Career change advice with no work experience


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Hi everyone,

A few years ago I graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Exercise Science & Sport Studies. Last summer, I decided to make a career change into accounting. So far, I have taken a couple online accounting courses that taught me the foundations of accounting for a small business. I have also taken Bookkeeping I at a university which ended in December. In a couple weeks I'll be starting my Financial Accounting course.

So I understand the knowledge I have at the moment is barely the tip of the iceberg for accounting overall. With that said, what are some recommended jobs or internships to help me gain experience with bookkeeping or accounting? Majority of positions I have searched require at least a couple years of experience along with knowledge of certain software. I would say I have basic knowledge of QuickBooks and about intermediate knowledge of Excel (but never performed accounting functions on it).

I saw a video where someone said mastering Excel is crucial to a career in accounting. Right now, I just want to learn to perform basic tasks like double entry bookkeeping. Where can I go to learn more information and practice?

Sorry for a lengthy first post. I am in the processing of applying to grad school for an MBA in Accounting (designed for those with no experience) but in the event I do not get accepted, I want to get a head start on my alternate path. Any feedback is much appreciated.
 
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kirby

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Can you clarify why you want to "learn bookkeeping" when you have already "taken bookkeeping 1" ??
 
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I would like to transfer the skills and knowledge from recording/journalizing entires on paper to recording/journalizing entries on computer software since that's the preferred method these days.
 
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The Finance Writer

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I recommend that you get a better understanding of where you want to eventually land in the accounting field. Many people I know who decided to join the popular accounting profession by returning to school after several years of absence are disappointed with their job prospects. Getting a graduate degree and even passing the CPA exam don’t guarantee great job offers. Highly successful accountants have accomplished those steps plus attained high GPAs and held internships in the Big 4 during their undergrad studies. Following this process requires you to start all over again. You have not, however, clarified that you aim to become a CPA.

If you simply want to find work opportunities as a staff accountant, another approach is suitable. You seem interested in this direction because you’ve discovered that staff accounting jobs are typically given to people with experience. I’m not convinced that a graduate degree is the right substitute. Small local accounting practices headed by one or two CPAs are good places to gain experience. These firms handle bookkeeping projects but with a focus on tax preparation. You can substitute tax education for experience when applying for these jobs by completing the Enrolled Agent exam. But then you end up preparing tax returns and you didn’t mention having any interest in that direction. Nevertheless, this might be your best option for gaining bookkeeping experience that qualifies you for corporate accounting work. Or, you might find that you like tax work… especially because the jobs pay well and having some knowledge of a program like QuickBooks is highly valuable.

Grad school seems like the right path if you are going to follow all the steps for being a CPA. By contrast, adding tax expertise by becoming an Enrolled Agent is a better direction if you plan to apply for jobs on the staffs of local public accounting firms or mid-size industrial companies. A logical start to making a decision is knowing the difference between the CPA exam and the Enrolled Agent exam. (CPA is more comprehensive and difficult to pass; EA is easier if you have a good review course.) Take a look at free sample exam questions at http://fastforwardacademy.com/index-page-free_trial_embed.htm.
 

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