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Developing accounting skills for new career

Posted by Pattie Hunt Sinacole  November 25, 2013 09:01 AM

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Q: I would like to launch a new career in accounting, focusing on AP and AR (accounts payable/accounts receivable). Aside from on-the-job learning, where can one enroll for affordable training in basic bookkeeping and accounting?

A: Congratulations on making a choice to launch a new career in the field of accounting. Almost all businesses, regardless of size, require accounting services.

To better respond to your question, I consulted Jim Elgart, CPA of MarathonCFO, a consulting firm focused on delivering accounting and bookkeeping services to a wide range of businesses.

Elgart offered: "To begin a career in accounting, it would be really helpful to learn the accounting basics by either taking an entry-level accounting class online or in person at a local college, or using free web resources like Kahn Academy. You might also consider the learning resources and certification program offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (www.aipb.org). Once you have a basic understanding of the accounting cycle, you should enroll in QuickBooks Proadvisor program and take their online classes that lead to QuickBooks certification. QuickBooks is the most popular software for small businesses, so basic accounting and bookkeeping knowledge combined with a good understanding of the software will have you ready to begin working effectively in A/R and A/P."

Most accounting roles require some math aptitude as well as basic computer skills. Most A/R and A/P tasks are automated and are done online using bookkeeping software.

For more information about bookkeeping and accounting roles, visit this link
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm. This link will provide you information on the work environment, expected pay, job outlook and some useful links for this occupation.


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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.

Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.

Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.

Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.

Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.

Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.

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