Accountants help organizations make sure financial statements are accurate, complete and in line with regulatory guidelines. If you're an accountant, thinking about your short-term goals can help you further your career and improve your productivity. As of 2010, accountants earned an average salary ranging from $35,554 to $51,475,according to online job resource PayScale.
Attend Training Sessions
Attending training sessions helps accountants familiarize themselves with important developments affecting the occupation. For example, trainees may learn about new regulatory guidelines from government agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. If you're an accountant, sift through your company's general training schedule to identify the specific curriculum for the next three or six months. Select topics that relate to your current work stream, interests and experience. For example, if you work for a manufacturing company, pick topics covering cost accounting and budgeting. Likewise, select topics such as premium accounting and financial reporting if you work for an insurance company. You also may attend industry events, such as seminars that professional organizations sponsor. Look out for seminars and conferences that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) -- among others -- sponsors on a regular basis.
Seek a Professional Designation
Professional designations carry prestige in the occupation. An accountant who holds a professional certification has demonstrated acumen in various fields ranging from financial reporting to auditing. The most recognized credentials include certified public accountant (CPA) and certified management accountant (CMA). The Association for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business -- formerly known as the Institute of Management Accountants -- administers the CMA credential. The AICPA administers the CPA exam on behalf of states, but the licensing process remains the responsibility of state officials. Eligibility criteria for professional certification varies by state, so contact your state officials for further information. Most states and professional organizations require that candidates possess a college degree, have practical experience and abide by ethical guidelines.
Further Your Education
More education never hurts. As an accountant, it may be useful to consider expanding your intellectual horizons in the short term, such as in six, nine, 12 or 18 months. If you currently possess a bachelor's degree, seeking a master's degree could be valuable. Consider majors that relate to your current job but not necessarily accounting or bookkeeping. You may choose major such as finance, investment analysis or auditing.
Familiarize Yourself with Technology
In modern economies, state-of-the-art technology plays a central role in accounting processes. Consequently, accountants polish their skills and acumen with the tools of the trade. If you're an accountant, knowing tools such as database management system software can help improve your productivity. Other programs you might want to learn include credit adjudication and lending management system software, or CALMS; accounts receivable and payable management software; project management applications; financial accounting, analysis and reporting software, also called FAARS; and information retrieval or search software.
Marquis Codjia is a New York-based freelance writer, investor and banker. He has authored articles since 2000, covering topics such as politics, technology and business. A certified public accountant and certified financial manager, Codjia received a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, majoring in investment analysis and financial management.