal brand. Make connections with folks you know professionally. Whether it’s a classmate, a old professor, a former colleague, a previous supervisor, someone you met at a virtual event, connect, connect connect!

    There is never a “bad” reason for making a new connection. At the end of the day, each connection leads to another, which leads to another, and one of those connections might be that connection you’ve been looking for.

    Don’t by shy to start talking with other LinkedIn users, groups or thought leaders! The messaging function is great for short, productive conversations. InMail can be used to send longer private messages to those who aren’t first degree connections yet.

    Step Three: Write (or Share) Like the Wind

    This is how you can really show off your personal brand. Establish yourself, your voice and your values through posts. By offering your personal insight on the hot topics in your profession, sharing articles , videos and photos, you can establish yourself as an active and effective member of the LinkedIn community and gain a wider following. Give your connections a reason to keep visiting your profile. Be a resource to your network!

    Like, comment, and share posts from others in your network. Remember, posting natively will always get more visibility from 1st degree connections. Be consistent with posting frequency, but test a few different types of posts to see what your connections like best.

    It is never a bad time to start building up your personal brand, and it is never too late to start making new and worthwhile connections. We are always happy to help with any questions you might have about the ever-changing job market.

    In the middle of a job search? View our job listings and let us match you to a job that fits your needs.

     

    Suggestions for a More Effective Accounting or Finance Job Search in 2020

    Suggestions for a More Effective Accounting or Finance Job Search in 2020

    If you’re looking to land a new opportunity this year, here are a few recommendations to augment your job search.

    By this time in the year, most companies have their updated budgets and are hiring for new positions. If you’re in the market for a new opportunity, that’s excellent to hear, right?

    Even though the 2020 job market is in your favor, our professional team of experts wants to share a few extra tips to help you land your next career all while saving you time and energy.

    1. Keep variations of your resume on hand

    The two elements that will increase your chances of an interview with a recruiting firm or potential employer are:

    • resume submission quality
    • resume submission time

    What do these terms mean and how are they related?

    Resume submission quality refers to you the style, organization, readability and thoroughness of detail for the specific role you’re applying for. While your technical skills, soft skills and experiences don’t change when applying job to job, you may wish to highlight certain accomplishments, responsibilities and/or skills more for specific industries and roles differently than others.

    When you modify your resume for specific industries or roles, be sure to save it for next time you apply to a similar role. You can make minor adjustments as you find new opportunities so you can respond to job postings quicker.

    Job boards typically receive most resume submissions within the first 10 – 14 days, so it is essential to apply with a quality resume as quickly as possible.

    2. Use LinkedIn

    Creating an engaging presence on social networks is essential in today’s market, especially on LinkedIn.  Maintaining a LinkedIn profile is critical for active and passive job seekers because it shows more about you than a traditional resume. LinkedIn receives 18M average daily visitors and is the leading channel to distribute B2B content. We recommend keeping your profile active by continuously updating your professional experiences, certifications and skills. Engage with colleagues, previous coworkers, classmates, supervisors, and thought leaders. Join groups that match your interests and preferences. Post photos with colleagues. Celebrate high achieving individuals. Send highly personalized connection requests and take the opportunity to meet with professionals who you think could help you in a career search.

    On LinkedIn, we recommend using a professional or business casual photograph of yourself for your profile picture. If you have any LinkedIn related questions or need additional tips, please reach out to your Accountants One recruiter.

    It’s worth mentioning that LinkedIn also has an incredible job board for active job seekers. You can mark yourself as “Open to New Opportunities” so that your profile can be discovered to employers and recruiting professionals.

    With the unemployment rate so low it is important to clean up your other social media profiles. Don’t post anything you’d regret in the morning! Remember, you can always use Facebook or Instagram as another avenue for networking.

    3. Know what you want and what you’re worth

    If you’re unhappy in your current role, take the time for serious self-reflection and see what is truly making you feel this way. Some of the top reasons for job dissatisfaction are poor compensation, limited career growth, lack of challenging work, poor management, and long commute time.

    Based on findings from a our 2019 survey conducted with a sample of Atlanta’s best accountants, opportunities for career advancement and corporate culture were the leading factors in determining job satisfaction.

    Knowing your market value is also very important so that you can evaluate offers from potential employers. For example, if you are a Staff Accountant in 2020, you should be making anywhere from $44,000 to $61,000. For more market trends, check out the Accountants One 2020 Salary Guide if you’d like to see how your current salary stacks up.

    A recruiter can act as a career coach and trusted advisor in all of these aspects. Accountants One recruiters are looking to get to know you and your long-term career goals.

    Here at Accountants One we listen to understand. We strive to discover your personal, educational and business goals so that we can identify opportunities that match what you’re looking for. If you’re ready to start exploring available opportunities, please view all listings through our Job Listings page. 

    3 Career Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now

    3 Career Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now

    Do you find yourself getting so caught up in day-to-day work that you forget about what you really want to do and how you are going to get there? Instant gratification of the to-dos and the right-nows make it easy to continue putting off the necessary time to really think about your long-term career goals. Between balancing life, work, family, friends, activities, it seems as if there is simply no time to think about your career goals.

    Unless you want your professional growth and career to take a backseat forever, you must step back from the daily grind to really reflect about the bigger picture.

    We highly encourage you take just a moment to answer these three career planning questions to reach your goals:

    What are skills that I’ve improved in the last month, quarter, year?

    Think of this as a self performance review. Taking time to write a genuine self-assessment of your skills and contributions to your organization can really help you see where you are in your career journey. Let’s say your long-term career goal is becoming a Controller for a large corporation. What are the necessary skills to continuing advancement to this level?

    Qualifications for a Controller might include a combination of technical and soft skills – strong background in financial management, reconciliations, analytical thinking, interpersonal skills, Microsoft Excel, etc.

    What are you doing now that will help you to get there?

    Tip: Create a running list of all the technical and soft skills needed to get you to your long-term career goal and rate your skills from needs improvement to skills that you feel you’ve mastered. Focus on ways to improve, seek out mentors and jot down notes about experiences that demonstrate you’re improving. Update and review this list either bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

    Am I making strides in my career trajectory the way I imagined?

    It’s essential to reflect on all facets of where you are now and where you want to be. Are you on your career trajectory? Are you happy with it? Is it important to you? Is it one that you still want to be on? If so, great, a congratulations is due! If not, it’s time to turn things around.

    Assess the values of your life – relationships, family, hobbies, religion, fitness. Where does your career fall in importance? If your vision is to become Partner but you realize that you value family time and hobbies more, you may need to rethink your career trajectory.

    Things aren’t always what they seem. What do you really think you enjoy at work now? How can you have a fulfilling job that makes you happy? Recalibrate your vision and stay on the path that is right for you based on your interests, values and passions. If you’re thinking that you would benefit from a complete 180 career change, listen to your gut and do it (but talk to us first)!

    Does my current role support my long-term career goals?

    Another way to phrase this question: Are there growth opportunities at my current company that could help me progress? If not, we suggest that you run, not walk, to another position that will help you get there.

    The entry level and midlevel points in your career are the most important regarding positioning yourself to reach your goals. These are times of great growth and development in terms of experiences and responsibilities. At the Senior level there are even still ways to improve. Take every opportunity to keep learning and growing.

    Either way, this is the most important question to consider. Returning to our first example…let’s say your ultimate career goal is to become a Controller for a large corporation. Are you in a position at a forward-moving company that promotes internally? Are you in a position with a large corporation already doing some operational accounting? Either way, you could be on your merry way to the Controller level.

    Remember, it’s nearly impossible to plan your career out at every single step but being intentional and taking time to consider the bigger picture can get you closer to your goals in the long run. Accountants One thinks that keeping you at your career planning best is a win so keep these questions in mind!