Accountant reviewing financials

Finance and Accounting Job Hunting: What Job Seekers Should Know

Finance and accounting jobs are perfect for those who enjoy working with numbers, have meticulous attention to detail, and have an analytical mind. They offer a lot of challenges but have great rewards. These positions are well-paid, and every company needs access to them either internally or through partners. Careers in finance and accounting are also very stable and will likely never be outdated or replaced.

What Jobs Are Available In the Finance and Accounting Industries?

In the finance and accounting industries, there are many different types of jobs that you may consider pursuing. If you’ve always seen yourself in an accounting role, consider the following options:

  • Public Accountant: These individuals work for an accounting firm. Their duties may include taxes, financial planning, auditing, and consulting.
  • Forensic Accountant: These accountants review records for evidence of wrongdoing and are sometimes called upon to testify in court.
  • Tax Accountant: An expert in tax law, the tax accountant prepares tax returns, oversees tax payments, and helps individuals and organizations reduce their tax liability.
  • Cost Accountant: Cost accountants analyze expenses to see if money is being spent efficiently and offer advice on better budgeting practices.
  • Staff Accountant: These accountants handle all fields of accounting for a company, such as taxes, year-end statements, finances, budgeting, and more.

On the other hand, if you are leaning more toward the finance side of these types of positions, you may consider working in the following areas:

  • Corporate Finance: This role requires you to handle a company's or organization's finances.
  • Financial Planner: Individuals working as a financial planner can help clients plan their personal or business finances, including making budgets and plans for retirement.
  • Banking: Those working in banking can have a number of different roles. Many may choose to work on a lower level of banking, such as being a teller, opening checking and savings accounts, and more. Others working at a higher level can provide support to customers needing loans or wanting to open an IRA account.
  • Investment Manager: These individuals advise clients on which stocks and bonds to buy or sell.
  • Financial Analyst: In this job, you would analyze spending, adjust budgets, and help create a strategic business plan. You may also project future profits and losses.

Jobs in the financial and accounting industry are generally well paid, but can be competitive because they require both soft and hard skillsets. Soft skills include excellent communication, teamwork skills, organization, attention to detail, time management, critical thinking, active learning, and more.

Hard skills will depend on your specific chosen role, but may include skills like understanding balance sheets, business mathematics like break-even points, or preparing asset depreciation schedules.

Despite the competitive nature of these positions, companies are always recruiting accountants and finance professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountant and auditor positions are expected to grow a healthy six percent from 2021 to 2031. Financial analyst growth rates are expected to grow by nine percent, which is faster than average.

So, how exactly does one land a position in these industries? If you’re wondering how to start a career in accounting or finance, consider the following tips.

Candidate interviewing for a job

6 Tips for Landing a Job in Finance and Accounting

Let’s look at how to get an accounting or finance job placement. Many positions require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a business-related field. For most, earning your bachelor's degree is the first step. Once you’ve completed your schooling, there are other steps you should consider taking as you pursue a career in these fields.

  • 1. Network with Other Professionals

    When it comes to actually landing an accounting or finance job, it may not always be about what you know, but rather who you know. Whenever you get the chance, network with other professionals and meet new people in industries or positions you would like to work in.

    Studies indicate that it is not your strong relationships, like friends and family, that will get you a job, but your “weak ties” that are more likely to be helpful. Friends of friends, acquaintances, and connections on sites like LinkedIn are great resources for connecting you to the right people to get an accounting or finance position.

    You can also talk to former classmates, professors, co-workers, employers, and any other groups you are a part of, and put it out there that you are looking to get an accounting or finance position. Have your contact information readily available, such as on a business card.

  • 2. Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Updated

    With competition being stiff, you need to stand out from the crowd. Make sure your LinkedIn professional profile is completed and up to date. This should include your employment history, education, skills, and any extracurricular activities that are relevant. Also, list any additional certifications or training you have.

  • 3. Gain the Right Skills and Experience

    Make sure you take the time to develop both hard and soft skills. In addition to their own field, finance professionals will need to understand accounting basics, and accountants will need to have a sense of finance.

    You’ll need to be able to do more than balance a financial statement; you’ll also need soft skills. Employers are increasingly interested in employees who communicate and work well with others. Accountants and finance professionals will need to be able to work with all the different departments in a business. You’ll have to be able to chase down department recording errors and work with departments on sensible budgets.

  • 4. Pursue Additional Certifications and Training

    One of the most significant boosts to an accounting career is earning your CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, certification. Different states have different requirements, but often this means pursuing a Master’s degree and getting enough education credits to qualify to take the CPA exam. A Master’s Degree and a CPA certification can boost your resume and instantly make you more desirable. Businesses usually consider having a Master’s Degree equivalent to two years of work experience.

  • 5. Stay Positive and Flexible

    Don’t let a few rejections get you down. Accounting and finance professionals typically have to put in a lot of applications before they find their first job. Just keep filling out applications, interviewing, and asking employers how you can improve.

    Stay flexible in the positions you’ll accept. The top four pre-eminent accounting firms may be too competitive to get your foot in the door, and that’s okay. There are plenty of other opportunities for you to get experience. Consider internships or other entry-level positions, or apply to non-accounting companies with a small team of accountants. Sometimes you can get more experience handling many different accounting duties on a small team than in a big accounting firm.

  • 6. Work with a Finance and Accounting Recruiting Agency

    A quick shortcut to finding a position in the finance and accounting industries is working with a recruiting agency. Recruiting agencies know a lot of people in the industry and are actively looking for quality candidates for accounting or finance job recruiting. They can put you on the fast track to finding an excellent finance or accounting job placement.

Ready to get started? Submit your resume with Spencer Reed Group today!