Transitioning from studying accounting to practicing it can be challenging. Meeting colleagues, navigating a workplace, and acclimating to a professional environment typically is stressful. Here are some tips on preparing for your first year as an accountant to make the transition easier.

5 Tips For Your First Year as A CPA!

1. Develop Your Soft Skills

Develop your soft skills such as communication, leadership ability, and business acumen. For instance, make eye contact, offer a strong handshake, and hold a professional conversation with interviewers, coworkers, and executives. You can practice by participating in mock interviews at campus career services and receiving immediate feedback and support. As you progress in your career, you will need to build influence throughout the company, communicate with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, and serve as a business partner.

2. Continue Learning

Always be looking for opportunities to learn. For instance, immerse yourself in finding out about company culture and procedures to better understand and live by the organization’s values and beliefs. Also, get to know colleagues and learn computer systems as you acclimate to a full-time job. Additionally, ask questions to clarify your understanding of what you are learning. Further, stay informed on news, trends, and changes in the industry by following accounting blogs, subscribing to professional publications, or participating in professional groups.

3. Navigate the Busy Season

Prepare yourself for the busy season. This could be seasonal, around month, quarter or year ends or projects. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you, actively listen to team updates, and implement feedback to improve your performance. Also, outline your daily and weekly goals, schedule time with colleagues to work on tasks and projects, and ask for advice from seasoned colleagues on how to stay productive and positive while navigating daily operations and expectations. Additionally, take a five-minute break every hour to walk around, clear your head, and refocus.

4. Prepare for Certification

Begin preparing for your Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) exam or designation or other certification. Because you already are in the habit of studying, the sooner you begin preparing, the easier it will be. For instance, purchase your study materials and let your family and friends know you are committed this next step.  Also, map out a study calendar to reach your daily goals. Break down the chapters and sections into smaller parts to make studying more manageable and the exam less daunting.

5. Practice Self-Care

Make taking care of yourself a top priority. For instance, eat fruits and vegetables to maintain energy throughout the day. Also, drink lots of water and monitor your caffeine intake to stay hydrated. Additionally, take breaks throughout the day, including a walk outside, to clear your head and stretch your legs. Further, exercise for an hour each day to build muscle and improve circulation.

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