Sunday, February 20, 2011

Accounting: What's the Real World of Accounting Like? [2]

Before you get into the Real World of Accounting

If you are a junior or senior accounting student, you are almost certainly contemplating your work options after graduation. Before interviewing with prospective employers, ask yourself the following questions:

(1) Do I want to work with a small, local firm or a large national firm? And more specifically, do I want a clear, fast path to advancement, or am I willing to wait awhile, until a path opens up?

(2) Do I prefer a regular, nine-to-five workday, or am I willing to work additional overtime and weekends on a normal basis?

(3) Do I prefer to do more mundane yet essential tasks, or do I want diverse and complicated assignments?

(4) Do I prefer an "easygoing" office environment or would I be able to handle an "intense" one?

(5) Do I prefer to work at the same office location all the time or am I willing to travel regularly?

Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. For instance, it's easy to say, "I'll do anything for the right amount of money," but it's very different to be paid well but to be unhappy with your job. Often you can't know how much you will enjoy your job until you are well into it. But you can certainly ask your interviewer specific questions about the firm they are representing and the position for which you are applying. Also, researching the company, visiting the job site and talking to current employees can provide valuable insights into what to expect if you were to choose that particular place to spend most of your waking hours.

So, what can you expect when you walk through the doors for your first day of work? For one thing, before you go directly to work, you will need information – and it doesn't just come from a book!  You will have to access the computer, acquire source documents, run reports, and do research in books, periodicals, journals, and other secondary sources. Beyond that, you will need to interview the people you work with: managers, co-workers, clients, and others with valuable information.


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