How To Secure a Job in Accounting With No Experience
Updated August 31, 2023
If you enjoy numbers and working in an office setting, a career in accounting might be ideal for you. Accountants monitor, document and analyze funding on behalf of a business while also attending to other financial records and business accounts. If you're interested in accounting and don't have experience yet, it's still possible to begin your career and secure an entry-level accounting job.
In this article, we discuss the process of securing a job in accounting with no experience, with steps to support you in your job search.
Related: What Is Accounting?
Can you find a job in accounting with no experience?
Yes, it's possible to enter the accounting field without prior experience and develop your career in the profession if you take the necessary steps to gain experience. You could begin by pursuing the appropriate education to find entry-level accounting positions.
Once you've earned a degree in finance or accounting, you can begin searching for entry-level accounting jobs that don't require experience and pursue training in that role to develop your knowledge of accounting principles. It can be a good idea to acquire training and experience working for financial institutions and government agencies in the accounting industry early in your career.
How to find a job in accounting with no experience
If you're interested in pursuing an accounting role, here are some steps you can take to establish your career:
1. Research accounting types and roles
If you hope to establish your career in a new industry, you could benefit from taking the time to become familiar with the different types of accounting businesses or the roles accountants can take, including roles in accounts receivable, payroll, financial reporting and tax preparation. Research the different roles in the accounting field, including their typical duties and requirements. You can use a spreadsheet to add notes and link to helpful accounting career pages.
2. Complete your education
Many roles in the accounting industry require candidates to have a certain level of education, including at least a high school diploma. Certified accountants need a minimum of a bachelor's degree to work in a finance company, bank or financial services institution. While in high school and college, take courses in accounting, finance, mathematics and business to learn about the accounting software you might use in the field and further develop your accounting knowledge.
Related: Types of Accounting Degrees
3. Pursue additional training or certifications
Once you've completed the necessary education, consider pursuing additional training, education or certifications. Many employers consider a master's degree equivalent to two years of experience, so earning one can help you differentiate yourself even if you lack experience.
Some programs offer online options or part-time availability if you have obligations that require flexibility. You can also ask an industry mentor for suggestions on accounting training programs.
Extended training may offer you an advantage when applying for accounting jobs without previous experience in the field. Research the preferred certifications in the field. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification is a recognizable accounting certification equivalent to one year of experience, and it qualifies you to perform most accounting tasks. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification can also be useful if you hope to work in wealth management or financial planning.
4. Intern or volunteer
Internships and volunteer opportunities can be useful ways to build your resume when you're just beginning your accounting career. Consider applying for these opportunities while you're still completing your accounting education. Some companies eventually offer paid positions to interns or volunteers working in unpaid positions upon program completion.
An accounting internship can help you accumulate useful skills and increase your financial reporting knowledge, further preparing you for the workforce. Consider interning or volunteering for startups, large corporations and government agencies to challenge yourself and enhance your resume.
5. Network effectively
Networking can be an effective way to communicate with people who have experience in the accounting field. Try attending social gatherings when possible, and develop connections online using digital tools like social media.
Search for virtual networking events to meet with other accountants and learn more about the field. Family members, friends and acquaintances may also know someone in the accounting field who can help you find an entry-level position within their organization.
Related: The Complete Guide to Networking
6. Apply for entry-level positions
When you're ready to apply for accounting jobs, search for entry-level openings first. Entry-level positions are beneficial for people with accounting degrees who have the required education but might not yet have experience in the field.
These listings sometimes also use the phrase "new graduate" to state that their preference is candidates who've completed their education and don't have experience yet. As you search and apply for entry-level positions, be sure to continue pursuing educational and development opportunities to further develop your skills as an entry-level accountant.
In your resume, demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for the job even if you lack experience. Mention your accounting strengths and include volunteer experiences and internships in the accounting field within the experience section of your resume. In addition, detail your college coursework and educational awards or memberships in professional organizations. These details can help supplement a lack of experience.
Tips for finding a job in accounting with no experience
Working in accounting can be rewarding, and the field can offer numerous advancement opportunities. Here are some additional tips for beginning your accounting career:
Keeping a positive outlook can help motivate you to continue searching for jobs at your education and experience level. There are many job postings that require minimal experience, and it can take time to search for these positions. Remember that you're just beginning your accounting career and set measurable goals for yourself. Be perseverant by submitting many applications and asking for feedback from employers, if possible.
Optimize your company search
It's beneficial to search for companies willing to train new employees on accounting concepts. Many companies post entry-level positions online or through local job boards. Consider searching for small businesses that may not have a formal hiring process and are more willing to hire people with little to no experience.
Apply above your level
If you have a lot of accounting qualifications and you possess a CPA or another professional certification, consider applying for job listings that require more experience than you actually have. Employers may be more willing to hire candidates with minimal experience if they have the necessary qualifications and demonstrate a passion for the field. You can also account for internships and volunteer positions when considering your experience level.
The job search and application process can be a beneficial learning experience. Try to learn from every resume submission and interaction with a hiring manager. Reflecting on these experiences can support your career development and increase your confidence.
Be sure to keep your technical and analytical skills current by pursuing further training. Online accounting courses can also help you become more prepared to work in the accounting and finance industry.
It may also be useful to keep your career goals flexible when beginning your accounting career. If you want to be a lead accountant, consider applying for an entry-level or support role in an office that also employs accountants but may not directly relate to accounting. You may have the opportunity to advance in the company more quickly. You can also use your time in a support role to learn by observing the accountants at the company.
Develop your soft skills
Accounting roles involve more than completing journal entries and financial reports, and soft skills are especially important. These skills influence how you interact with others in the organization. Accounting personnel work with many departments in the organization, and good communication skills and analytical thinking can make it easier to engage with these departments, in addition to other accountants.
Entry-level accounting jobs that don't require experience
Here are a few entry-level roles within accounting for recent graduates that don't typically require candidates to have extensive work experience:
Tax preparer: These individuals engage in tax preparation for both large financial institutions and small businesses using their knowledge of tax laws. They may also analyze, calculate and file income tax returns for individuals.
Accounting data entry clerk: These clerks record financial transactions and maintain databases with updated account information. They may also process account documents and file accounting paperwork.
Accounts receivable clerk: These clerks prepare, verify and record customer payments and transactions associated with accounts receivable. They also update customer files to reflect address or name changes and mergers.
Accounting assistant: These assistants work with senior accountants and perform a variety of administrative duties. They maintain and file records, answer phone calls, send invoices and resolve accounting discrepancies.
Bookkeeper: Bookkeepers track client accounts, manage financial transactions and engage in general record-keeping. They also create reports and financial statements, such as income statements.
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