Find out How to become the best accountant in the AI era in this article…
Now, it is true that the era of AI (artificial intelligence) has disrupted many jobs- and accounting and finance professionals are among those affected.
That is because AI can do a good percentage of what accounting and finance guys have been doing traditionally.
But does it mean that there will be no jobs for you when you finish your CPA or Finance degree?
And if it is not the end, what can you do to secure a slot in the highly competitive finance world (It is worth noting that finance had been changing for some time even before AI thanks to technology – read software that was increasingly becoming intelligent).
In this article, I will be sharing with you three simple but golden tips that can help you get ahead of the competition, and still get a job in spite of AI (and other technologies)
Please read it to the end because it could end up changing your career (and life)
How to become the best accountant or finance professional in the crazy digital era
In summary, there are three actions I want you to try.
Here they are:
- Be tech-savvy
- Take initiative (own your destiny)
- Stay hungry
We shall dive right into the first one..
Be tech savvy
Guys, guys,…..technology has been here for a long time now…and now it has become even more advanced.
So you have no choice but to love technology (after all, they say love is a beautiful thing)..
This is what I mean:
You can do no worse than having some above average competence in the popular accounting programs(apps).
Nearly everybody (I mean every potential employer) is using one of these apps in their businesses.
The question is: How do you expect to be recruited for positions that need skills that you do not have?
Let me ask you:
If you want a shoe repaired, do you go to a tailor?
Not at all…
What about when you want your Laptop repaired? Do you go to the guy who sells you mandazi (for breakfast) in the morning?
Again no…you look for a skilled laptop repairperson..
So, why should somebody hire you when he needs SAP ERP skills yet you do not even have a basic computer packages certificate?
Probably you cannot even use Google office suite!
Tell me, my friend..
It simply doesn’t make sense!
So, get skills in the damn accounting software.
ERP Knowledge is important too
I even do not want you to stop there….I want you to go further and even learn one or two ERP (Entreprise Resource Planning) systems
Let me explain what an ERP is..
According to Investopedia, Enterprise resource planning(ERP) is a computer software that companies use not just for accounting…it is more advanced and will help manage other key operational areas including inventory, human resources, manufacturing, procurement(supply chain), and more.
In short, an ERP automates everything in the business (every business process).
The issue is, the biggest companies (Nation Media, Safaricom, Universities –including your University- , Big Hospitals, Five star Hotels, and the like) have gone beyond accounting software and are using ERP software such as SAP and Dynamics NAV so you won’t get a chance there if you don’t have skills in using this software.
I’m not even done..
I actually urge you to go one more step ahead and learn other important ICT skills to support your course (remember we are trying to create our own luck)
And these are:
Basic cyber security
Information security is now a big headache for most businesses so anybody who has the know-how to protect their data will have a better chance of getting shortlisted (and ultimately landing the job)
Information system auditing skills
Everything as we had mentioned is being done by a computer system so auditing has also changed and now there are firms that employ an Information Systems Auditor.
Data analytics skills /Data science
In the past, the market used to demand people who were good at advanced modelling (and forecasting). And now?
You guessed it right…out with the old (the Data Modeler using Microsoft Excel) and in with the new(the Data Analyst.
Remember the work of the data analyst is to crunch the numbers and give meaning to everything…
In other words, the managerial reports are useless until someone interprets them for the senior managers.
And that explains why data science is one of the most in-demand professions today.
So, why not take a short Data Analytics Course and add it to your CV? If I were you, I would definitely give it a shot (again the market out there is as competitive as crazy so you need to take steps that can put you ahead of the competition)
I should add that when I look around, Data Science certification goes well with a degree in Statistics, Mathematics, Financial Economics, Computer Science, or any other related quantitative field(including Bachelor’s degree in many business areas).
By the way, guys with a data science qualification are in huge demand right now..
Let us now summarize what I want you to consider learning when it comes to boosting your CV with marketable ICT skills:
Digital literacy courses
I’d recommend ICDL (Read about it here) though a basic Computer Packages certificate should be okay.
Google Office (Google Workspace) certification
This exam verifies your proficiency in key Google Workspace tools including Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Google Meet, Forms, and Slides. Take it here.
- Zoho Books
Do not forget that having good skills in accounting software such as Zoho Books and Xero can open doors even to Remote Book-keeping/Finance jobs offered by Companies in Europe and the USA…and the pay is pretty!
Look for these courses in Online Schools like Alison and Udemy and study.
Introduction to SAP– Free course by Alison
Free SAP Tutorial– By Udemy
Microsoft Dynamics nav
Basic cyber security
Free Cyber Security Basics Course (with cert) – By SimpliLearn
Information system auditing skills
Data analytics skills /Data science
- Certified Forensic Fraud Examiner course
- Diploma in Data Management & Analytics
Do all these by the time you’re completing your degree course.
QUICK TIP: Attend KRA’s tax education days/events and learn how to use iTax (to file different taxes) …these are free and you could become a tax expert from these forums.
We now proceed to thing-to-do number 2
How to become the best accountant continued
#2- Take initiative (own your destiny)
Now, the hard work comes after you have completed your Bachelors/CPA.
And I have seen many students like you make the blunder of lacking a plan of how to get their first job after school.
The main problem?
They leave it to destiny..
We want to do things differently and take the initiative (be responsible)….take things into our own hands.
Hear this my Brother/Sister:
You will not get a job without hustling for it..unless you’re extremely lucky.
Put another way, it is upon you to carefully craft a strategy that will help you get that much-needed job once you’re out of the University gate.
The first thing you must not do is stay idle..because you could easily get into bad things once idle (and you may even end up going back to the village if you become desperate)
So here is my proposed strategy for you..
📣 Hey there! Are you looking for the best courses, top colleges and universities, career guidance, and exciting scholarship opportunities in Kenya? Look no further! Join our Facebook page to stay up-to-date with all the latest information and insights on these topics.
So Please follow Kenya Education Guide on Facebook here for more updates about best courses in Kenya, best colleges and Universities in Kenya, Career choice options, Scholarships in Kenya, etc
Now proceed reading below..👇
#1- Get an internship (better still, get into a graduate trainee program)
Get busy is the word ..forget about the money for now.
So comb everywhere for internship opportunities …tell them I want to help (and I don’t need to be paid)
You can check:
- Audit firms in your town, Nairobi, and everywhere else
- Consulting firms in your town, Nairobi, and everywhere else
- Insurance companies
- Real estate firms
- Colleges and Universities
- Large distributors and importation firms
- Manufacturing companies
- Big hotels
- Hospitals including private ones
- Forwarding and clearing firms
Above all, make sure you give your all during the internship.. internship is your first job interview, take it seriously (make sure you shine)..they could hire you.
The other alternative is applying to a Graduate Trainee Programme..and that can even be way better because you’re trained for between 1-2 years and then get employed (if you prove yourself in the role you’re assigned)
Google “Graduate Trainee Programme” and try your luck (when they open for applications)
I cannot emphasize this enough: Do not be after money at this juncture…what you need is skills at the moment so take up the internship/training even if they won’t pay you a dime (later you can make loads of money from these skills).
And, of course, it is a golden opportunity for you to start making useful connections (professional connections)
Which brings me to the next vital step as part of your strategy to get your dream job…
#2- Hustle for connections (Network)
Connections are gold….yeah…
More often than not, it is people who have connections that will get the best jobs and before their peers.
Sadly, you cannot buy connections from a supermarket…
So you got to hustle for them.
Which is why networking is your most powerful weapon.
To simplify things, you must put yourself out there (your internship/training programme is still going on) where you’ll meet industry leaders.
- Finance directors and their assistants
- Chief finance officers and their deputies
- Chief accountants and their assistants
- Finance managers and their deputies
- Finance controllers and their assistants
- Head of accounts and their deputies
- Chief operating officers
- Chief executive officers and their deputies
- Human resource directors and their assistants
- Recruiters – from recruiting firms like Corporate Staffing, Brighter Monday, etc.
- ICPAK officials
You want to meet them hoping that an opportunity will arise to say hi…and that is where you will mention that you’re an intern/trainee at Firm X and you’ll soon be looking for some meaningful engagement
I know it is hard but you have no choice…you want that job so badly you’re ready to go to the who is who in the industry..these are the people who make hiring decisions so getting known to them could unlock jobs in very prestigious places.
Question, where do you start?
This is what I have been doing personally..
I usually research where these people spend their time and make a point of going exactly there.
I suggest you join/go to these places/forums/clubs because you’re likely to meet these super important leaders:
- Accounting clubs/groups in your town
- Online Accounting clubs/groups ..search on FB, Telegram, Whatsapp, etc
- ToastMasters International (Search for Toastmasters local Chapter)- This is a public speaking training organization and many leaders often join their meetings (the meetings are quite affordable)
- Chamber of Commerce Meetings– these bring together businesspeople, meaning they can be a fertile hunting ground (request a chance to speak about Finance Act, Tax, Budgeting, etc.)
- Local fitness clubs – join jogging/walking clubs ..you’ll certainly find some of them here especially on weekends. You may discover that he/she is the patron of the local football team so join as a Fan
- Conferences and conventions including Online meetups for finance professionals ..you might attend the local celebrations for the World Accountants Day (you can even be the organizer and make rounds inviting those big guys)
- ICPAK and other related professional associations meetings- you can offer to help in some way e.g. in registering and welcoming the guests (you never know who you might meet)
- Religious conventions– Go there once in a while and make it a habit to strike small talk with the kings.
- LinkedIn– By the way, if you don’t have your Professional profile on LinkedIn, you’re getting late. Have your profile there (indicate you’re looking for new opportunities) and upload a dummy resume.
- Participate in competitions where your skills may apply…for example, I once participated in a nationwide entrepreneurship competition during which I made very helpful connections.
Join volunteering events such as Hospice Walks, Gertrudes Children Hospital’s Annual Cancer Charity Walk…just keep an eye on the news ..you will note so many charity events happening every other month…
Good social skills are key here so go read the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie (it’s a masterpiece when it comes to great social skills)
#3- Brand Yourself (Shouting Helps)
This is all about letting every Tom, Dick, and Harry know that we are now fully-qualified accounting/finance professionals hoping that someone out there in the crowd that hears about us might know someone who knows someone in need of a professional accounting/finance person.
In a nutshell, you cannot afford to lie low (there’s no Cheza Chini when searching for opportunities) so put yourself out there and tell and show people you can help them manage their money, sort their taxation, understand their financial statements, and such.
I told you of one gentleman who has gotten 3 well-paying jobs by just being out there on social media discussing Public Finance.
Trust me: You could be the next if you do the following..
Build your brand..
Create separate social media platforms (from your personal ones) and call yourself JohnTHEACCOUNTANT, MaryTHEAUDITOR, AndrewYOURTAXGUY, YvonneTHEBUDGETINGEXPERT..you know, get creative.
And be sure to publish a professional photo there.
And start displaying your deep knowledge through publishing insightful content that is relevant to your audience (your investment is Time and Data bundles)
You might even open a YOUTUBE channel where you’ll be speaking about matters Finance..
Work hard to attract followers and be consistent in posting. Appear and act professionally too.
You gotta be Daring!
And yes, keep showing people what you can do…how you can solve their problems (tax, audit, management, etc.)
You may even register a Business Name, print a Business Card, and start approaching businesses offering to help in book-keeping, tax computation, VAT filing, and the like..
You could stumble on a desperate business needing your services.
Networking is the weapon that will unlock the most hard-to-reach opportunities
How to become the best accountant continued
#3- Stay Hungry
Keep pushing the glass ceiling..
You are perhaps destined for more, for the biggest jobs, for the highest position so why go into your comfort zone and settle for less?
This is another issue I see with newly employed graduates….they’re too fast to relax and to stop looking which means they end up playing in the small league with a meagre salary for too long only to wake up when it is too late to change their situation.
Take it from me:
The easiest way of earning a promotion (and getting a good salary) is job-hopping..
I know it is very annoying for employers when people keep jumping from one job to the next (and leaving your company) but it is the truth..it is very hard to be promoted meaningfully and to be paid super well if you overstay in the same company.
Therefore, keep applying for new jobs(Continue hustling each day).
Keep enrolling in relevant short courses – and even take a Masters after about 2 years
Keep setting higher goals and setting deadlines for yourself, you should always be reaching for something higher than your current situation– by the way, do you have a Career Plan?
Open your own firm at some point- that is where you’ll be paid best and realize your full potential.
How to become the best accountant -Other important tips
Take the CPA– Of course, you need to pursue KASNEB’s CPA Certification at some point because literary every employer wants you to have the CPA (Note that you can only join ICPAK if you have a CPA qualification)…So register for CPA and start learning.
Be adaptable– if something is not working, change it.
Stay away from negative people– if you hang out with pessimists, you won’t go far.
Ensure you’re observing Work-Life balance – create time for leisure, family, friends, exercise (manage your time) lest life becomes too boring.
How to become the best accountant -Final words
Take action- the most important thing is to take action my friend. It doesn’t matter how hard it sounds..
Just start actualizing what we have discussed above and I’m very sure that you’ll be successful.
Needless to say, you might need to speak to your parents/sponsor because you will require their support to achieve all the above.
Make them understand and everything will be easy..
After all, our parents always want the best for us.
Reach me via 0797532345 or firstname.lastname@example.org