Job Title: Accountant
Type of Company: I currently work for a small business that designs and sells signs to colleges, hospitals and assisted living centers.
Education: BS, Business Administration, Northeastern University
Previous Experience: Over the years I've been an accounting and payroll clerk, a bookkeeper, and an accountant and payroll administrator in several small- to medium-sized businesses.
Job Tasks: On a typical day I check emails, track orders, enter bills into QuickBooks and pay them, reconcile employee expense reports, invoice customers, make deposits, transfer money and dispose of a host of other mundane accounting tasks. Less often but still routinely, I reconcile bank statements, file sales & use tax returns and generate cash flow and earnings reports. I also am in charge of calling in payroll and tracking benefits (vacation pay, holiday pay and sick time) and adding people to our health insurance rolls and renewing health and liability insurance plans. And every year I work with our CPA to close the books and produce our tax returns.
I spend most of the day on the computer using QuickBooks, Excel and Word. I also have to run errands, going to the post office and the bank.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I mostly work at home and don't have to commute. Flexible hours are a part of the package -- so long as I get my work done and put in 25 - 30 hours per week. I like working for a small company because you get to see how everything's connected. And I like accounting in any case because it's very structured, and I like keeping track of money.
The worst part of my job is collections: going after the companies that have failed to pay their bills.
1.) Get a college degree in accounting.
2.) Try to get a work-study or part-time job while you're in college, to get experience and see if accounting's for you. This will also help you to decide what kind of company you might want to work in.
3.) Try to be dependable and pay attention to details.
Additional Thoughts: I cannot stress enough how important attention to detail is. It is what accountants do, in a way. But you also have to keep track of deadlines.
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