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    7 Key Factors to Finding the Right Accounting Job Opportunities
    The Vault

    7 Key Factors to Finding the Right Accounting Job Opportunities

    October 2023

    There’s more to an accounting job or internship search than simply typing “accounting job openings near me” in your browser. The search process allows you to size up potential firms to see if you two make a good match. The better the fit, the better functioning the employer-employee relationship will be, and the better the overall impact your employment will have on the company and clients.

    You want to be in harmony with management, co-workers, and the culture of the company you’ll be working for. To find the “Goldilocks-just right” sweet spot, take extra time during your employment search to get a feel for who you’re considering applying with. The more you mesh with company culture and characters, the happier and more successful you’ll be in your career.

    Below are the top seven factors to consider when searching and applying for work in accounting firms.

    1) Size

    A company’s size says a lot about the work and experience you can expect. All sizes and levels of accounting firms have some excellent and unique qualities about them. For example:

    • Large firms provide more benefits and perks, like matching contributions to your company-provided retirement plan. Your work is more likely to be specialized and routine.
    • Mid-sized firms give you a broader experience while maintaining a family feel. They provide you with small team support.
    • Small firms offer excellent one-on-one opportunities to work alongside seasoned professionals. The culture is typically like that of a close-knit family.

    Browse through a potential firm's website before applying. If you need help gauging the number of partners or anything about teams or directors on their site, reach out to the hiring manager or someone on the inside who can answer those questions for you.

    2) Location and Remote Work

    A stressful or expensive commute to and from work can have you showing up aggravated and resentful. You don't want to start your time with your new employer (and every day after, for that matter) on the wrong foot after a terrible trip to the office. Map out your ride to work to determine if the time and money are worth it to you.

    Look into the company's adoption (or lack thereof) of flexible work environments and compare it to your ideal working situation. Many of today's accounting duties can be done from home via the internet and cloud computing. Firms are adopting hybrid approaches where employees can work from home at times and from the office at others.

    For some, working from home may sound like a dream come true. For others, it might sound more like a prison sentence. Not only should you research whether or not you'd have the ability to work from home, but you must consider whether or not you'd like it.

    3) Pay

    Determining pay before applying and sitting for an interview can be challenging. Still, you can search the internet resources, such as Glassdoor, and social networks to see what information is available. You'll want an employer who compensates fairly based on your education, skills, and experience.

    4) Benefits

    As with location and remote work, you'll want to determine what benefits a firm offers and compare that with what you can and cannot stand to do without. Research their health insurance plans, wellness and PTO (paid time off) programs, and overtime perks.

    Do they prioritize and incentivize employee education by offering scholarships or educational training? Do they offer a retirement plan? How about a bonus system? How do they compensate for overtime?

    5) Interests

    Consider applying for jobs at firms that align with your special interests or hobbies. Are you into and especially knowledgeable about technology? Is your degree geared towards business or personal tax?

    Search out firms (even unconventional ones) that allow you to bring your unique talents and abilities to work. Add these passions and pastimes to your resume to really stand out in the applicant pool.

    6) Culture

    See what you can find out about a firm’s company culture. Many are so proud and passionate about theirs that they highlight it right on the company webpage. Look for a “company culture,” “our people,” “our history,” or “about us” section to learn more about them.

    Culture clues to watch for:

    • Employees– Do they have pictures of their employees? Does it look like a diverse group?
    • Work-life balance– Do they mention the importance of being present with family as much as work? Do they note flexible work schedules or telework? What are their hours of operation?
    • Socializing– Do they have pictures of or mention company get-togethers?
    • Community– Do they have pictures of or mention charitable causes and volunteer opportunities they promote?

    7) Clients

    Determine whether or not you'll be able to work directly with clients. Working directly with clients gives you breadth and depth of experience. You'll learn and grow as an accountant or finance professional. Plus, you'll increase your network, which benefits you when you're promoted within the firm or ready to branch out to new territories.

    “The More You Know…”

    Learning as much as possible about an accounting firm you hope to work for one day works in your favor. You can align your values and interests with theirs. Additionally, you can tailor your resume or application to reflect what you both value.

    Consider linking up with an employee of your potential employer's on LinkedIn. Send them a quick message asking about the size of the firm, the company culture, the software they use, or anything else you think is essential before applying.



    Researching an accounting firm you want to work for can help you align your values and interests with theirs. See the infographic for the top seven factors to consider when applying to accounting firms.7 Accounting Career Checklists Infographic

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