‘Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’
– Harvey McKay
I’m sure we’re all familiar with this popular adage about career choice but we normally associate it with artistic professions such as musicians. In actual fact, this saying can be applied to everyone no matter what profession you’re looking into. As university students there’s a lot of pressure to know exactly what you want to do and how to get there; this is understandable as time waits for no one. It’s important to be proactive in terms of setting up your future career and it’s never too early. However, it is also important not to rush, don’t feel pressured because everybody else already knows what they want to do or have already secured an internship, everyone is running a different race and you shouldn’t compare yourself to others.
Where to Start?
As the saying suggests, when it comes to picking a career it is important to pick something that you’re not only good at but that you also have a passion for. Take time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses; for example, what are you naturally gifted in. You don’t want to be one of those people that hate their 9 to 5 jobs and dread Mondays, hence the title of the blogpost, if you love your job you’ll look forward to Mondays. If you genuinely have a passion for something it won’t be like work, so it’s important when picking your career path that income is not your fixation, as quality of life is also important.
For Accounting and Finance students looking into the right accounting jobs, it is vital for you to do your research. This isn’t just limited to online research, go down to careers and enquire about your options. If you have family members or relatives already working in the business area you are interested in, it is a good idea to ask them questions about their day to day affairs. You could even see if they can help get you some sort of wok experience in their place of work, make use of the relationships you have and develop professional connections, so can build your network; as they say your network is your net worth!
Below I will give a general and brief insight into two accounting job roles; also suggesting types of people that would be ideal for the roles.
Accounting consultants help the business or relevant person understand what the various reports mean, and how the data affects the company. Accounting consultants help with a number of tasks including: financial forecasting, analysing financial statements, determining the profitability of your business etc. To decide if consultancy is for you, ask yourself if you have the following qualities and skills: professionalism, time management, good judgement, good communication skills and good listening skills.
Consultants need to maintain a level of professionalism; they need to keep in mind that they are a representation of their company as they are working for a client. As a Consultant you are required to have good judgement when confronted with a problem. You need to be someone that would take time to consider the facts and to get feedback from management before reaching a decision, rather than jumping to conclusions or acting abruptly. Also, as with any profession time management is very important, consultants regularly need to adjust their work style to accommodate their schedule and overall requirements of the project.
Auditors perform (internal) financial and risk management audits and independent statutory financial audits of commercial and public sector organisations (external). Auditors are specialists who review the accounts of companies and organisations to ensure the validity and legality of their financial records. They can also act in an advisory role to recommend possible risk aversion measures and cost savings that could be made. Auditors are responsible for: updating and maintaining accounting records, verifying records posted by other workers, checking figures and documents to ensure they are accurate and coded properly and making notations of error for future corrections.
To decide if auditing is for you, ask yourself if you have the following qualities and skills: are you inquisitive, innovative and a problem solver. As an auditor you need to have a thirst for knowledge, strive to cultivate a deep understanding of the situation. For example, understanding the culture of the company you are working for and the competitive environment. You also need to have a natural affinity for problem solving.
The following link will take you to the Guardian website where you can take their online personality test; https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/11/-sp-questionnaire-what-job-would-make-you-happiest. The aim of the test is to help you figure out what kind of job would make you happiest, based on the activities and subjects that most interest you. There are many more tests and quizzes available online that are free but most follow the same format. Many people doubt the accuracy of these tests or even whether their aim are possible, but there is no harm in trying.
Overall there are many different types of accounting jobs available, I have only covered two briefly. In your spare time explore the others available to see which one would be ideal for you.