As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Accounting - How do I start my career?

4rch3nemy4rch3nemy Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm trying to enhance my financial situation and also get into a career that I could very likely enjoy: chartered accounting! I just don't know where to start whatsoever besides the obvious attending of an accounting program in university or post-secondary institution. It'll be a long, hard road, I know.

I'm going to go to school starting in September, I live in Alberta, Canada, I'm 24 (25 in Nov), live with the parents, and other than my current employment status (EI) have a great life. I'm just really concerned with my age and lack of accounting experience that I won't see any gains from my career choice for a really long time.. unless I do something about it.

I'm okay with reading books, learning myself, temping (sounds scary but I'd do it), volunteering (not preferable as I'm poor), and pretty much anything except sucking cocks behind the Olive Garden just so that I can feel some sort of development in my choice. Can anyone provide some insight? Accountants in the know wanna give me some advice?

Thanks in advance, everyone.

4rch3nemy on

Posts

  • Options
    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Well, if you really want to get into accounting, you will need a M.S. just to start at most institutions. If your end goal is being a C.P.A. or something similar, the sooner you get into school, the better.

    In the meantime, I wouldn't worry about job experience unless you specifically know of a position where you will have the opportunity to be the primary accountant. I know my lady friend ended up as an accountant early through sheer luck/desperation on the business's end, but without the degree, the company won't promote her or even officially recognize her as doing the books. This will be the case with most places. She still has a year before she completes her graduate program, and is ticking down the days.

    Really, until you have either a BA with four+ years of experience (fairly chancy, especially in this economy) or the Masters degree, your prospects are slim. I'd find something stable to cover your schooling costs and stick with that until you have the paper.

    Also, become a notary public. Always a handy skill if you end up doing book-keeping, and looks great on a resume.

    Enc on
  • Options
    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    http://www.cica.ca/become-a-ca/how-to-become-a-ca/index.aspx

    You could probably check your local craigslist/want ads for an entry level accounting position. This would alleviate some of your current funding problem and let you realize if accounting is what you want to do. A lot of people think accounting is exceptionally boring, so you better find out if you are one of those folks before you get wrapped up in school.

    If you want to work on your skills on your own, buy a text book. Most of the books I see in stores are based off teaching non-accountants how to keep their checkbooks balanced. This will not be enough if you want a career. Snag an old text book off amazon or something. You'll be able to learn the terms, concepts, prepare yourself for school, AND work through a ton of different problems.

    starmanbrand on
    camo_sig2.png
  • Options
    LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    CPA is the American letters, in Canada you choose between CGA, CMA or CA. So pretty much it'll take you four years to get your degree and then either of the professional institutions take about 2.5 years after that, but at the end of it all you get a bunch of pretty letters after your name.

    Once you get your introductory courses down, there's a lot of bookkeeping type jobs out there. They really don't pay to well ($13ish an hour seems to be the average just from what I've seen...in BC). And then when you're closer to finishing your degree a lot of the bigger accounting firms will start to take you more seriously, and you may even be able to get a job at the CRA (Red Deer has a big CRA office).

    You can stop at the degree and not go after the letters, but really that's where the big money is.

    I'm just about done my diploma in accounting and will be continuing on. I haven't decided between going for the CMA or CA.

    Here's some links:

    http://www.cma-canada.org/
    http://www.cga-canada.org/
    http://www.cica.ca/

    Lail on
  • Options
    1600Points1600Points Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I can only speak from the American side of things but it is very plausible to get your B.S. and then go directly to a CPA.

    Once you have completed your degree I would seek out a firm such as Deloitte & Touche and start getting your experience there. While at a large accounting firm you will accumulate experience and also be able to study for your CPA (or Canadian equivalent) after you pass your CPA the sky is the limit.

    1600Points on
    Steam ID - 1600Points
    Xbox Live - Doctor Xedd
    Gametap - RIbar77
  • Options
    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    1600Points wrote: »
    I can only speak from the American side of things but it is very plausible to get your B.S. and then go directly to a CPA.

    Once you have completed your degree I would seek out a firm such as Deloitte & Touche and start getting your experience there. While at a large accounting firm you will accumulate experience and also be able to study for your CPA (or Canadian equivalent) after you pass your CPA the sky is the limit.

    I'm not hugely familiar with the process outside of Florida, but here you absolutely cannot sit for the CPA exam until you have a graduate degree in the field with at least a significant BA minor backing it.

    Probably not the case everywhere, and doubly dubious in Canada (America's hat! <3). I'd check with your local exam centers to see what they require.

    Enc on
  • Options
    1600Points1600Points Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    That's interesting, my brother was able to sit for his CPA after 2 years of work experience I believe. I know he had to take a "few" extra accounting courses but nothing on the level of graduate studies.
    California though.

    1600Points on
    Steam ID - 1600Points
    Xbox Live - Doctor Xedd
    Gametap - RIbar77
  • Options
    SpherickSpherick Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Enc wrote: »
    1600Points wrote: »
    I can only speak from the American side of things but it is very plausible to get your B.S. and then go directly to a CPA.

    Once you have completed your degree I would seek out a firm such as Deloitte & Touche and start getting your experience there. While at a large accounting firm you will accumulate experience and also be able to study for your CPA (or Canadian equivalent) after you pass your CPA the sky is the limit.

    I'm not hugely familiar with the process outside of Florida, but here you absolutely cannot sit for the CPA exam until you have a graduate degree in the field with at least a significant BA minor backing it.

    Probably not the case everywhere, and doubly dubious in Canada (America's hat! <3). I'd check with your local exam centers to see what they require.

    Actually, as a CPA candidate here in Florida, you CAN sit without a graduate degree. Only requires 150 hours (so a BS, then a 5th year) and 2 law classes and 2 tax classes. I don't have my MAcc and im sitting for my first section in August in Florida. However you do need an undergrad degree in Accounting, just not the masters.

    Also, I would suggest going to a 4 year university and major in accounting. Go to as many Career fairs as possible and try and meet the Big 4/5 (Deloitte and Touche, Ernst and Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCooper, and Grant Thornton) An internship with one of these firms and a subsequent offer will give you an amazing career in the field of public accounting.

    Also try and decide if you want to do more audit or tax related work. Most firms look for a firm decision and do not like poeple who are unsure (at least when it comes to the Big4)

    Spherick on
  • Options
    shugaraeshugarae Phoenix, AZRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Each state is different as far as CPA standards in the US. Check with the state's board of accountancy for details.

    Not sure how it works in Canada...

    On a personal note, accounting is very boring. Very Boring. I'm currently working on my MS in Accounting, and I want to gouge my eyes out everyday. I was planning to become a CPA and make $TEXAS but now there isn't enough money in the world to make me want to continue in this career path. YMMV.

    shugarae on
    Omeganaut class of '08. Fuck Peggle. Omeganaut class of '17 West. Fuck Rainbow Road.
    The Best in Terms of Pants on JCCC3
  • Options
    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Spherick wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    1600Points wrote: »
    I can only speak from the American side of things but it is very plausible to get your B.S. and then go directly to a CPA.

    Once you have completed your degree I would seek out a firm such as Deloitte & Touche and start getting your experience there. While at a large accounting firm you will accumulate experience and also be able to study for your CPA (or Canadian equivalent) after you pass your CPA the sky is the limit.

    I'm not hugely familiar with the process outside of Florida, but here you absolutely cannot sit for the CPA exam until you have a graduate degree in the field with at least a significant BA minor backing it.

    Probably not the case everywhere, and doubly dubious in Canada (America's hat! <3). I'd check with your local exam centers to see what they require.

    Actually, as a CPA candidate here in Florida, you CAN sit without a graduate degree. Only requires 150 hours (so a BS, then a 5th year) and 2 law classes and 2 tax classes. I don't have my MAcc and im sitting for my first section in August in Florida. However you do need an undergrad degree in Accounting, just not the masters.

    Also, I would suggest going to a 4 year university and major in accounting. Go to as many Career fairs as possible and try and meet the Big 4/5 (Deloitte and Touche, Ernst and Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCooper, and Grant Thornton) An internship with one of these firms and a subsequent offer will give you an amazing career in the field of public accounting.

    Also try and decide if you want to do more audit or tax related work. Most firms look for a firm decision and do not like poeple who are unsure (at least when it comes to the Big4)

    This is probably where I was screwed up on. My lady is working her way towards that from an unrelated bachelors degree. I remember have dozens of conversations about this, and apparently I didn't listen close enough.

    I am, probably, an idiot. Apologies. : /

    Enc on
  • Options
    Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    While the discussion about U.S. requirements is lovely and all, I just wanted to chime and say that Lail's post is spot-on and the rest can be ignored since you're in Alberta - my girlfriend got her CMA a couple of years ago, in Ontario.

    You just need a regular bachelor's business degree and sometime around your last year you take the entrance exam. You can start working right away as an accountant, and firms will hire you as sort of an apprentice, while you attend classes hosted by your association on weekends, do course work in the evenings and receive your designation about two years later.

    You'll be a few years away from all of that, but speak to your professors and get advice on courses and career advice for the different designations.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • Options
    Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I've worked as an accountant in Canada in the past, and everyone with any sort of substantial position had their bachelors in accounting from a university and were either well along their way to acquiring/had their CGA or CMA designation.

    That being said, anyone able to count to 14 and set up a decent spreadsheet can do the work associated with most base level accounting jobs (accounting tech and similar). Most of them are glorified data entry positions, but once you've learned the software packages used by your firm you'll be much more desirable for higher level positions as you'll need much less training.

    If you're anywhere near a Cargill location in Alberta, try giving them a call. I worked for them for a few years, and it seemed they were always hiring new folks for their accounting departments. They had a great tuition reimbursement program (100% of your tuition, provided it's job relevant) which would be rather helpful in your situation.

    Dark Moon on
    3072973561_de17a80845_o.jpg
This discussion has been closed.