You’ve got an offer, and won’t start until next September. Is there anything you can do to get prepared for the first job? Honing your Excel skills is one idea.
First of all, if you mentioned that you are “pretty good” in Excel at the interview, and want to live up to your team’s standard, make sure you are familiar with the following functions before starting:
You probably won’t have to create them right off the start, but you should know how they work and how to modify existing ones.
It is best to learn Excel with practical examples. For example, do you have a spreadsheet where you track your bank account, maybe with budgetary categories? If so, try to find ways to extract and use data.
Here are some exercise to work on:
After playing around with different functions in your personal spreadsheet, you can move on to more challenging work. Try looking for an excel project to do, then figure out how to do it. There are lots of projects on the Internet, such as monthly budget and variance analysis templates.
If you get stuck, there are tons of Youtube tutorials on Excel for accounting. The following video is comprehensive but very long. You can easily google for shorter versions.
If you spend a couple of weeks working on Step 1 and 2, you are better than 95% of your class. Keep up with the great work by learning on the job.
Some seniors are helpful and friendly but others may not, so you can’t rely on them 100%. You can instead study the prior year work papers, with all the formula and data for your easy reference.
Another tip: If you feel like something is taking too long, there is definitely a faster way. Ask your bull-pen mate, or do a quick Google search and you will find something golden.
For current accountants and auditors, what advice can you give to first-years? Would love to hear from you.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!