Is the role of senior accountant right for you?

  • career advice
  • April 28, 2017
Say you’re an accounting professional with a few years’ experience. You have had a year or two stint in public accounting. Now what? Maybe you’re ready to move up to a more strategic, managerial role as a senior accountant.

Professionals in this finance and accounting hot job play a vital role in the day-to-day operation of any company, from analyzing financial data to handling budget preparations. Candidates for senior accountant positions should possess excellent communication, technology, organizational and analytical skills.

Typical duties, which vary by practice area, may include preparing financial statements, reconciling sub-ledger to general ledger account balances, assessing internal controls, including risk assessments and reviews of risk areas, assisting in the design and preparation of budgets for review by management, maintaining and reconciling fixed assets schedules and supervising accounting staff.

Education

Companies hiring senior accountants generally look for at least three years' experience, along with a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance, according to Ivonne Simon, practice director at Randstad Professionals in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Accreditations such as certified public accountant (CPA) or certified management accountant (CMA) are also preferred.

“The bottom line is that we look at education. Employers want a degree from a reputable university. A degree in accounting or finance is a must. Are you going for your master’s degree or CPA? That shows drive and determination.”
-Ivonne Simon, Randstad Professionals practice director
Accountants with a CPA credential hold a significant advantage in the marketplace, according to Simon. These professionals typically earn more and receive multiple offers in this employment market.

“If you're in a public accounting firm, you’re on a great career path. It's smart for staff accountants to move into public accounting. Then, once you’re in, earn a CPA. Getting the CPA opens more doors. You are only going to go further in your accounting career with that credential. Employers see these candidates and say, ‘They must be solid if they put in the time and did the training, especially at a Big Four firm.’ They are top caliber accountants.”

High Demand

Another reason to set your sights on a senior accounting role is that with right qualifications, you can pick and choose the right opportunity. Employment experts say that demand for senior accountants is extremely high — in both corporate settings and public accounting firms. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the nationwide jobless rate for accounting professionals overall was a mere 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

If you're looking for a new opportunity, this is a great time to find a rewarding senior accounting position with an equally rewarding salary. It’s also a great time if you're a general accountant looking to step up to a more senior role in your company. Right now is right time to be out there — it’s a fabulous market.
 
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