How to Start an Accounting Career in Canada
Having an interest in accounting is one thing, but how do you get started with it as your career?
There are many things to consider such as skills, niches, and career expectations. So before even considering the many accounting niches such as private and government accounting, you must know the necessary skills to obtain and hone to be a respectable accountant.
This blog will go through three general skills that accountants of today must have.
General Skills in Accounting
According to my research and talking to people in the field, these are the three most important skills:
1) Accounting Software Proficiency
With the growth of technology, and its accessibility in accounting techniques, there are many kinds of software to choose from, and it differs from the type of accounting you can do.
For a nice starter software, Microsoft Excel is a nice place to begin your growth as an accountant. The reason being is that it makes you get used to seeing the general format of financial statements, and usually accounting formats are in the form of cells. It is also very customizable in terms of how you want your sheets to look and the equations you can use for the different parts of the financial statements that you will be working on.
Not only that, but you could also house many different sheets in a single Excel file, meaning that you can have a balance sheet, cash flow statement, income statement, and statements of shareholders’ equity all in one file.
2) Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
Most often than not, critical thinking/problem solving helps with analyzing discrepancies as an auditor or provides solutions to companies that need help. Additionally, foreseeing potential problems will also be an important aspect of this skill.
Not only that, this skill adds depth to accounting where it was once thought out to be pure number crunching job from an outsider’s perspective, but by knowing this skill, you will be able to tell how the company runs, how healthy a company is, and if they are breaking any laws just by looking at their financial statements.
3) Attention to detail
This skill applies both in creating and interpreting financial statements. It works hand in hand with the critical thinking/problem solving skill.
Since you will be looking at many numbers at a time, professional accountants need to be able to see all the information in front of them and be able to go through it all to either see the bigger picture, catch discrepancies, or find solutions based on a tiny detail. It is also crucial to be 100% right all the time, because even a single, tiny mistake in either the layout or the arithmetic aspect of an accounting sheet could lead to wrong decisions which could cost the person/business you are doing the financial statements for.
Now you know the different types of accounting and the skills needed to be a competent accountant. The next step is to take up an accounting program. Skills are important, but it is also crucial to understand the basics, technical skills, and ethics of accounting. And once you obtain this knowledge, you would want to figure out a niche, or you can self-discover this niche when you apply for general, entry level jobs, which usually involve bookkeeping or analyzing/writing reports.
You can take that first step with us here at Ashton College with our Certificate in Accounting Program and get your certificate in accounting today!
Written by Adam Rosman