Speaking the language of business is critical for future accountants. Being able to hold a conversation about more than accounting figures may be even more important.
All of you come from different backgrounds and hold different points of reference about business. Some of you may have grown up in a small business and wish to follow in your family’s footsteps. Others may wish to be or help entrepreneurs. Whatever your reason, as a future accountant, you will develop skills and knowledge that people are willing to pay good money to employ.
The more you bridge the gap between accounting and business, the more doors will be opened for your career. A good way to start is by building your experience, knowledge, and vocabulary regarding the business world while in school. It will make an immense difference when networking with professionals and during interviews.
Building up your experience and knowledge of the business world could take many forms, from a passive approach to a very regimented and active approach. For example, a busy person may take the passive approach of listening to one of the several Bloomberg Business radio programs on Tunein.com or through XM radio while in the car. A more formal approach might be to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and flip through it daily, subscribe to Barron’s and read it weekly, or lookup the regional business journal monthly in the school library. Regardless of how you get business news, the important part is to start!
Exposing yourself to real-world information and thinking about it on a regular basis will give you a better perspective. You will find this exposure will expand into other connected areas such as current business world events and the economic standing of various industries. Also, during this process you will find yourself merely glancing over some articles and focusing on others, which is a good way to discover what industries appeal to you.
After a relatively short-time, probably several weeks to a few months, you will become more comfortable with what is discussed and even start to see trends in the information. Being able to reference this information will give you a strong point of reference when talking about the business world. Ultimately, this type of perspective is key when working with business leaders who will expect you to have a measure of knowledge about them, your client.
After all, your employer is paying for what’s between your ears – make sure the right stuff is in there.