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How to get an accounting job with no experience in 6 steps

Three people sitting around a table with a woman handing a man a piece of paper.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

Landing your first accounting job is intimidating, especially when you don’t have any experience in the field yet. But every accountant needs to start somewhere! 

As someone who recruits accounting and finance professionals, here’s my advice on how to get an accounting job with no experience to help you launch your career. 

How to get started in accounting with no experience 

1. Earn a bachelor's degree.

The first step to becoming an accountant is to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited college or university. You can expect to take classes in areas such as:

  • Financial accounting.
  • Cost and managerial accounting.
  • Accounting information systems.
  • Taxation.
  • Auditing.

A bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours.

2. Complete an internship.

If you’re wondering how to get accounting experience before you land a full-time job, consider completing an accounting internship while in college. 

Internships provide valuable hands-on experience that helps you improve your skills and increase your knowledge. As an accounting intern, you'll learn about: 

  • The daily operations of an accounting department.
  • Industry-specific software.
  • The workflow of different accounting processes.

If you can, I recommend doing more than one internship to diversify your experience and help you stand out to potential employers.

3. Network with other professionals.

Building a robust professional network is an important part of landing a job in any industry, including accounting.

Networking not only helps you learn about potential job openings but also allows you to gain insights from experienced professionals.

You can network with professionals by:

4. Research companies.

Before applying for accounting jobs, take the time to research potential employers. This will not only help you target the right companies but also enable you to tailor your resume to align with each company's specific expectations.

Check out each company’s website and social media channels to review their:

  • Values.
  • Culture.
  • Benefits.
  • Career opportunities.

5. Apply for entry-level accounting positions.

Once you find companies you’d like to work for, it’s time to start applying for entry-level accounting positions. This could include roles like:

  • A corporate accountant.
  • A financial analyst.
  • A tax analyst.

If you don’t want to get a bachelor’s degree, you can start in an entry-level role that doesn’t require post-secondary education. This could include roles like:

  • An accounts payable representative.
  • An accounts receivable representative.
  • A credit specialist.

6. Get additional certifications.

After one year of work experience in the field, you can further your career by obtaining a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. This certification can significantly increase your career prospects and allow you to advance into more experienced roles, like an accountant lead or finance manager. 

Before you take the CPA exam, you’ll need to meet state-specific requirements, such as taking 30 additional credit hours. 

Discover accounting jobs for recent college grads.

Learn more about what types of entry-level roles you can pursue with an accounting degree to see which one may be a good fit for you. 
About the author
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Valerie Klimek has been a part of the Corporate Recruiting team at Schneider since 2005 and is currently a Senior Corporate Recruiter. She has supported many areas including Sales, Operations, Finance and Human Resources, as well staffing multiple start-ups. Val has been active in creating content for social media, trialing new technology, processing improvement pilots and mentoring others.

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