The job market today is more competitive than ever. Even for accountant job openings, a field which is generally seen as more stable and more comfortable to find employment in, there are countless applicants for each slot.
It can be hard to stand out in the crowd and even harder to send the perfect application for your ideal job. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. Recruiting firms like AHK Accounting can help you find job postings and tailor your CV to excel for each position.
Of course, if you are deadset on becoming a senior accountant, you want to maximize your potential, which means taking advantage of these recruiters and following all the steps you need to become one. Read on to see what those steps are.
What does a senior accountant do?
Senior accountants are responsible for reporting their organizations’ margins, expenses, costs, and general financial productivity.
Typically the senior role implies that you will be more responsible for concrete financial analysis and review. Simultaneously, the more junior accountants will perform journal updating, filling out balance sheets, and gathering data.
Here are some responsibilities that a senior accountant might have:
- Generate payroll
- Maintain ledgers
- Run audits with the help of the CFO
- Prepare and note down company-wide revenue, expenses, and assets
- Check on an ongoing basis that ledgers and reported numbers are accurate
- Look through financial documents for any discrepancies
- Go over all accounts
- Assign other financial duties to the remainder of the accounting team
In this role, you can expect a starting salary for $75,000, with your experience taken into consideration. The environment you work in will usually be an office, and you can expect to work standard business hours across a week-long shift.
Most of the time, you’ll be sitting at a desk, working on a computer, or going over paper documents. If all that appeals to you, then becoming a senior accountant might be the right choice.
Becoming a Senior Accountant
You need to do several things if you want to pursue your passion for senior accountancy seriously.
1. Get a degree
The first critical step is to get a bachelor’s degree in a related field. That can be accounting, finance, or any other tangential topic. However, if you’re serious about this, it can make sense to get a master’s degree, as many companies will prioritize those with more education.
Some master’s programs that might be useful for this career path include a Master’s of Business Administration or a Master’s of Accounting. Look for degrees with courses covering the basic accounting principles, business communications and law, and accounting technology. You must get practical experience here to do basic accounting and learn the software you will be using on the job.
2. Get experience
You’re unlikely to be hired into a senior position without some type of experience. An excellent place to start is an internship with an accounting group or an organization’s finance department.
You can even take internships during your schooling. Critically, they’re beneficial for understanding real-world applications of the theoretical frameworks you’re learning about. On top of that, you’ll have great chances to network and build meaningful professional contacts who might be able to help you land a job once you graduate.
Once you’re ready to look for a real job, consider starting as a junior accountant. Many senior accountants get to their role through internal promotion. It’s also vital that you learn the job’s foundational skills before taking on more extensive opportunities. Typically you can expect to work four to five years in this position before moving upward – provided you’ve put the effort in.
3. Get certifications
Certifications can make you a stronger candidate, mainly if you take those related to your industry or position. Some standard accounting certifications include:
- Certified Public Accountant
- Certified Fraud Examiner
- Certified Internal Auditor
- Certified Management Accountant
- Certified Financial Analyst
While these courses generally take time, money, and a lot of learning and testing, they’re worth it. You’ll develop your skills and come back with concrete qualifications that can help you impress hiring managers and recruiters while making you the strongest candidate for the role.
4. Build up the right skills
Other less technical skills are needed to thrive as a senior accountant.
One vital “soft” skill is being able to communicate. You must be able to share information verbally and through a written form, and it’s crucial that you can get along with people. Since you’re working as a part of a team, strong social skills are required to coordinate with your colleagues. And if you want a promotion to a senior role, you have to make sure you’re getting along with the right people.
Time management is another vital aspect to develop. You have to be able to prioritize your tasks while delegating work appropriately. You can develop this skill through your everyday life with personal goals and milestones.
You should also be a very detail-oriented person. That means paying close attention to minor details, which is invaluable when reviewing dense financial statements and searching for gaps or errors. Practice this by looking over business documents or even by proofreading written work.
Becoming a Senior Account isn’t Easy
The path to being a senior account isn’t an easy one. The role consists of a wide range of responsibilities, spanning the gap from management to close financial analysis.
To do the job well, you need a solid background in the field. That means getting an education, work experience, and building all the skills and qualifications you need to excel.
You’ll likely have to dedicate many years of your life to this pursuit, but by following the tips on this page, you can one day break into the industry that you love.