Like many individuals out there with a computer and below the age of death, I have an account on Facebook. On Facebook one can join any discussion forums and either contribute or lurk. I contribute, for the most part. I tend to contribute the most to the CGA/Accounting forums.

Seems people are impressed with either my knowledge or my accounting background (I’m a CGA – Certified General Accountant). Lately I have been getting either friend requests or private emails in Facebook – usually looking for advice. It’s flattering, and yet it makes me anxious.

I am not a career counsellor. I am worried that whatever “guidance” I may give these individuals may hurt them down the road – career-wise or within their own personal lives.  All I can do is share whatever experiences I have had with the CGA Programme of Studies and what my experiences were with regards to fitting it into my mundane social life and work life. In no way shape or form can my experiences be considered indicative of what one can expect from pursuing an accounting designation/certification; each individual is different and their experiences highly coloured by their view on life.

What I can say is there are certain “elements” or “characteristics” that one should probably possess if they want to succeed in accountantcy:

  • patience – it takes time to complete reconciliations, work out pending issues with tax authorities, deal with non-accounting types within an office setting
  • detail oriented
  • be able to see the larger picture and yet pay attention to the details
  • no rushing through the work, everything has a certain set of steps required for successful completion of any task
  • an innante understanding of numbers
  • get fucking comfortable with Excel – it will be both your friend or enemy, depending on your spreadsheet competence
  • remember at all times that there are stakeholders involved in whatever transaction you are performing
  • a simple rule, which works with regards to audits (financial, internal, procedural, SOx) is the phrase “cover your ass” – always document everything. In today’s theoretic paperless society accountantcy is one area in which paper is still highly used. Document everything, to cover your ass.