If you want to pursue an accounting career and are wondering about whether you can become an accountant without a degree, the good news is that various options are available for aspiring accountants.
Accounting jobs continue to be among the top employment opportunities in the industry. Fortunately, for jobs such as auditing, bookkeeping and clerical work, a degree is not a mandatory requirement.
While many people may perceive accounting as a complicated career that requires several years of studying, in reality you do not have to attain a degree in order to become a qualified accountant. There are alternative resources that can help you acquire the skills you need for the job.
Becoming an Accountant without a Degree
Accounting is a field that many people want to participate in because of how diverse it is. Working in this sector enables individuals to find opportunities in areas like banks, businesses, government and more.
Although several accountants have credentials such as Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), other paths like financial planning or administrating the payroll are possible without obtaining a university degree.
Therefore, if you seek a new accounting career without post-secondary training, it is advisable to try and become an auditing or accounting clerk or being a bookkeeper. When applying for jobs, you may come across potential employers who include a degree in their list of requirements. However, this should not discourage you as long as you have relevant knowledge and skills.
If you are not comfortable with applying for jobs that expect candidates to have a degree, you can focus on postings that emphasise on experience and performance which you can obtain through self-education.
Tip 1: Find Accounting Jobs that do not require Degrees
Accounting clerks, auditing clerks and bookkeepers are among the professions that you can pursue with a high school education and apprenticeship. You will require basic math and computer skills along with being detail-oriented and trustworthy.
Bookkeepers are responsible for tasks such as keeping the accounts of the organisation. Similarly, accounting clerks play a key role in matching invoices to purchase orders or vouchers but often work within larger organisations that deal with certain areas of accounting. On the other hand, auditing clerks are expected to go through accounts to ensure accuracy while reporting and rectifying errors.
Administrative assistants do not need accounting degrees but a background or some work experience in accounting can be an added advantage. This job usually requires you to assist a bookkeeper with duties such as producing reports and billing clients. You need to be able to demonstrate Microsoft Office proficiency particularly Microsoft Excel, which is why it is important to polish up your computing skills.
A payroll administrator’s role focuses on employees and processing the information that is necessary for giving them their paychecks. This involves keeping records that cover aspects such as working hours, vacations, contracts and benefits.
Financial planners help their clients gain insight into their finances by creating goals and providing the resources that are required for accomplishing them. This requires you to evaluate your client’s financial situation and come up with a plan that will improve their circumstances. As much as 42% of businesses seek advice from accountants.
Working in collections does not require an accounting degree. This job involves contacting customers who have pending bills and setting up payment plans with them. If you specialise in collections you may be expected to work during unconventional hours as well as to keep in touch with customers via phone calls.
The working experience you get in these types of jobs helps you become an outstanding candidate when you compete for accountant positions. If you are not planning to get an accounting degree and you enjoy math, picking a career that enables you to handle various accounting tasks without a degree is a viable option.
Tip 2: Demonstrate Your Job Proficiency and Accounting Skills
Accounting consists of a wide range of roles in different working environments that accommodate a variety of industry interests and backgrounds. To work effectively in accounting, it is essential to have a clear comprehension of standard formulas, calculations and numbers. But also having industry knowledge in a particular field can set you apart from others who have degrees in accounting.
Another crucial factor is maintaining a strong organisational skill to your work that will keep you focused. If you are not organised, you may mix up items such as invoices and statements that look similar.
Any experience that pertains to accounting or finance software, detail-oriented tasks or examples of what you have been able to achieve can be useful when you apply for an accountant position. In general, most accounting software operate the same way, so practicing using one will allow you to be prepared for the job. WaveApp is a free to use accounting software which I recommend trying out specially for someone that has never used an accounting software before.
It is also a good idea to include any accounting-related conferences or seminars that you have attended in your resume. This is the type of experience that can make you stand out from other candidates and grab a potential employer’s attention.
Tip 3: Grow your Career
Throughout your career, taking post-secondary courses that cover the basics of accounting software, spreadsheets, accounting and bookkeeping will help to boost your career progression chances. You can complete these courses within a few months. A company may make the decision to continue training you once you are hired. This is typically classified as an apprenticeship that aims to enhance your set of skills. It usually involves working closely with an experienced colleague or a supervisor.
It is possible for a bookkeeper to move on to the next level of their career as an accountant without a degree. This is because the experience a bookkeeper gains during their work showcases their ability to perform accounting tasks.
Accounting and finance provides a worthwhile opportunity for you to enjoy a career that is stable and fulfilling. More employers are looking for candidates who are highly motivated and skilled enough to join their companies. You do not have to allow your lack of a degree to prevent you from pursuing an enriching career in accounting.
Tip 4: Take Control of your Education
Being proactive on learning about accounting can equip you with the information you need to understand an organisation’s finances as well as develop. Regardless of what your level of experience may be, opportunities are available for anyone who is ready and willing to improve their finance and accounting knowledge and take their career to the next level.
You can learn accounting in different ways, including through online resources such as classes and books that give you access to abundant information. Dedicate enough time to finding out as much as you can about the basics before going deeper into areas that you are interested in specialising in.
Include learning in your daily routine. Open up a textbook or log into your favourite finance site whenever you can to make gradual progress towards your goals. While studying formulas and principles of accounting, remember that the objective is to gain knowledge that is applicable in real life, not memorising equations and being theoretical.
It is important to note that accounting is an ongoing process that requires you to keep on using your knowledge in practical ways. With sufficient practice, you will be able to determine where you can apply your knowledge within an organisation.
With advancements in technology and the wide range of information we have access to, it has become much easier for everyone to learn and develop their careers without degrees. An accountancy career lets you choose from various areas and you can take different routes to reach your destination.
Unlike in the past when educational resources were limited, now you can acquire all the practical skills that are necessary for a successful accounting career by clicking a button. While a degree provides theoretical knowledge, positions such as bookkeeping are available whether or not you have this qualification.
You do not have to go to university to learn the basics. There are many options you can choose from, these include free and affordable alternatives that will update you on everything from ledgers to balance sheets without you ever setting a foot on college grounds.
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