So, you’ve done it. You’ve made it through the four-pronged crucible that is the CPA exam and you’re still standing. First off, congratulations. As we all know, this was no easy feat. Secondly, now that you’re about to embark on the next level of your career, what are the things that will continue your upward trajectory over the long haul?
Like anything else it’s one thing to say that you are skilled and accomplished in your field but it’s another to demonstrate it. How can you show this with regard to a discipline like accounting to people – especially potential employers and clients – you haven’t met? Write and get published. Start a blog. Describe situations in which you came up with a solution. Muse on the relevant issues of the day. Provide analysis of something to show not just your intelligence but also your strategic acumen. Try to get these posts placed on other sites or have them link to you. Submit these pieces to known and respected publications.
Doing these things will sell you in a way that a résumé just isn’t able to. It can also “warm the door”, if you will, when it comes time to seek employment at another firm. If people know and respect you for your writing they are much more likely to bring you in for an interview.
Your general skill is the basis of your personal value proposition. But imagine how much more valuable you would be if you were an authority or subject matter expert on a particular area with specific credentials? Someone people actively sought out for their counsel on a topic. This is a great way to not only stand out amongst your peers but, of course, it also makes you more valuable to your firm – and others when you’re in the market for a new position.
Social Media Savvy
There are two aspects to this. The first is how it can be used to position and sell your firm and also to prospect for new business. For instance, setting up a Twitter account to blast out articles and blog posts that people and even other firms would find helpful. Be selfless (not salesy) in this way and you have a good chance of attracting followers which can lead to clients as you will have positioned your firm as helpful and authoritative.
The second aspect is about you specifically. You need to take better control of your personal presence on social media. More and more recruiters, potential bosses, etc. are Googling candidates to get a better picture of who these people really are. So you most likely don’t want them to see your photos from that trip with your boys to Vegas or read your angry rant about the Democrats. Make sure you have these profiles locked so that the general public can’t see them, Even if you think your stuff is harmless you can’t know how others will feel about it. It’s also a good idea to cut down on your social sites if there are some where you are less active or have stopped using altogether.
Proficiency with Software
Probably as much as any other profession, accounting uses and is improved by software. It started with VisiCalc continued with Excel and now there’s software for every type of accounting process. So, obviously, it’s a good career move to know as much as you can. The more experience you have with the relevant software, the more valuable you are because you can do more. Don’t believe me? Check out a recent list of 40 top-paying accounting jobs by Accounting Degree Review.. Number three is Information Technology Accountant.
Another thing software has done past making your work easier and more accurate is freeing you up to do more higher-level thinking. This is good news. When you use the skills you have to come up with ways to increase profitability or even chart a new course for your clients you move beyond the traditional beancounter image and become a real strategic partner in your clients’ businesses. Your “value add” increases greatly. You also protect yourself from outsourcing.
For a SlideShare presentation of this please click here.