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You are a newly qualified accountant. Great, well done. Now what?

Accountancy is a marvellous career. At least, here at Bennett Verby, we believe so. But then, we’re a company that looks after its employees and, perhaps even more so, the number of apprentices we have within our firm.

It might be, though, that after following the traditional route of school, university and professional accounting qualification, you’re feeling a bit worried about your future. After all, you’ve never applied for a job before. And, no, working the bar at the local pub does not count.

So, while you are quite rightly congratulating yourself, there are decisions to be made and a number of actions for you to take to lead you along the best career path for you.

First, decide what kind of Accountant you want to be.

Would you like to work in an accountancy practice, where you will be working with a number of clients across several different sectors and industries? Or, perhaps you’d be happier in industry working in the financial department of one business, getting deeply involved in the workings of the company and its success. One other option for accountants is to work in a bank, which is very specialised, but can lead to broader horizons.

Then, you need to ask yourself which area of accountancy is for you.

Accountancy is a career with many facets – audit, tax, advisory, consultancy to name just a few? Or, perhaps something very focussed such as forensic accounting? If industry is your chosen path, you might want to think about the sector – building, engineering, publishing, marketing, media – all businesses need an accountant. Whilst it is true that the mechanics of the job remain similar – 2 and 2 is always 4 after all – each has its own specific foibles. In an accountancy practice, you might have less of a choice, as you will tend to work across a number of sectors.

Don’t think you know it all.

There is an old saying that you don’t start learning to drive until you pass your test. And, it’s the same in accountancy. Like most careers, succeeding in accounting involves working at it and gaining experience. Technology is everywhere in accountancy and it is changing and developing at an ever-increasing pace. You need to keep up, as well as mastering traditional favourites such as Excel. Continuing Professional Development is crucial to a successful accounting career and all major professional bodies offer courses in a huge selection of subjects.

Network everywhere

While you don’t have to go out socialising every night (you’re not at Uni anymore!), it is good to spend some time at work-related events. ‘Networking’ has become a derided word in many people’s minds but it is important. In addition to those hard-earned technical skills, you need to be able to communicate with all levels of people inside and outside of your organisation.  In your day job, getting on with the people you work with will make your working life far more enjoyable and meaningful. Building good relationships with colleagues and clients is vital if you are to excel in your role, and you might well make a connection with someone who will help you and your career in ways you haven’t considered.

Make that sector choice, but always be flexible

As you consider your future, everything might point you along a certain route. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind as you go along. As one who is new to the world of accounting, it is extremely difficult to be sure exactly what you want to be doing there? For instance, you might start in tax but then switch to wealth management because you become interested in a certain area or spot an unmissable opportunity.

At Bennett Verby, we encourage our apprentices to try before they buy. Adam Rhodes, Training Manager at Bennett Verby, (and winner of the ‘Apprentice Supervisor of the Year’ award) says, “We usually have around 10 apprentices in our firm at any one time and we make sure they get the opportunity to experience every facet of our business.

“That way, they can get a feel for what they might want to specialise in, and we can look for special skills and attributes.”

We are always happy to meet newly-qualified accountants and offer any help or advice we can. If you would like to know more, please contact Adam Rhodes <here>

The world of accountancy lies before you and a little bit of forethought and investigation now will help you make the most of your wonderful opportunity. Good luck!

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