If the word internship scares you, you are not alone. Every time I hear it my heart races a little bit, and I am pretty sure my blood pressure rises. Internships probably are not supposed to be this scary. In fact, they are here to help.
I have mentioned my accounting teacher before, and that is because he just seems to be full of stories this semester. One story he told my class about directly related to each and every accounting student. And no, it did not bring any relief to my fear of this word. He told us about one of his students that recently graduated. She was and A-B student, with a 3.8 GPA. He said she was a great student and really understood accounting. One day she called him up (in tears) and told him she had a horrible job that she hated…because she could not get hired at any of the accounting firms. My teacher attributed this to the fact that she had no real-world experience. She had not had an internship, and she did not do any networking while in school.
Not to completely terrify every introverted accounting student out there, but an internship and networking seem necessary. From my experience getting an internship can be a crazy process unless your school has a program that can help you out. One college I went to had this program that would send your resume to every business in the area that was looking for help from your field of study. A friend of mine got all kinds of experience from participating in this.
However, if your school does not offer that resource there are a couple things you can do. First, every school has a career services department. Get with them to make sure your resume is flawless. Then see what businesses in the area are looking for interns. The career services department should be able to help with that too. Also, remember to ask about dates and times when firms will be scouting on campus. If there is a college in a metropolitan area there are usually scouts there looking for interns.
Fun fact: according to this source up to 90% of interns get offered a full time job at their place of internship.
I have discussed a lot of different aspects of accounting: the different types, salaries, certificates, and directions you can go with a degree in accounting. Something I have not really mentioned is how to get started with your career. Let’s take it back to the beginning.
Different colleges offer different degrees. I have gone to a college that did not offer any degree in accounting, one that offered it as a business emphasis, and one that offered a complete accounting degree. The question you need to ask yourself is, “How far do I want to take accounting?” Do you want to go for the CPA or another certificate? Do you want to be a tax accountant? Or would you rather simply keep books for a business? Another good question is, where do you want accounting to take you? For example, do you one day want to start your own firm, or other type of business (accounting is very good for learning the ins-and-outs of business)? Would you like to someday be a CFO?
These questions will help you decide what kind of degree you should get. That degree will help to determine which school you should go to. It is important to note that many bachelor degree programs do not give you all of the credits and classes you need to sit for the CPA exam. This will be the case almost anywhere you go to school (some requirements vary by state). The CPA simply requires more work, but the amount of extra work also depends on the type of degree you get. If you get a business degree with an emphasis in accounting, you could have up to 30 additional hours of credits to complete after you graduate. However, this type of degree would be great if you wanted to keep books for a business or work in tax prep.
I have studied over this and it can be quite confusing. If you want more information about the CPA exam and the accounting profession in general the following site is a great resource: https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/.
One of my favorite TV commercials is the Trident Layers gum commercial where everyone gets paid in gum…except the guy at the end of the commercial. “No one ever pays me in gum.” Awe, poor guy. Of course, we know that would never fly in the real world. Our society depends on making money in order to survive. So sadly, no one gets to work for only gum. But an interesting question might be, “What is compensation like at nonprofit institutions?”
According to simplyhired.com the average annual salary for a nonprofit accountant is $42,000. In the nonprofit business world this salary is closest to that of a staff accountant which is $41, 000 according to simplyhired.com. But it is $6000 less than the average accountant working for a for profit firm. You can view those statistics and more information on current accounting salaries here.
These statistics are not really surprising. Hopefully the majority of the funds of a nonprofit are going to helping people. If you are getting into accounting for the paycheck, then nonprofit accounting may be slightly disappointing. For me accounting is simply something that I love to do, and I would like to be involved in a ministry. If I was able to be an accountant and work for a nonprofit institution that shares my values I would love it. It would be peaceful finding something that is so well fitting.
It can be hard to combine such a worldly occupation with something like ministry, but if that is what you are looking for too nonprofit accounting may be for you. As you have seen here, you could live that dream and be able to make a living.
In my blog post Dream Big I wrote about my greatest dream which is to open and run a house for young women coming out of troubled times. This business would be operated as program that helps them overcome obstacles and become self-sufficient. It would also be a ministry, giving them hope that no matter where they come from they have a great future ahead of them. Most ministries are operated as non-profits and that is exactly how I want this to be.
For my accounting class we are required to do a financial statement analysis of two nonreligious nonprofit businesses. My instructor would often come to class and discuss exactly what we should be looking for by showing us examples of nonprofit financial statements. To my disappointment (and I’m sure many of my classmates’) I learned that many ‘nonprofits’ actually had very high profits that they had accrued throughout the years. One of them was for a foundation that helped parents of transplant patients with expenses. The best question my professor asked was, “Do you think that they helped every child to get the transplant they needed, or at least helped with every transplant patient’s family expenses?” They obvious answer was no.
In my opinion this type of nonprofit should have funds constantly going out until they have exhausted every appropriate avenue for assisting transplant patients. After all that is their goal, is it not? Like this institution, The Red Cross had high accrued revenues. The difference in these two programs is that the second is a disaster relief program. They do not know when a disaster will arise and they have to have funds readily available when it inevitably does. So, The Red Cross seems to have a rational explanation for their accrued funds.
The goal of a nonprofit is to help people, to put others first. If I ever get to live out my ‘big’ dream, I hope I do not forget that.
On October 19th, I wrote the blog Decisions, Decisions. Towards the end of the blog I talked a tiny bit about how stable the job market seems to be for accountants.This seems to be (in part) because there are so many different aspects of accounting. A small business may not require as many accounting statements and activities as a large corporation, and so they most likely won’t require someone to have a CPA, or even a bachelors degree in accounting.
I have stated before that having a CPA certificate increases the chance of getting a job in accounting but an article on Accountingcrossing.com says that the certificate can also increase your starting pay by 10%!!! The same article lists many other certificates that can help accountants get the ball rolling on their career. One of the certificates is the CMA, that was also discussed in an earlier blog post.
These certificates allow the accountant to specialize in a particular aspect of accounting and make it easier for employers to spot the people they need for their business. These certificates fit into the categories of auditing, taxes, management, business, elder care, technology, and forensics. From these are 13 different specialist certificates, that can help you further your career in the aspect of accounting that you excel in!
Through my entire life, no matter what my passion at the time, the one consistency in all of my dreams has been business. I went from wanting to be a cosmetologist with my own shop, to having my own fashion line, to owning my own record store and any combination of the three! So once I entered high school I decided I wanted to take some classes that would help prepare me for the business world. This is when I was introduced to accounting. I truthfully love the idea of managerial accounting. To me it means combining my need to make decisions with my love for organization and accuracy.
However, as we grow older we learn more and take in new sights and visit places we never knew about when we were younger. But also our views of the world change. We understand that not everyone lives the way we do. Whether it is their family life, their freedoms, or their opportunities, peoples’ lives are different. As I have grown up my dreams have somewhat changed. I am still captivated by the business world, but I also see an intense need for hope. Another consistency in my life has always been my faith. I take it very seriously and it has driven me to work hard in anything that I do. It motivates me to be my best. My biggest dream would be to incorporate my faith in my career and to genuinely help others.
I want to do this by opening up a home (like a real home, not a dorm or a cold place to stay) for women who need to get back on their feet. These women could have come from jail or a broken family, from abuse or simply rough times. The home would give them a place to stay that teaches them how to get back on their feet and be business savvy (let’s face it this is a business world). All the while, giving them hope. I don’t see this happening anytime soon, because there is a lot of preparation that goes into a ministry. And I would like to grow up a little more and learn what I need to, to make this happen.
In this crazy world something people really need is hope. A way to give this hope is to give people something to believe in and to help them believe in themselves. This is part of what Mercy Ministries tries to accomplish. They have locations in four different states and are planning to add a fifth location in a fifth state. They focus on helping young women, but I feel their program could be valuable to any age group, and not just to women. This is a place I would love to be a part of and who knows, maybe my accounting career will take me there. To learn more about Mercy Ministries click on their name above.
As stated in Just My Type, I love the topic of managerial accounting. What really draws me to it is the “managerial” part! I like the idea of having influence and being able to participate in the decisions a company makes. I also feel when employees are engaged in decision making they tend to care more about the job they are doing: everyone wants to feel like they are a part of something.
So, if you want to be an accountant but you do not just want to stay behind the scenes, managerial accounting is a great direction to take your career. As you can imagine, probably every business needs at least one person interested in managerial accounting. Sure they need people who can collect and organize important financial data, but they also need someone who can explain to others why the information is important. This accountant would be involved in decision making because they have the knowledge required to keep the business efficient, to make a proper budget, and to keep the business going in general. A good way to put it was found in an article in allbusinessschools.com. It says that managerial accounting is “handling essentially all financial matters and thus helping to drive the business’s overall management and strategy.”
To be a management accountant you do not need to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). However, just like becoming a CPA is greatly encouraged, so is acquiring your CMA. This will tell employers that you are legitimately interested in and capable of being in charge financially. The CMA is scholastically close to the CPA, “but with greater focus on cost accounting, financial planning, and management issues” (allbusinessschools.com). Click here for more information on the CMA exam.
I am really looking forward to my career in accounting and I am happy to learn that there is such focus on managerial accounting in the real world!