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Securing your first accounting job

career adviceAccountancy & FinanceJob opportunities

Securing your first job in accountancy can be a pretty daunting task. You may have finished school and decided you’re ready to jump straight into work. You may be a university graduate on the look out for a professional qualification training contract.


Either way, you need to show an interest in accounting! Try and gain some work experience in an office environment - ideally within an accounts/data administration role that you can put on your CV. This experience can be gathered from your holiday jobs or unpaid internships whilst seeking your next step. Having a proven history of working in an office is usually the first thing that employers are looking for when taking on someone in their first roles!


Showing an interest in personal and professional development will likely be key to succeeding on paper. The most obvious example that you are keen to progress your career over the long term is an accountancy qualification. Those with an interest in Audit or Financial Accounting may wish to consider ACA or ACCA. Those looking at developing within Management Accounts and Financial Analysis will no doubt wish to investigate CIMA. Either way, an interest in studying for a qualification is a big sign to any potential employer that you are in this for the long haul, giving you access to a wider range of opportunities further down the line. So know what exemptions you’d get for all of the qualifications (if you are a Graduate) or look up whether AAT would give you the foundation knowledge of accounting if you haven’t completed a relevant degree.


Whether you study or not, the interview is where your chance of success will ultimately lie. Preparation is key. What do you know about the business? It’s history? It’s culture? It’s position within the sector? What should you wear for the interview? A suit is often the way forward but for a laid-back media company it could be the sole reason why they don’t take you on. Research. Research. Research!


Who are you being interviewed by? What are their backgrounds? Look them up on Linkedin. Ask questions during the interview. What changes have they seen since they started? What changes do they foresee over the next 3-5 years? Why do they love working here? Don’t try to be interesting. Be interested. Energy and enthusiasm are infectious and vital to your success at interview. Blag and waffle your way through and your interviewers will write you off within minutes.


Congratulations, you’ve got the offer. Check it over and ensure the details are in line with what has been discussed during the interview process. Happy to proceed? Well done! Your future awaits.


Fay Stanger
Posted by Fay Stanger
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