Many thanks to CPA Paul Herman for this advice to aspiring CPAs:
As the end of 2013 comes to a close, we think about the New Year on the horizon and how this time of year is our favorite. Why? Because somehow, a new year seems to breathe new life into people, shining a refreshing light on the goals and dreams that await us. Whether you’re a freshman or senior accounting student, taking these tips with you as you enter the brand-new year is one sure way to setting yourself up for success as a future CPA.
1. Seek out internships. While there is no replacement for a college education, there are plenty of aspects of the professional world that you simply won’t learn until you enter it. Landing an internship is the best way to get your feet wet in the “real world” while still in college. Not only do they prepare you with valuable experience for your potential career path, but they can also help you decide whether a particular career is in fact the right match for you.
2. Network. Building a strong network during your college career is one of the best accomplishments you can attain while still in school. No matter what career path you choose, the power of networking is immense, and is an activity you will partake in for the rest of your life. You know the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” While you certainly cannot be a CPA without an education, having a strong network of people at your dispense can make all the difference in landing that killer job straight out of college, or getting top-notch test prep advice for the dreaded CPA exam. Take advantage of all the networking opportunities your school has to offer. We promise you, you won’t regret it!
3. Join associations. Almost every college offers an organization or association for each major, and accounting and finance are no different! Participating means having access to free tools, resources, information and more, while spending time with your fellow financial scholars.
4. Explore career options. There are tons of different professions available to finance students. Have you ever heard of a forensic accountant? A hedge fund manager? How about a loan officer? Take some time to scope out your career options, and contact your college’s Career Services department to help you out. There are plenty of cool finance careers available. You just have to know where to look!
5. Keep your grades up. This goes without being said. While some employers may not even look at your GPA, others will not hire you despite having a great resume. Plus, you’ll up your chances for getting into graduate school!
Armed with these strategies, entering 2014 will be your best year as an accounting student yet! The bottom line? You’re in college; It’s OK to have fun! However, just remember that these are also the years that you have an abundance of resources available at your fingertips to help you be a stellar finance professional. Taking advantages of all that your school has to offer will put you well on the path to success.