For first-year accountants, there will be long days during busy season, but this also is an incredible learning experience. Pay close attention to workplace norms and culture, and you’ll make your mark as a reliable, knowledgeable team member.
Many industry veterans say this also is the time to earn your CPA credential. Nuts? Probably, but with the right study aids, you can do it. The CPA gives your plans a lift that makes your first year in accounting the runway to your dream career.
Here are seven CPE tips for success in continuing education for accounting and finance professionals.
1: Navigate busy season
You’ve heard about it, and now it’s here – busy season. Know that you will work evenings and weekends, and you will be exhausted. Hopefully, your employer offers helpful perks, such as catered meals or work-from-home options, but in the end, survival depends on you.
Take steps to manage stress and ensure a proper work-life balance. Discipline yourself to take full-hour lunch breaks, eat right, hydrate, walk away from the desk hourly and stick to your scheduled workouts. Don’t be tempted to chuck everything healthy because you will perform at 100 % when your mind is sharp, and your body is properly fueled.
Be sure to plan a vacation for post-busy season for a well-earned break and motivation to get through the long days and nights.
2: Use your time wisely
Social media is a life essential, but as you transition into a professional setting, remember that technology is a tool. Don’t let it lure you away, physically or mentally, from the job. Put limits on social activity and social media time, especially during the busy season and if your job involves hourly billing.
Surgent’s live webinars, which unpacks the latest industry updates, is a great way to stay connected to key news and information without the risk of being lured into unproductive social media. It’s vital to establish specific times during the workday for checking Instagram posts or texts from friends.
While you’re at it, learn from colleagues how to leverage social media for networking and accessing industry news and updates. Your career will get a boost from the contacts and tips, and your networking acquaintances could turn into genuine friends.
3: Study for the CPA Exam
Now comes the question: When should I go for my CPA? After all, the CPA is your ticket to career advancement and higher pay. Short-term sacrifices will deliver long-term benefits.
Many young accountants earn the CPA credential early in their careers, even if it means doing the tightrope walk of studying for an intensive exam while getting used to a new job. The time is now because you’re still in a studying mindset, and employers want to see you striving.
A study plan and rigid adherence to a calendar help you build your competence until the day you’re ready to take that first test. The top-rated Surgent CPA Review course lightens the load, with help in creating a personalized study plan and maximizing the knowledge you already have to lessen study time, ensure that you pass the exam and maintain a work-life balance.
4: Set goals and track your progress
As with all growth and education, it’s important for you to set measurable goals for your continuing professional education and track your success toward achieving them. Establish your CPE goal and break it down into attainable work efforts based on your work schedule, non-work activities and goals, and other commitments.
Establish the number of study hours you aim to complete this year and make sure the plan is designed to meet your minimum CPE requirements. Next, break down that commitment into weekly efforts.
With your goals in place, be sure to make a habit of tracking your progress. This can be done with a journal or notepad, or by using any type of spreadsheet or productivity tracker app.
5: Use technology to your advantage
With a busy schedule and the flurry of new information to retain and understand, it’s important to utilize technology in your continuing education journey.
Whether it’s via cloud-based note-taking, an app to track your progress, or a course that utilizes technology in the learning experience, technology can offer benefits to your continuing education.
Surgent offers more than 1,500 CPE webinars each year, including a full library of self-study courses, seminars and accounting exam prep programs for several core credentials and certifications. Our exam prep programs use industry-leading adaptive technology to make sure you’re maximizing your study time and gets you ready to earn your credential faster than any other provider on the market.
6: Find a way to focus
In the hyper-connected, reactive world we live in, finding a way to focus might be the biggest determinant for success in continuing education.
When it’s time to study, create a study environment. Taking this step will put you in the proper mindset to study well. Your environment should be comfortable enough to study for the amount of time you’ve set as your goal and should be free from all distractions. So, enable the do-not-disturb function on your smartphone and make sure all other distractions are avoidable.
Remember to take regular breaks to keep you focused while also revitalizing your energy to get the most out of your study sessions.
7: Immerse yourself in content
Stay up-to-date and in the know within the industry by consuming content – even when you’re not actively studying or preparing for an exam. The level of knowledge you can gain via industry podcasts or media will only add to your knowledge set.
Some of the best accounting podcasts include Accounting Best Practices with Steve Bragg, which covers essential information on accounting technology, controls, financing, payroll and more. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Podcast is perfect for students seeking study and exam support. Other great podcast resources include THRIVEal and the Cloud Accounting Podcast.
Additionally, CPAs can use websites like Accounting Today and Journal of Accountancy to stay informed.
Benefits of CPE courses with Surgent
Surgent is a leading provider of continuing professional education solutions for accounting and financial professionals. With more than 1,500 CPE webinars, an extensive library of self-study courses, customized in-firm seminars and training, and exam prep programs, Surgent provides reliable and engaging educational resources.
Here are some other benefits of Surgent’s courses:
- Timely content. Our team of industry experts is dedicated to publishing fast and accurate content releases, helping your staff have access to the latest and most relevant information.
- All-in-one courses. Empower your team with immediate, practical application of what they have learned with comprehensive all-in-one course offerings.
- Monthly webinar series. Our webinars provide a great opportunity for your staff to learn the latest industry trends and topics relevant to your business.
- Live webinars. Get classroom-level engagement in a convenient online experience.
- Self-study. Supporting materials like downloadable PDFs and on-demand webcasts make it easy for your associates to get the most out of their study time.
Ready to achieve CPE success?
No matter where you are in your continuing education journey, there are ways to achieve your goals.
With the right CPE solution and adherence to our CPE tips for success, you’ll be able to navigate the challenges of continuing education amidst a busy workload and other commitments.
With more than 1,500 CPE webinars, Surgent’s platform can help you achieve your continuing education goals. Pair Surgent’s superior solution with our CPE tips and you’ll be well on your way to success in your continuing professional education journey.