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CPA Jobs for Entry Level Accountants

CPA jobs come in all different shapes and sizes. To ensure that you choose the career path that is right for you, it is important to begin searching for the general CPA job opportunities that exist long before obtaining your CPA license.

1. Public Accounting: Undoubtedly, most college professors swear by the notion that serving a 2-3 year stint working in the field of public accounting is the only way to secure a high-paying CPA job in the future. Although working in public accounting offers many advantages, many entry level accountants fail to properly weigh the costs and benefits of slaving away at one of the Big 4 firms, which includes Ernst &Young (E&Y), KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC), and Deloitte.

Benefits:

Work Experience – Unparalleled work experience in the field of audit and tax. Although many employees new to public accounting will be forced to perform repetitive tasks, there is no denying the fact that an entry level accounting position at one of the Big 4 firms will offer tremendous exposure to the industry as a whole.

Resume Booster – Love it or hate it, having 1-3 years of work experience at one of the Big 4 firms carries a lot of weight when looking for a new CPA job, especially as compared to other candidates from lesser known public accounting firms. While adding this experience to your resume does not guarantee you the job of your dreams, it does nothing but help your chances. Tack on a CPA license and you may find yourself with more job offers than you know what to do with.

Costs:

Busy Season – Perhaps the two deadliest words for an entry level accountant are “busy season.” To be frank, the word “busy” actually seems understated when you consider the fact that you may find yourself working anywhere from 60 -90 hours per week January through April or May. Do the math and you may not like what you’re actually being paid per hour.

Repetitive Work – Although the general exposure to the accounting industry as a whole is important, most entry level accountants are forced to perform the same menial tasks over and over again. This is why many candidates feel that they “didn’t learn anything” while working at a Big 4 firm.

2. Industry Accounting: Although these types of CPA jobs are rarely praised in our accounting programs in our universities, the truth is that large corporations such as Exxon, Google, and IBM need accounts just as much as the next firm, and chances are, they offer many benefits that the Big 4 simply can not. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little biased (I’ve had experience in both public and industry), but I happen to think of many industry positions as the “hidden gems” of the accounting profession. And, because many college graduates are already sold on obtaining a position at a Big 4 firm, many of these hidden gems are literally yours for the taking.

Benefits:

Work/Life Balance – Contrary to popular belief, many entry level industry accounting jobs offer higher starting salaries than the Big 4 firm. And if that is not enough of a reason to investigate further, working 40 -45 hours a week (at most) will allow you to maintain a social life, keep your health in check, and possibly even obtain a CPA license early in your career.

Niche Focus – While an entry level accountant at a Big 4 firm might have exposure to a considerable amount of different industries, entry level accountants in industry positions become experts of their niche. Having a niche focus is imperative for people who would like to achieve the status as a “specialists,” and paid accordingly I might add.

Cons:

Patience – Some people complain that promotions are hard to come by in the world of industry accounting. While I’m sure this is true of some companies, my experience in oil & gas has been just the opposite. Raises and promotions happen virtually every year, and furthermore, it seems reasonable to wait a little longer for a management position given the fact that you are only asked to work approximately 40 hours a week and you are arguable overpaid for your position as it is.

Repetitive Work – It seems that this is required of all entry level accountants regardless of chosen career path. In industry accounting positions, there will be days when you are bored to tears and think to yourself “am I really adding any value to this company at all?” Don’t worry; this feeling is completely normal in both industry accounting and Big 4 entry level accounting positions.

Regardless of the CPA job that you choose as an entry level accountant, make sure that you properly evaluate all of your options before diving head-first.

Starting an Accountant Career – Difficult, But Rewarding!

Diving into the accounting field can be a difficult yet rewarding experience for any aspiring business professional. Accounting has been a practice for a very long time. There sole duty is to monitor and assist account holders with their financial knowledge and expertise pertaining to all laws and regulations that are required by the government. Accounting is the art of recording, summarizing, classifying and making decisions concerning the account data. Becoming a successful accountant you will have to display some powerful characteristics in areas such as: information extraction, record keeping, and account preparation. These qualities are taught in colleges and universities all over the country and some even online.

Finding the necessary education will be the best option for you to begin an accountant career. Accounting degree programs are found in most major universities across the United States. They provide you with extensive knowledge in all facets of the accounting industry. While a bachelors degree will hold more ground there are many colleges and universities that offer 2 year associate degrees. With a 2 year degree you will be able to jump into entry level positions immediately allowing you to fill your resume with experience and extensive knowledge from on site opportunities.

Being an expert in information extraction is another key to having a successful accounting career. Being able to find a company’s finances and expenditures details takes tremendous organization and dedication. Accountant careers consist of accessing and sustaining accounts with clients. These clients expect punctuality and attention to detail to ensure that their money is always in safe hands. The beauty of an accountant career is that everybody needs accounts in the business world today. With the necessity of financial monitored accountants the job market has risen substantially for those seeking employment.

Record Keeping is another key component to an accountant career. The ability to keep detailed and organized records of all necessary expenditures and finances is the number one task of an accountant. If you are pursuing an accountant career it will be great for you to have a strong grasp on math and statistical calculations. This will serve as an important tool when you are attempting to keep accurate and precise records for the businesses or individuals you work with. Monitoring the income and spending habits of their clients is very important as well. This holds strong especially if you work for clients who are paid for performances or speeches in which the IRS would be notified.

An accountant will keep all the necessary documents and paperwork that will keep their client out of trouble from the IRS. The accounting field is not an easy career choice but it can be extremely rewarding for you and your family. It takes a very competent person to be able to monitor many accounts with precision and the utmost accuracy. If you are pursuing an accountant career make sure you receive all the possible training you can find. As with starting any business it will take knowledge and drive to be successful.

Why Accounting Certifications Will Get You the Best Accounting Jobs

Are you intending to pursue a career in Finance? Then investing in an accounting certification will be one of the smartest moves you will ever make.

Why? If you want to learn golf, do you ask your twenty-four handicapper neighbour or do you run to your locally qualified golf pro? When you buy a house do you get your mate to complete the legal forms or do you find a qualified lawyer who’s been trained properly in real estate conveyancing?

It’s the exact same with Accountants. Yes, there are people out there who can do financial bookkeeping, know the difference between a debit and a credit and can complete a tax return. But who trained them? How do they keep up with the latest laws and accounting standards? What happens if they make mistakes?

So, let us be clear. Potential clients who need accounting services seek out certified accountants.

And they are willing to pay for your expertise.

In no particular order – since they are all important – here are some of the key reasons why potential clients and employers recognise the importance of an accounting certification:

Rigorous Training – most accounting certifications require at least three years of supervised on-the-job training as well as completing exams. They are not easy and nor should they be. Qualified accountants are in well paid jobs and are trusted advisors.

Ongoing Education – once you are qualified, it doesn’t end there. It is just starting. Accountants have to keep on learning and training to make sure they keep up to date with all the changes to company regulations and accounting standards. It’s the key way to protect clients from negligent and unprofessional services

Big Brother Watches – the best accounting associations (Certified Practising Accountants, Chartered Accountants, CIMA) ensure that their members continue to be up to standard,. That means every accountant has to report back to their institute/association on a regular basis and prove that they have really have undertaken ongoing education.

Disciplinary Action – if you’re unprofessional and upset a client whether through negligence or fraud then guess what? The client can (and usually does) complain to your accounting association. And you could be in serious trouble that results in losing your certification. Clients like this fact – they know you are highly motivated to behave ethically and in their interests.

So, there you have it – four reasons why qualified accountants are held in high regard.

Accounting and Financial Planning Services

Almost any type of business will benefit from hiring the help of a professional accountant. Accountants are also able to help individuals manage their personal finances, and make all of the appropriate tax payments. This article takes a look at some of the most popular accounting services, what each of their benefits are, and how you can go about finding the right accountant for your needs.

Accounting

A chartered accountant will be able to provide many different types of accounting services, depending on how involved you want them to be within your business. A chartered accountant will typically take care of the bookkeeping for your business or for your personal finances. Chartered accountants may use specialist software such as using MYOB, Quicken or Cashflow Manager.

They will be able to prepare a range of financial statements for your business, and they can also provide monthly or quarterly reporting if it is required. These statements can be used for budgeting and forecasting.

A chartered accountant will also be also to set up a full accounting system, which will help you to get clear on what your personal or business financial situation is at. Once you are clear on your financial situation you will be able to make more effective decisions regarding your company.

Taxation

A professional accountant will look after all forms of taxation that may apply to your business or to you personally. This can include the preparation of tax returns for individuals, partnerships, trusts, companies, and superannuation funds.

They will provide advice on all forms of taxation, including capital gains taxation, foreign derivation and exemption, and tax planning for high net worth individuals.

Accountants will also be able to advise you on tax effective investments, which will benefit and save your company money in the long run.

Financial Planning

Financial planning services are whereby a professional is able to give expert advice on a number of matters that relate to wealth and financial planning. This can include information on a variety of topics including investment advice, creating wealth, retirement income streams, estate planning, and how to self-manage superannuation funds. They can also offer assistance on life investment and life insurance products. A good accountant or financial planner will be able to provide custom advice, tailor made for your specific situation and financial circumstances.

The best place to find a chartered accountant or financial planner is online. All major companies will have a website where you can view details of the services that they offer, along with their contact details. Always choose an established company to ensure that you will be receiving a high quality service. You may want to have some questions ready to ask the company when you first make contact with them. These questions can include:

• How long have they been practicing for?
• What are their professional qualifications?
• What associations are they members of?
• What clients do they currently work for?
• How do they calculate the fees?
• Is the work outsourced or done personally?

Guide To Writing An Effective Accounting Resume

Finding work in accounting can seem difficult at first, especially if the applicant is inexperienced. Most employers want their workers to at least have an associate’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is even better. This will open doors that would otherwise be closed to a job hunter without experience working in accounting.

While in school, an array of specialized accounting topics will be taught. If one appeals to you more than another, take the initiative and make that topic your main focus. It could be tax preparation, benefits management, auditing, or accounts payable/receivable. The important thing is that it interests you, and you are willing to learn more about it. Ask your professors or others in your department about the internships available. There is often little or no money in it, but the benefits reaped in experience can be invaluable when you graduate.

After graduation, and hopefully an internship, the most important factor is the accounting resume. Resumes are generally considered to be the only source for determining whether or not the applicant will be interviewed, and those who read them usually make their decision in less than a minute. Some people hire a resume writer; this is fine, although you could save time and money by doing it yourself. An uncomplicated format usually works best for an accountant resume.

Who You Are: Always start with your full name, and how you can be reached. Be sure to list your address, telephone number, and your email address.

Objective: Explain your enthusiasm about the current position, but also list your future career ambitions. It is best not to generalize each resume, but reflect the nature of the exact position you are applying for. This section can also be used to summarize skills, qualifications, or education. Your career objective should not be any longer than 5 or 6 sentences.

Summary of Qualifications: This section is where experienced professionals can shine. Results and accomplishments related to previous jobs and projects should be summarized here. You don’t necessarily need accounting experience to get the job; identify and summarize your relevant experience. If you worked in a wait-staff capacity while in school – you should summarize the skills that you have developed.

Accounting Education: Always list your education in reverse chronological order. Degree program, graduation, and the name and city you graduated from go here. Certifications and licenses should be mentioned here as well.

Accounting Skills: Most accounting firms and departments now use software to manage their books, and seek applicants with solid computer skills. You should list the accounting or personal finance packages that you have experience with belong in this section.

Accounting Experience: A resume for an accountant is just like any other resume in this regard. Use the specific job title you had (even if it was just your internship), company name and telephone number, and what duties you executed. Just as in the education section, your last job should be the first one you mention.

Activities: Managers like to see action words in this section. Include student athletics and activities (but, please, limit them to college if you’re over the age of 25). List any professional or service organizations you are a member of, or if you volunteer. You should strive to deliver the message that you’ll make a welcome addition to their team.

Resume writing is not rocket science; by keeping yours free of underlining, italicizing, and unusual fonts you’re much more likely to be accepted. Stick to a simple Sans Serif font if you’re applying for the job over the internet, and a Serif font if you will be delivering the resume on paper. A professional resume writer isn’t a necessity, but if you’re feeling befuddled, it might be the right path to take. A good resume is going to be the opening door to your career in accounting.

Accounting Degrees

Accounting is one of the fastest growing employment fields today. Many businesses as well as individuals need accountants in order to keep tabs on their monetary assets and know the tax code. The more information that an accountant can give you about your finances, the better you can make decisions about business, personal investments and spending. Accounting degrees are able to be obtained from a wide variety of universities and colleges across the United States. The best institutions have extremely tough competition in order to enter into their accounting programs. However, you do not have to be in one of the top three institutions across the United States in order to be successful in accounting. There are thousands of accounting programs that can assist you in entering the best jobs in the market.

Accounting degrees are also important due to the fact that so many people do not understand the basics of accounting. Many people may have taken an accounting class at one point in time but no longer know what LIFO/FIFO is, how to create a balance sheet, what financial statement they are referring to or any number of other pieces of information that many professional accountants can tell you in a matter of moments. Accounting degrees are also important because nearly every business that is operating today has an accountant or uses accounting on a regular basis. One of the most common places to find an accountant is in a business. Most businesses need to create a large amount of forms, documents and other pieces of information that will allow for inside and outside members to understand the state of the business. Accountants that are hired as employees or contractors often will do this work for businesses that do not know how to do it for themselves.

Accounting is going to grow due to the many new regulations that are constantly being placed onto businesses. That is why so many students are entering into accounting programs across the United States today. However, being able to find a job right after you exit the program is one of the reasons that so many people are enjoying the accounting profession. Accountants can even start their own accounting firm and make a large amount of money for themselves. The more work they do, the better off they will be financially. It is vital that you understand how the basics of accounting work. Taking an accounting course or even getting accounting degrees is a great idea to help any business venture, employee or simply to grow as a person.

Accounting is a field that is growing fast. You must be ready to take the bull by the horns and jump into accounting to ensure that you can stay on the fast side of the accounting world. Accountants often have to work long hours and spend a large amount of their time working very hard. However, this hard work can pay off in large ways over the course of the business that they are working in!

Online Accounting Degree Program

Should there be thoughts of you wanting to venture the accounting field, you have to take up educational qualification before you can work towards your goal. The accounting degree program is possibly the best ideal option for you. But need not fret of not being able to attend a traditional college campus for lectures as the online schools are now made available everywhere. With internet access and a computer, you can perform distance learning through online classes to strive towards your aim. With the degree in hand, you need not be worried about jobs as there will be diverse working opportunities anticipating for you.

Due to the fact accounting is a proficient industry; the online accounting degree will provide you the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare you for the professional working arena. The scope of education consists of subjects such as marketing, cash flow, payment methods, sales, and anything essential in the accounting field. Like the common accounting program in traditional colleges, online schools do provide coursework given through distance learning. But the classes will be scheduled according to your convenience and time, giving absolute flexibility to you.

The art of accounting is one of the most prominent careers throughout the world. Almost everything that deals with money will need accountants to navigate the accounts. Hence, an accounting degree program is indeed very valuable in the society. In fact, with the increasing demand, it is said that an accountant can easily earn more than US$60,000 a year even with little or no working experience. With higher qualifications, you can be promoted to wider career paths and higher wages. Individuals who intend to be a certified public accountant can further continue the master’s degree or PhD via the online schools.

Aside from the professional CPA, there is other bright array of options for accountants to consider. With an online accounting degree, you can choose to work as auditors, certified internal auditors, bookkeepers, certified management accountants, tax professionals, among the many else. The online distance learning is certainly worth your time and effort as it can elevate your working level to a higher stage, providing greater financial guarantee and more comfort in life.

Where Do Accountants Work?

So just where do accountants work? It may seem that job opportunities in this field are limited in a down economy, since accountants’ work is concerned with managing money, but the fact is that there are always numerous job opportunities in this field. Businesses, organizations and wealthy individuals will always need accountants, even when money is tight. Regular people also need accountants to help with their taxes. If you have a knack for numbers and good organizational skills there are many places you could work as an accountant after getting a college degree and becoming certified.

One of the most common accounting positions is the public accountant. While working at a public accounting firm you will be able to help people and businesses audit, manage and track their spending. You may also specialize in financial consulting, tax planning, investment tracking, retirement planning and other services.

You may also choose to work in a government office as an accountant. Whether you work for local, state or federal government offices, your duties will include auditing records and working with teams of other financial professionals. This is a steady job with excellent pay and benefits.

Large businesses and corporations often hire their own teams of accountants to work in-house. If you take this type of job you might track receipts, sales and spending, or you might work as an internal auditor to catch any potential mistakes or suspicious-looking activities that may raise attention with the IRS. You may also help to reduce spending, and plan the company budget.

If you have an interest in law enforcement you may also consider becoming a forensic accountant. This job involves working with law enforcement agencies on criminal cases that have to do with embezzlement, fraud and other financial activities that may be illegal.

There are many places where accountants can work. You may even start your own small firm and work with individuals or small business clients on your own if you have more of an entrepreneurial spirit. As long as we have a financial system, this job will be in demand.

Choosing An Accountant – It’s Child’s Play

Pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey games are popular with young children and parents alike. Just put on a blindfold, spin around a few times and enjoy as the person struggles to stick a pin into the picture of a donkey that’s missing its tail.

Traditional games like this are definitely my favourite, but, what worries me is when we take this approach to choosing the professionals who handle our personal and business matters.

Take the decision to choose a GP. Most people pick one near their home. And even though the receptionist is always rude to them and they can never get an appointment when they want they never change their GP.

I’m no exception to this – my GP is close to my home and my dentist is the first one that accepted me as an NHS patient.

We take the same approach to choosing an accountant. But while your doctor or dentist has to be qualified and is regulated, your accountant may not be qualified at all.

In fact anyone can call themselves an accountant. It isn’t necessary to have qualifications in the area or any experience. You can wake up one morning and decide, “I’ll be an accountant today!” Yet most people don’t even ask the question.

It is important to make sure that your accountant has qualified through one of the main accountancy bodies such as, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants (either ICAEW or ICAS) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). These bodies hold their members to account in the event of bad practice, and so you’ll be afforded some protection if things go wrong.

So, how can you make the right decision when choosing an accountant? Here are some handy tips which should help you sort the wheat from the chaff:

First things first, try to choose an accountant before you start your business. Your accountant will then be able to help you get the structure of your business right from the start – after all, a decent accountant will want to help you with your business plan as well as help you with tax planning.

If you need an accountant just for your personal accounts, don’t start looking for one two days before the tax return deadline. Give yourself a fighting chance to find a good one before January 31st.

Now, some people will go on personal recommendations. But who’s to say that just because your mate down the pub says his accountant is “OK,” that they really are any good or suit your needs?

Accountants differ widely in qualifications, skills, experience, friendliness, and it is crucial that when entering into a business relationship that will, if successful, last the life of your business, you choose carefully.

Look at what your business actually needs from the relationship; if you are a small business and you require a degree of handholding, don’t opt for a practice that specialises in multi-nationals. It is wise to have a list of your ‘must haves’ and look for the accountant that ticks most of your boxes.

The next area to look at is fees. How much does the accountant charge? Do they offer fixed fees? If they’re the old fashioned type then an hourly rate will be the norm and I would suggest you avoid them. Go for fixed fees so that you know what you’re getting and at what price – that way you won’t get a surprise when the bill arrives at the end of the year.

It is important that you actually like your accountancy team; they’ll be advising you on some pretty vital stuff and so you have to be able to a) trust them enough to take their advice and b) feel comfortable enough with them to be completely candid about your finances. So choose people you click with, it is not unprofessional to be somewhat instinctive about your decision.

Also make sure you ask about how responsive they are. If they’re only interested in dealing with you once a year to sort your tax return and annual accounts then say goodbye to them, if that’s not what you want.

A good accountant will want to speak to you regularly and will be happy to see you at your premises at a time that is convenient to you, even if that means when you finish work at midnight.

Ask the accountant what happens when they take time off. Some smaller firms are part of a national network of accountants which helps them plug their knowledge gaps as well as ensure they have high quality cover should they fall ill or be away on holiday.

If you’re leaning towards a small accountancy practice, ask yourself what back-up they have if a tricky tax issue crops up. After all, when you go to your GP, you expect them to know a little about most medical ailments and to send you to a specialist if needed.

Choosing an accountant doesn’t have to be pot-luck. Make sure you have a strategy and don’t just pick the first person you come across, after all, not all accountants are created equal!

Stress Your Money Less: Three Reasons Why Small Businesses Need Accounting Firms

All small business owners know the feelings of dread and hassle that come inherently with tax time. Doing your own taxes is challenging enough, but when you’ve got to prepare forms for your business and your employees, it becomes even more daunting. That’s where the services of accounting firms can really come in handy. But how, exactly, can they serve you? What purpose does it serve to pay someone else to handle your business’s fiscal issues, and what do you need the most help with? The answers might surprise you.

Payroll Pleasure

It’s recommended that unless you can afford to keep someone with a financial background on staff at all times, you don’t try to handle your own payroll. For many small business owners, payroll taxes can be something that falls between the cracks with alarming ease, which can land you in hot water with the IRS pretty quickly. Outsourcing your payroll to a team of experts is the quickest and easiest way to ensure you avoid tax troubles. It’s common for local, state, and federal tax regulations to change from season to season, and if you are not careful it’s possible that one such change can go unnoticed. These are the sort of things that outsourced companies are trained to handle, so you can sleep just a little easier at night.

Helps Your Bottom Line

Would you have ever dreamed that outsourcing could save you some money? With the advantage of newfound visibility and clarity for your business’s financials, there is a sense of control and openness that you might not have had before. This can also make you look better in the public eye should you choose to share this information broadly, and increase trust and business. Most fiscal entities won’t charge you an exorbitant amount of money to take advantage of the services that they provide. You’ll find that it’s not common to be charged by the user, but per transaction. It’s common and easy to work out arrangements that suit you best.

Lets You Focus More On You

Tasks like bookkeeping are no small feat. They take a lot of time, time that could often be spent doing something else to focus on your business’s actual function and not the behind the scenes parts of it. It’s also the most frequently neglected and challenging task small business owners face. Professional accounting firms can help you make sense of the ins and outs of the accounting world, and can keep your fiscal ducks in a row with little to no involvement on your part. You, in turn, get updated statistics that give you a better idea of how your business is faring. This lets you know what you need to focus on moving forward and gives you more time to form strategies to that end.

Do some digging into local accounting firms, and figure out what exactly it is you need from one to help you make the most of your business. A good head for business is important, but so is keeping all your affairs in order. The right set of people can make all the difference in the world, and make your venture fare even better than it was before.