By Avraham Brothman
Coming into a CPA firm for most new graduates is a great opportunity for someone looking to start their career in the accounting field. At the same time, there are challenges a staff accountant will face which sometimes, without the proper guidance, can become overwhelming. However, with the proper mindset and the right leadership to offer direction, these challenges can be turned into opportunities for a new staff accountant to start building their career.
It’s helpful to remember that a new staff accountant is never expected to turn out a perfect return from start to finish. Bearing that in mind can alleviate a great deal of stress when handling your first few years in the accounting field. The ability to communicate with peers, reviewers, and top reviewers in a professional manner will show the firm that you’re greatly committed to its success. Focusing on basic tasks that you’re given, as well as assisting with extension preparation, basic workpaper preparation, and keeping pace with your CPE classes, are all great ways to set yourself up for future accomplishments.
One way I found I was able to impress my managers was by using my ability to ask pointed questions about unclear subjects. Though it’s always easier to say you understand what’s going on, when in truth you’re unsure, it’s better for your development and your work product to ask the questions that will help you gain mastery of the skill sets expected for an accountant, the services you’re providing, and the clients and industries you’re serving. Managers appreciate you asking for clarification before starting a return, as opposed to waiting until the deadline is right on top of you and finding out you’re lost. Even though working through a return can bring along its share of challenges, working as hard as you can to figure out the return shows managers your determination and drive to improve as an accountant.
Lastly, if you ever find yourself sitting back and waiting for work to come to you, realize this is your chance to show everyone that you are a go-getter and want to help the team out in any way you can. While it may be easier to wait for the work to land in your inbox, in the long term, you’re much better served when you aim to distinguish yourself from your peers by going beyond the call of duty.