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Five career tips for accounting graduates in Kenya

By Preston Maithya | July 2nd 2020

Are you an accounting graduate looking for career opportunities in the corporate world? Then this article is meant for you.

The successful completion of your course(s) is not the end of the journey. It’s the beginning. To make it in today’s highly competitive job market, you need relevant academic qualifications in your area of specialization. Still, you also require other skills that are not taught in school. This means you need to be both book-smart and street-smart. Being street-smart means, you have to know how to survive in the real world where competition and opportunities are few.

To acquire work-related skills such as interpersonal skills, the ability to work with various software, or a successful engagement of clients and other stakeholders, you need career experience where you get to learn on the job.

However, these days getting an internship, whether paid or unpaid, is not easy. Here are some tips that will enable you to have a relatively easy time once you’ve landed that dream job.

1. Register for computerized accounting classes

Unfortunately, in this era, almost all firms do not prepare their ledger accounts in or management accounts on paper as you are taught in college. Companies have digitized their accounting systems and use sophisticated software such as Sun, Oracle, MC, Turnquest, Sage-Pastel, and QuickBooks to process their accounting information. Very many graduates have challenges using such software since they first encounter them at the workplace

It’s therefore advisable to undergo training on financial applications early enough to avoid cluelessness in the office due to the inability to use the software you are working with.

2. Perfect on your MS Excel skills

MS Excel is the basic accounting application, and every accountant has to learn how to use it effectively. Most advanced accounting software are dependent on this application. Once you are done with basic computer training, look for Excel Expert handbooks or guides and learn how to set financial formulae, formatting of cells, rows, and columns as well as how to enter data and apply mathematical tools to give the desired results.

3. Learn how to write cheques

This is one crucial payment method that you will never learn in college, but you will often use it in the workplace to pay clients. You can accompany a relative or friend as they head to the bank and see how they write cheques. Ensure you know how to enter details of the payee and amount paid in words and figures. Research on cheque payment vouchers, folios, and how they are prepared and stored for future use as back-ups.

4. Familiarize yourself with iTax portal and know how to file tax returns

Taxation is an integral part of accounting and finance in every organization. Various taxes such as VAT, PAYE, Corporate tax, rental income tax, and withholding taxes have to be filed with government revenue collection authority before setting deadlines through the online iTax portal. The filing of taxes through the portal will be easy if you learn how to work with it in advance.


5. Learn about document filing

Bookkeeping, a sub-function of accounting, is all about keeping records of transactions mostly in hard copy files. You have to be a good bookkeeper for you to become a good accountant. Good knowledge on how to categorize, arrange documents neatly, and in chronological order in a file is vital in knowing how to store and retrieve accounting information when and as needed by the various users in the company.

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