Are you looking for help figuring out how to become an accountant without a degree?
Accounting is an important financial tool that businesses use to track and report their income, expenses, and other financial activity. It provides critical information that businesses need to make informed decisions about their finances.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting is the traditional path to becoming an accountant, but it is possible to become an accountant without a degree.
While it’s true that it will be harder to enter the field without going to college, there are still plenty of well-paying accounting jobs you could land with a course certification from an online learning platform like LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare.
Here’s what you need to know about how to become an accountant without a degree.
What is an Accountant?
An accountant is someone who records, classifies, and summarizes financial transactions to provide information that is useful in making business decisions. There are many different types of accountants, but all share the same basic duties.
Bookkeepers, for example, record financial transactions and prepare financial statements. Payroll accountants process employee paychecks and calculate payroll taxes. Tax accountants prepare tax returns and advise businesses on tax planning strategies. Collections representatives work with businesses to collect outstanding payments.
To illustrate more specifically, say you’re an accountant in the HR department of an advertising agency. Your day-to-day duties would include recording employee time worked, calculating payroll taxes, and preparing paychecks based on that information. You may also work with the collections department to ensure that the agency is paid for the work it does for clients.
What Skills Do You Need to Become an Accountant?
The truth is that not everyone has what it takes to build a career as an accountant. There are some skills without which success in the field is slim. Here are the top skills you need to become an accountant even without a degree:
- Technical skills. Technical skills refer to the abilities like how to use accounting software to record and analyze financial data. The most popular accounting software programs are QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero, and Wave Accounting. To be successful in the field, you need to be able to use at least one of these programs. You also need to be proficient in Microsoft Excel. Excel is the go-to tool for financial analysis and reporting. bookkeepers, payroll accountants, and collections representatives all use Excel on a daily basis to perform their duties. A gift for mathematics is another essential technical skill for accountants. You need to be able to quickly and accurately perform calculations.
- Analytical skills. Analytical skills are important for all types of accountants. This refers to the ability to collect and analyze data, identify trends, and make recommendations based on your findings. For example, a bookkeeper may use analytical skills to identify discrepancies in financial records. A payroll accountant may use analytical skills to identify errors in payroll calculations. A collections representative may use analytical skills to develop a payment plan for a delinquent customer.
- Communication skills. Communication skills are important for all types of accountants. This refers to the ability to clearly and concisely communicate information, both verbally and in writing. For example, a bookkeeper may use communication skills to explain financial statements to a non-accounting manager whereas a payroll accountant may use communication skills to explain payroll tax regulations to an employee.
- Organizational skills. Organizational skills are important for all types of accountants. This refers to the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and deadlines and to prioritize accordingly. For example, a bookkeeper may use organizational skills to keep track of invoices and payments. A payroll accountant, on the other hand, may use organizational skills to keep track of employee timesheets and payroll deadlines.
- Interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are important for all types of accountants. This refers to the ability to interact with people in a professional and courteous manner. For example, a bookkeeper may use interpersonal skills to build relationships with clients. A payroll accountant may use interpersonal skills to resolve conflicts with employees. A collections representative may use interpersonal skills to negotiate payment plans with delinquent customers.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Accountant Without a Degree
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how you can become an accountant without a degree. Luckily, there are many paths to take. So here’s what to do if you don’t have an accounting degree but want to pursue a career in the field.
1. Consider Your Career Goals
The first step is to consider your career goals. Do you want to be a bookkeeper, payroll accountant, collections representative, or another type of accounting professional?
Each position has its own set of responsibilities, so you need to make sure you choose a position that aligns with your skills and interests. Once you’ve decided on a position, you can move on to the next step.
2. Look for Online Courses
Once you know what kind of accountant you want to be, you can start searching for online courses to enroll in. For instance, if you want to be a payroll accountant, a course in payroll administration would be beneficial.
There are many online courses available, so take your time to find one that’s right for you. Choose reputable learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare so you can learn from top instructors and universities all across the world.
Then, opt for online classes that offer certificates upon completion to make your resume stand out.
3. Get Experience
Once you’ve completed your course, it’s time to start looking for experience. Experience is important in the accounting field. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with experience, so it’s a good idea to start building your experience as soon as possible.
There are different ways to get experience in accounting. For instance, you can volunteer for a local non-profit organization. You can also do an internship with an accounting firm. Doing an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door and gain practical experience in the field.
If you’d rather not work for free, you can sign up for freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. There, you can find paid gigs that will help you build your experience.
4. Make a Website to Market Your Services
As an accountant, you need to market yourself, and having a website is a great way to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. So it’s important to make sure your website is up-to-date and includes plenty of details about your credentials and experience.
Your website should be well-organized and easy to navigate. Include a mix of text, images, and videos so potential employers can get a sense of your skills and experience.
You can set up your domain name and hosting with a provider like Squarespace or Bluehost and easily launch a WordPress site in just minutes without much technical experience required.
A Final Word on Becoming an Accountant without a Degree
Accountants are essential personnel in any organization as they help to manage the financial affairs of businesses.
Although a degree in accounting is not always required, it’s still a good idea to get some education and experience in the field. There are many ways to become an accountant without a degree.
You can start by taking online courses, interning, and freelancing.
With hard work and dedication, you can become an accountant without a degree. All you need is passion and determination. So get started today and take the first step towards becoming an accountant.
Do you have any questions on how to become an accountant without a degree? Let us know in the comments below!