word of warning to the average entry-level accountant/accounting student

The accounting world can be okay or it can be absolute hell. This will largely depend not on the accounting job itself (industry, sector, public, A/R, A/P, etc.) but rather on factors that are largely
outside of your control. In many organizations, in order to insure success, you, the entry-level candidate might have to be extra aggressive in figuring out what the hell is going on -- something you're not used to being. After all, you're an accountant not a salesman, although those in public accounting will need to be both eventually. But, basically, what I'm telling you is that the people at your organization (including the people outside of the accounting/ finance department) and how they run things will depend on whether your job is hell or if it's okay.
So, to repeat, in many organizations, in order to insure your own success, you, the entry-level candidate will have to be incredibly aggressive in figuring out what the hell is going on. People simply won't have time to show you or tell you things in depth. SOme things can only be learned from years on the job -- sometimes hellish years.
It is odd to me that many organization aren't more aggressive with their junior-level accountants. When I train people at my job, I'm the one who's aggressive with them, as I don't expect entry-level people really to be aggressive as they often don't know what they're doing to begin with without someone first mentoring them a little.
The point of my story is you should try your best to figure out whether the people you're going to be workign with have time and/or are willing to mentor you. Otherwise, your job could be hell.
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I know exactly what you mean. Here's a reality from my days in college. If you are a 3.5 GPA student and you want to go into a Big 4 firm or another big company, they will expect you to hit the ground running. They will not hold your hand and try to boost your self confidence. When I worked for the Auditor General's office in my state, the CPAs were way too spaced out to really teach you anything. I guess audit programs were on their minds. Anyway, it is stressful and frustrating. The reality of it is, what you learn from the textbooks is not much the same when you get out in the real world. Some colleges prepare you for the real world but some don't, preferring for you to intern and stuff.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Even if you're not signing on with the Big 4, if you don't have enough common sense to figure wout what's going on then perhas Accounting isn't for you.
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That's true for most all professions and trades.
--
Paul A. Thomas, CPA
Athens, Georgia
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Don't get into accounting unless you have impeccable social skills and sales skills. You have to convince your employers why they should hire you and if they detect any weakness in you they will probably tell you to take a hike. Accounting is perceived by most employers as useless overhead in their organization-- and you have to convince them that you can make positive impact. (such as saving them lots of money). If you are not a social butterfly, you should probably stay away from accounting lest you get stuck in accounts payable for the rest of your life.
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On Jul 12, 2:03 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

In the accounting departments I worked in, it was almost a necessity to have an Accounting department. Maybe, it's the smaller positions that seem useless such as an A/P Clerk or something like that. The way I figure it, the Staff Accountants should be able to handle quite a bit of stuff instead of having an AP/AR staff. I guess it depends on the size of the company.
As far as being a social butterfly, I have known people to be oftly quiet individuals and working in Accounting. I know employers talk about personality alot and about how much experience you have. If you are not straight out of college with a high GPA or have alot of professional experience, then you may as well hang up being an accountant. The college I went to always drew these pictures of high paying accounting jobs and abundant positions. Well, when I got out in the real world, it was like I had been looking through rose-colored glasses. If you are not preparing for the CPA exam, then you probably won't move very far up the ladder.
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The smaller the business you work for, the more varied the tasks you'll be expected to do both up and down the prestige level of "job titles".

Those big paying jobs are not for accountants just out of the box. You have to learn and do quite a lot to gain the experience and have the proven abilities to perform and be worth those higher paying jobs.
Liken it to being out in the wilderness. You want to get to the top of the mountain and clearly there's not aninterstate road leading the way. It's up to you to pick and choose your way according to what you have in front of you now. If you don't like the path you're taking - change it. If the way you're heading leads to a dead-end, it may mean you have to back-track and try another route. Through your own experiences, and observations of others, you can - through great effort and time - get to your goal.
--
Paul A. Thomas, CPA
Athens, Georgia
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On Wed, 11 Jul 2007 18:50:51 -0700, Zarlot531 wrote:

I agree, and this is true with most jobs out there: one of your co-workers will be ordered to train you. They barely have time to complete their own work and now they have to spend a good portion of the first day with you. Thus, they cannot give you a thorough training. However, it is the responsibility of the new employee to ask questions during the first weeks rather than complain about the lack of training. Unfortunately, the further pussification of America prevents these recent grads from being ready for the real world; if it's not in the "book" they won't understand it. Forget about asking them to think out of the box.
--
To err is human, to forgive is not Company Policy.

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I agree with this. I believe the only class I took in college that sort of forced you to think outside the box was Management Accounting. Maybe it was my professor who pushed it but other than that, that was the only class. All the other classes didn't force us to deviate from the book too much. So, by the time I got out in the real world, I was like, "Huh, why didn't I know about this?" Colleges should give semester-long projects that allows the student to have a mock company and work the financials from beginning to end. Better yet, it should be a two-year project that builds on the textbook material. I guess it would almost make it a thesis/dissertation project. That way the student may not be totally clueless when it comes to the hands-on experience in the real world.
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