Looking to Accelerate Your Accounting Career? Start Here

Thinking about a career in accounting? Kick-start it with a scholarship from the American Institute of CPAs and Accountemps. We just named our 10 recipients for 2014-2015, and one, Jessica Huang, is from the Bay Area’s own Santa Clara University.

For those graduate and undergraduate accounting students looking to pursue their CPA license, the AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship gives recipients a nice prize of $2,500. The money is great, of course, but this might be even better: Scholarship recipients join the AICPA Legacy Scholars program, where they learn the ins and outs of the accounting profession. Members are teamed up with a mentor, who can provide guidance and answer all those questions that beginning accountants have about their careers. Needless to say, this is an invaluable asset to those looking for a step up in landing a job out of college and wondering how to navigate the work environment.

What do you need to do to be eligible for this scholarship? Two things:  First, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Second, complete at least 30 semester hours of college-level coursework, including six semester hours in accounting.

So, why should you worry about getting a head start on your accounting career now? After all, you may still have a couple of years before graduation. Well, according to the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half, accounting is hot. And the CPA is the most sought-after designation for accounting and finance roles. Students with demonstrated accounting skills and a desire to further their careers through certification are actively being recruited while still in college. Many have job offers well before graduation.

Here’s more good news: Starting salaries in the accounting field are expected to rise an average of 3.5 percent next year. A staff accountant with one to three years of experience is one of the top 10 positions in demand. And Bay Area employers are hiring. Jobs in the professional and business services sector, which includes accounting, are up 4.8 percent from last year.

The application deadline for the 2015-2016 AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship program is April 1, 2015. For more information about this and other scholarship programs offered to accounting students, visit aicpa.org/scholarships.