Your first year in public accounting can be both challenging and fulfilling. For many staff accountants it is their first time entering the adult work force and do not know what to expect. Here are three things to expect in your first year as a staff accountant.
1.Expect to ask a lot of questions.
Although it is important to be able to work independently and problem solve on your own, public accounting is also a learning environment. Staff accountants, especially ones in their first year, are expected to ask questions and learn from their seniors’ instruction and leadership. Managers and seniors were once a first year staff themselves, so they are more than aware that most of what you are doing is new and, ultimately, challenging. I learned that the quicker you get comfortable asking questions of those above you, the more you will learn and grow.
2.Expect a change in routine.
Most first year staff accountants are starting their jobs right out of college and it takes some time to figure out a schedule that is right for you. This includes finding a balance between work life and life outside of work. This change in dynamic is something that often gets overlooked in the beginning. The quicker you get into a routine and balance, the easier the work weeks become.
The biggest change for me was scheduling my activities outside of work. When I was an athlete in college, we always had scheduled workouts. When I started working, it was much more difficult to find time to work out. In an effort to have more of a routine, I decided on certain days and times for workouts.
3.Expect to leave your comfort zone.
The first year as a staff accountant is a lot of trial and error and not getting everything right on the first try. It’s important to be willing to leave your comfort zone and be able to take on work you may not have been exposed to before or are completely familiar with. You will make mistakes when you take on these new challenges; however, learning from these mistakes is an import step in the learning process and will help your development moving forward.
Your first year as a staff accountant can be very overwhelming at times as it is a whole new world you are being exposed to. However, it can also be very rewarding. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember is that there is always a team of colleagues willing to help you transition into the workforce and excel in your career. Everyone was a first year staff at some point and should be more than willing to help you.
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