8 Tips to Becoming a Superstar Accounting Temp

A Robert Half staffing professional explains the benefits of temp work to a young accountant

If you're working for a company as a temporary professional, don't ever think of yourself as "just a temp." Skilled accounting temps are in a great position to advance their careers, learn new skills, master different work settings and make valuable contacts.

Such positions are a great opportunity to shine. Here are eight tips to follow to help you stand out:

1. Do your homework. Before arriving in a new workplace, accounting temps should study up on the company they'll be working for. Learn about the organization's key business segments, how the company is structured, and who its leaders and competition are. Also find out ahead of time which accounting methods, IT systems and software the firm uses, and you'll be prepared to jump in on your first day.

2. Dress the part. Businesses expect accounting temps to dress in accordance with the office culture. Ask about the company's dress code, and, if you're invited in for an interview before your start date, observe what people are wearing. Make sure you don't underdress, and always ensure that your attire is clean and appropriate for the workplace.

3. Observe etiquette basics. Be on the lookout for ways you can go the extra mile to help a coworker. And observe the new rules of tech etiquette by setting your cell phone to vibrate and resisting the urge to check Facebook every few moments.

4. Take the role seriously. Temporary assignments are no longer just for low-level jobs. Accounting temps and other contingent professionals now make up a growing part of the workforce, and many occupy high-level, well-paid posts. If you pursue each temporary assignment with the same professionalism you'd show in a full-time job, more career opportunities will open up to you. Treat every assignment with respect, even if you're asked to work on projects that may not seem very exciting or prove frustrating, like producing the weekly status report or logging last-minute journal entries from a new division.

5. Network. Positive workplace relationships can be invaluable. Coworkers who like and trust you will help you on the job if you need it, and they may let you know when full-time positions crop up. They might even recommend you for those jobs. But choose your friends carefully — you don't want to align yourself with the office malcontent, for example, or someone whose accounting know-how is suspect.

6. Be a problem-solver. Once you've been on an assignment for a while, try to be proactive on the job. Where do you see opportunities to help the firm save money or increase efficiencies? When managers are contemplating renewing your contract or thinking about turning your role into a full-time position, they'll consider your ability to solve issues independently.

7. Never stop learning. Just taking a temporary assignment can be a learning experience. But make sure you're also taking advantage of any training opportunities your staffing agency offers to accounting temps. These resources can help you stay on top of changes in the industry and allow you to develop skills that will help you in the job market. Through courses and e-training, you might learn about new accounting software, emerging regulations, project management and other business topics.

8. Keep a good attitude. Do everything with a smile on your face. That — along with your work ethic, your accounting knowledge and your willingness to go the extra mile — will help you shine as a superstar among accounting temps.

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