Success in a program of study is a student’s number one priority, but it is easy to become distracted from the goal. Accounting is a field that especially needs both the theory and the practice to perform easily and confidently on a daily basis. Overall the accounting industry has a wide variety of jobs; Corporate accounting, public accounting, tax planning, etc. Whichever industry you choose, applying these concepts can help you have a great career.
Want to know the ways to succeed in your accounting classes and become a successful accountant? Follow Florida National University’s (FNU) top tips for maximizing our program’s courses.
Students have heard this time and time again, but they must apply it. Being organized is a huge key to the success of a student. This is true for all students, but especially accounting majors. An organization can be as minuscule as remembering class supplies — like calculators and pencils — to more critical practices, such as documenting information on spreadsheets and keeping exam dates saved in a planner. Accounting students need to juggle a lot of data for several classes, so don’t get mixed up! Adopt good organization habits early on.
2. Learn the Field
When taking the initiative to proactively learn about a particular field, students will be more familiar with the market. This will likely prove to be beneficial when it becomes their turn to enter the field — they will know more than students who neglected to do so.
For example, understanding the business of a client is the most important aspect of the job. In the case of auditing, understanding a client’s business quickly is critical because you are assigned to a particular client for only a few weeks and need to go through a full year’s worth of financial records. You have to figure out how they operate and what it is they’re trying to achieve. As you go from client to client, you don’t have time to sit them down and have them explain how every piece of their business works. It’s your job to take initiative and figure things out on your own. However, this idea does not just apply to auditors; it applies to most accounting fields.
3. Consider Career Paths and Set Goals
By learning and studying about various career paths in the field, students will be able to set goals. Setting goals is an important part of working toward success, and it will motivate students to push through — even when the going gets tough. Here are a few we recommend thinking of while you are still in school for your future career.
- Find a mentor: mentors provide advice based on the first-hand experience to help develop leadership abilities, as well as leveraging off their connections and networks to help advance your career.
- Expand your skillset: Keep your work duties varied so you do not get pigeon-holed into one area of finance. Having a broad skill set will add to your marketability and mitigate risk in a business environment, especially with continual advancements in technology.
- Become more tech-savvy: Use technology effectively to improve processes and create efficiencies is vital to add value in your day to day finance role.
- Be a team player: Develop soft skills so you can move into senior positions – experience managing people is vital and becomes more important as you progress. It is also essential to be able to demonstrate the ability to business partner with nonfinance colleagues.
- Embrace change to be seen as a leader: Today’s ever-changing business environment requires finance professionals to adopt an informed and forward-thinking approach to decision making.
- Never stop being a student of your industry: Be proactive about your learning and development. Research the latest news, developments, and qualifications in the accounting sector to make sure you remain competitive.
4. Practice Simple Math Skills
Believe it or not, this can help. Accounting students see thousands of numbers and data in a day. Sometimes they can start to look like a blur. Taking a step back and just practicing simple addition and subtraction can help refresh a tired student’s mind.
Expertise in mathematics is not required for you to succeed as an accountant. You simply need the confidence and ability to be able to add, subtract, multiply, divide as well as use decimals, fractions, and percentages. Review the basic skills from multiplication and division, through to decimals, percentages, fractions and negative numbers. Of course, it is expected that you will use a calculator for most of the activities but you are also encouraged to perform quick mental calculations.
5. Manage Time Well
Time management is a deciding factor for many students. Will a student accomplish a semester, or not? Will they continue until the end of the degree, or not? Lacking time management skills often leads students to feel overwhelmed and underproductive – unfortunately, some just give up there. Rather than falling victim to this way of thinking, learn to manage time well from the start! If that means buying a planner, buy a planner.
While you are at it, be sure to set a schedule that works for you. This is easier than ever, thanks to FNU’s scheduling flexibility and shorter terms for many classes.
Networking is a great way to learn more about the accounting field while also growing connections in the industry. The good news for our students is that FNU hires professors who are active in their field. That means that these professors understand the ins and outs of the field, and might have more in-depth information about the job market. Plus, networking is easier than ever. Simply by knowing our professors and fostering a professional relationship with them, students have already started networking.
7. Seriously, Study.
Students in our accounting programs need to do two things: seriously study, and take studying seriously. In other words, it is helpful to spend a good amount of one’s time studying in-depth, and one should not neglect to do so as frequently as possible.
We understand that some students were able to slide by in high school without studying, but those days are long gone. College classes are more demanding by nature, as they focus on subjects in greater detail. Study, research, and be information-hungry. It will pay off in the long run.
When students are studying or completing homework, they must understand that they are not just studying to pass exams. Rather, our accounting students are studying a subject to master it and apply it to their lives via a lifelong career. That is why it is so important to truly focus. Plus, assignments tend to build on previous ones, so students will not want to skip a chapter here and there. Accounting programs’ subject matter is too technical to do so.
8. Know the Steps Toward Your Career
Graduating from a program does not guarantee a position in the field. However, education is the foundation of a career for many—it provides the knowledge students and future professionals need. However, to enter the field, some industries require further training or preparation.
For example, many industries require students to acquire a master’s degree before participation at a professional level. While associates or bachelor’s degrees are more than enough for some accounting careers (such as bookkeeping or auditing clerk jobs), students who desire to undergo a career in particular branches will require more than a degree. Students looking to pursue a career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), for example, must receive further certification. This is crucial information for students to understand as they complete their studies. Learn what it takes to do the job you want!
FNU: Guiding You to Your Career
FNU is dedicated to helping students like you find their way to a career! Are you considering studying in an accounting program? Review FNU’s program options! If you are ready to get started, apply today!