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4 Things Accounting Students Should Know Before They Graduate

Talent is in high demand in the accounting industry, so if you build your marketability now, you’ll find plenty of job opportunities later.

1 min read

Micala Ricketts

Micala Ricketts

For accounting students everywhere, school is back in full swing. Whether you’re in your first semester of accounting classes or your last, it’s important to remember the end goal: gaining the knowledge and skills you need to get employed once you graduate. Fortunately, talent is in high demand in the accounting industry, so if you build your marketability now, you’ll find plenty of job opportunities later. Here are four things to know before you graduate if you want to set yourself up for success.

Roles in the highest demand

According to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide, the accounting and finance roles that are in the highest demand are:

  • Accounting manager
  • Controller
  • Financial analyst
  • Internal auditor
  • Payroll manager
  • Senior accountant
  • Staff accountant

If you don’t have a focus for your accounting career yet, check into some of these roles. You might become interested in a position you’ve never considered.

Most valuable certifications

While your certifications don’t tell the whole story of your abilities, there are certifications employers generally value more than others that enable you to command a higher salary. Some of the most valuable certifications include:

  • CPA (certified public accountant)
  • CFA (chartered financial analyst )
  • CFP (certified financial planner)
  • CGMA (chartered global management accountant)
  • CIA (certified internal auditor)
  • CISA (certified information systems auditor)
  • CMA (certified management accountant)
  • CPP (certified payroll professional)
  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance
  • MBA (master of business administration)

Technology and automation on the rise

It’s no secret that technology and automation are playing a larger role in accounting. In fact, according to Barry Melancon, President and CEO of AICPA, up to 40% of accounting work will eventually become automated or eliminated by technology.

As a student, you’re in the unique position to learn how to use new technology as you enter the accounting industry. In contrast, accountants who have been in the industry for awhile are having to learn to do the things they’ve always done in a different way. Habits are easier to form than they are to break. Take the time to become familiar with different types of accounting technology and present that knowledge as an asset when you eventually apply for jobs.

The need for consulting skills

Because automation and technology are freeing up time for accountants to do higher level work, you will need to be equipped to move into more of a consultant or advisor role. Rather than filling out forms and entering numbers, you’ll likely be expected to put your expertise to better use and provide strategic thinking and advisement.

Going along with fulfilling a consultant role, some of the most sought after soft skills for accountants include cross-functional collaboration and strong communication skills. Use your time in school to not only hone your technical skills but your soft skills as well.

Interested in hearing from millennials who currently work in the accounting industry? Check out What Millennials in Accounting Really Think About Technology.

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