USA Lost in the world of accounting


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Hello all,

This is my first time, but I could use some practical advice. I've been attending college for accounting for four years, switched my major to accounting two years in, and now I have taken a break (I'll leave it at that). I got about two years left until I can graduate, but I've been working for the family company doing bookkeeping for the past two years now.

In the past two years I've had a lot of valuable experience. I started off doing basic tasks, posting daily transactions, reconciling accounts, A/P and A/R management, etc. I have become fairly familiar with the basics, but lately I've felt like I hit the end of the road. Other than myself, there is absolutely no one within the company that has any experience in accounting, and everytime I run into a road block I have no one available for me to ask questions. Lately, I've been getting very stressed out, as everyone depends on me to determine the financial status of the company. And to make things worse, we laid off a lot of employees so I now find myself doing management tasks (writing up quotes and contracts, job costing, hiring), and I still don't have anyone to check my work or tell me if what I'm doing is right. I feel like I should be doing a lot more, but have no idea where to start, or whether or not I even have the time.

Is this what I have to look forward to in my future career as an accountant? Lately, I have had the urge to walk out the door and never come back. I like doing what I am doing, but I feel like my employment isn't very beneficial, and is now effecting personal life. I know I have two more years of college left, so I figure that I'll be learning a lot more than I know now in the next two years or so. I just feel like I am completely helpless when it comes down to it, and no one is really around to let me know if I am doing the right thing or not. So, I stumble through it and hope it sticks to the wall. Has anyone been in this situation before? I get paid fairly well, but at this point the money doesn't matter. I feel as if I need to have a supervisor at this point, but I don't (I guess that's a good thing though).

Any advice would help. Have I lost my mind, or does this seem to be the way things work in the real world? Be brutally honest if you have to, I'm sure I can take it :)

Thanks in advance!!
 
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HDN

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I think you shouldn’t give up because you don’t know if your work is right or not. I started off like you being on my own with little help. But then I graduated and took another job. It’s certainly discouraging when you don’t have the direction and lack of experience running an accounting and financial department. But you shouldn’t give up. I usually call my CA/CPA firm to ask for advice. Do you have audited financial statements? If you go through audits every year and there is not a lot of changes and little adjusting entries, then you are doing great. You can actually learn through audit of your company. Since you’re still in school, why don’t you ask guidance by one of your professors? They are PhD level and must have experiences. They are a great resources. Don’t give up and continue to strive!
 
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The situation you described is actually an opportunity to prove your worth. Keep an open mind. Don't restrict yourself to accounting work. Show that you are ready to do management work as well. Management involves managing people. So if you are overwhelmed, get someone in the company, train him/her, and delegate some of your work.
 
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HDN: It's nice to hear someone else has had a similar situation. We don't audit our financial statements. Our CPA charges from $4-5,000, and we just can't afford it. I do ask our CPA for assistance when need be, and he is very helpful, but he answers more tax questions if anything. However, I didn't think about asking professors. I always feel like they'd be too busy, but you never know unless you ask. Thanks for the advice.

hankas: I've thought about hiring and delegating tasks before. I feel like I might be better within management if I didn't have to spend as much time as I do on financial tasks. I worry that I might not be able to train someone well enough, and have to hire someone for a little more money an hour. Money is a little tight these days. Maybe it's just a lack of confidence. It may be worth a try though.
 
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Sadly, you're in the same boat as a lot of professionals -- lots of layoffs and more work, without a corresponding increase in pay.

Having forums and other online resources like this is excellent for asking questions and developing skills. Are there any local accounting organizations you can join, so you can interact with other accountants?
 

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