One of the first steps you should take as an early career professional, before starting at a firm, is to become familiar with the firm’s historical background and the types of services they provide. There are a variety of ways to learn about the services a firm offers and the industries they serve — an early career professional should do their own research.
When on the job, a way for early professionals to learn about a firm or particular industry is to ask their experienced co-workers. Asking co-workers about their experiences will help less established professionals understand the expectations of management and the firm, focus on acquiring relevant skills and prepare them for future tasks.
Here are five things to consider when starting your accounting career:
- Always be on time. Being punctual shows that you are responsible and take your career seriously. It shows that you want to be part of the firm and are eager to learn.
- Maintain a good attitude. Your attitude shows when you are proactive and striving to contribute positively to your job and your team. This quality will show you have the enthusiasm and drive to learn as well as the willingness to be a team player.
- Ask questions. Inquiring about the way things work shows you are taking an interest in developing your career. You should never be afraid to ask questions, as this may not allow you to grasp a concept or understand certain procedures regarding the work you may be performing. Your coworkers will not expect you to know everything.
- Learn from mistakes. Understand it is okay to make mistakes. Know that the most important thing is to learn from any mistakes you may make.
- Ask for feedback. Periodically check in with senior staff or supervisors and ask for feedback on your performance and how you could improve. This will help you develop in your career.
Aside from external factors, early career professionals should also consider identifying their personal goals. These might include passing the CPA exam or identifying industries to specialize in. All professionals need to take responsibility for their career and their own professional development.