According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPAs, or certified public accountants, are among the most sought-after professionals of the decade. This means there are many job options available, but it also means the competition may be fierce. However, there are many things aspiring accountants can do to improve their chances for success after graduation.
Aspiring accountants should start their education early and continue even after study hours are over. Taking an internship or working part-time can earn you extra credits and give you an advantage over other graduates. If somebody in the family owns a business, offer to help with the books, or ask to hang around to get an idea of how the business is managed and what your future work will entail. If you have the chance, find a mentor. Experienced professionals are the best example of what you can expect. Even high school students can improve their chances as aspiring accountants by taking some after-school business courses.
Aspiring accountants should explore career options beyond becoming a CPA or certified public accountant. E-commerce, financial services, and private consulting are widely open areas. People who work as internal audit managers for a company can also have access to world travel and other unexpected perks that aspiring accountants sometimes do not consider. Many CPAs eventually become business managers or start a career in corporate acquisitions. Believe it or not, a good percentage of FBI agents have a background in accounting. The agency considers this a big advantage, since many of the crimes they investigate have to do with fraud and money laundering.
Another thing aspiring accountants can do is work on their interpersonal skills. Employers look for CPAs who can become team players, so learning how to get along with others can go a long way. This is also true when it comes to your personal history, especially anything that can be interpreted as criminal history, problems with the law, or alcohol/drug dependency. Background checks are common in accounting firms, so a good, clean record will go a long way when looking for a job.