How to Become an Accountant Later in Life

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Changing careers can be exciting yet challenging. With hard work, some creativity, and a desire to hit the books, becoming an accountant later in life is certainly an attainable goal. To make a late-in-life career change you should first take stock of your experience to see what additional education you require, and how your past experience and skill set can be applicable to the field of accounting. Once you have this figured out, it is time to revamp your resume, consider getting certified, and start looking for work.

  • Review course requirements to be eligible for enrollment in two- and four-year college programs. Many accounting programs require coursework in certain math classes. Complete pre-requisite coursework to be eligible for a degree program in accounting.

  • Complete an accounting degree program or a certificate program. Which one makes the most sense for you will depend on your educational background and career experience. Certificate programs in accounting are generally ideal for those professionals who have backgrounds in banking, finance, or other areas where crunching numbers for a living is required.

  • Revamp your resume to highlight any qualifications that make you attractive as an accountant candidate. Accountant positions require a strong attention to detail, be deadline oriented, and be good with math and numbers.

  • Sit for a professional certification in accounting. Accounting-related certifications are Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CII). You must complete accounting coursework prior to sitting for any of these three exams.

  • Look for hybrid opportunities. This is where you use your current expertise to help you segue into what you want to do down the road. For instance, if your have an IT background, consider looking for an IT position within an accounting group to get your foot in the door.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you hold a job it may be hard or simply not financially feasible to quit work to take courses. Consider enrolling in an online program or a night program that can work with your schedule to complete your accounting education.
  • Many companies use computer software to read your resume before it is ever seen by an actual person. To get your resume gets past the computer screening process make sure it is filled with accounting keywords. Examples are as follows: accounts receivable, billing, collections,and balance sheet.

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