I Have Despair About My Accounting Career, What Can I Do? (Reader Question)


From the mailbag:


I am currently feeling down about going into the field of accounting. I have a Bachelor’s in accounting & I’m almost finished with my Master’s. My undergrad GPA was really low & I pursued my Master’s to give me a better chance of landing an accounting job. I received my bachelor’s in 2009 and I just need advice on how to get out there.

I just turned 30 and haven’t worked in Accounting. I feel like my location (Southern Mississippi) isn’t the best place to be in the field that I’m pursuing. I plan on starting the process of taking the CPA exam this year, hoping that those credentials will boost my chances. I would just like to hear your advice and I’m eager to get started in my dream job.

I Iove accounting & just want to get my foot in the door.


Bean Countess

Despair. You can feel it when you read this post. It’s the same feeling I had after my first semester year in University. I had a 3.08 GPA, barely above 3.0. It was even worse when I saw my eventual $55K in student loans piling up. While I don’t find myself motivated day in and day out by fear today, I did when I was in college. I was afraid….

  • I wouldn’t have a job
  • Wouldn’t be able to pay back my student loans
  • Would I be able to make my rent?
  • What about when I need to buy a car?
  • How can I take care of a family one day?

All of these things ran through my head. I even remember the summer between freshmen and sophomore year. I applied for 10-15 summer jobs, didn’t get a single one. I used to walk to McDonalds on the corner by my house and scrounge my house for 4 quarters to buy a quarter pounder on the dollar menu. Seriously. When I got back to school that fall, I knew I never wanted to have another summer with no job, no money, and loans piling up. I said to myself:

Andrew: you need to get to work!

And that’s what I did.

Only 12 months later I had up to 4 jobs at any given time, I became a resident assistant, and joined Beta Alpha Psi running for Vice President in the first semester.

There are so many things you can do and you need to experiment with ALL of them. Being near the end of your masters, here is where I would start:

  • Look up your state CPA society and attend no less than 3 events before the end of the semester. Email local contacts and tell them you just want to attend a few events as  a shadowing experience. There are TONS of CPA firm partners and very few students. A great supply and demand scenario for someone like you.
  • Put together a list of at least 20 companies and reach out to them directly via email with a cover letter and resume. Use the templates and instructions I have here (free) or the full course “How To Get ANY Accounting Job In 3 Months Or Less” with resume and cover letter templates, and firm emails.
  • Get connected with your career center. Ask them to review your resume (still use my templates though. Career center often don’t know enough about accounting and the specific things recruiters are looking for) to get to know them. Tell them your story and get there advice. They’ll help you apply for open positions and help you on your job search.
  • Send you cover letter and resume to every new job posting that comes out in your area on Craig’s List. I’ve found this to be much more helpful than Career Builder or Monster.
  • Don’t worry about the CPA exam. Find a job, then apply for the CPA. At the entry level employers don’t expect you to have it. Having a great resume, cover letter, and action plan goes A LOT further than those three letters.

I’m not going to lie, you have a challenging situation. Your GPA is low and you should have started on all of this stuff two years ago in the middle of your undergrad.

But guess what? You are not a victim of your circumstances.

Every single day you have the chance to get it together and turn your life around. Is today that day? Are you going to read this and keep your plans for the weekend?

Or are you CANCELLING EVERYTHING and getting to work on this plan. By Tuesday, think of where you can be if you did everything I said above?

I’ll tell you the same thing I told myself: Time to get to work!

  • Myleen Villanueva-Acosta

    Don’t give up. I did not. I migrated here in the U.S. in 2007. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and one year experience from my home country Philippines. I struggled finding an accounting job since I got here. But I didn’t stop chasing my dream job. I started working for a casino as a banker in a black jack table. I worked night shift and pursued my master’s during my days off. Made it harder to find job. The recruiters said I’m under qualified because I don’t have local experience but over qualified because of my master’s. After a year of submitting my resume to hundreds of companies here in San Francisco, finally a start-up company that I found through Craigslist contacted me for an accounting job. My starting pay was pretty low and I embraced different tasks even outside accounting scope. After a year I caught miscalculation of our supplier from other country and saved my employer thousand of dollars. I worked for that company for three years and moved up up to supervisor level wherein I led three other accountants. Now I’m working for a biotech company as a staff accountant being expose to more challenging accounting tasks. They encourage me to get my CPA license and will reimburse 50% of the costs. I hope you will not give up like me. I believe that God has plans in his perfect timeline. Good luck!

    • http://www.thebeancounter.com TheBeanCountercom

      Congratulations Myleen! You story is very inspiring and that’s the way it worked in my case. Slow and steady persistence over years and years. Thank you for sharing!

  • George

    I’m an x heroin addict…I have a bunch of crazy things on my criminal record and I had a 3.0 after I went back to school when I was 22…I passed half of the cpa exam and kept working “temp” jobs to get experience and eventually somebody just gave me a chance…moral of the story is as long as giving up is not an option, eventually you’ll do it.

    • http://www.thebeancounter.com TheBeanCountercom

      George, thanks for sharing what a great story! If you’d like to share the full background, I’d considering posting it on the blog. Email me at andrew@thebeancounter.com

      • George

        I’ll be sure to do that Andrew! Though it’s busy season now, so it might take me a week or two to get to it.

        • http://www.thebeancounter.com TheBeanCountercom

          Still up for this if you are!