13 tips for starting a new accounting job

Tomorrow marks your first day on a new job and at a new company. You’re probably feeling nervous, which is perfectly normal. After all, in your first month at your new job, you not only need to rapidly learn the ropes, you also have to ensure you make the right first impression.

To set yourself up for success and help you create a positive impression with your boss and colleagues, follow these 13 tips for starting a new accounting job. 

1. Dress and Play the Part  

When you were interviewed, you most likely put some thought into choosing the right attire and gained insight into the company’s dress code as well. Use this insight to dress for success. If you still haven’t cracked the office dress code, stay conservative and aim for smarts. You only get one chance to make a strong and positive first impression.

2. The Induction Process Matters

Be sure you embrace the induction program by showing genuine interest, asking lots of questions, and completing all training exercises. 

Typically during this process, a lot of information is shared with you, and you may come to feel overwhelmed. If this happens, breaking the information down into smaller chunks and taking notes to refer to later will make mountains of differences.

Nobody expects a new employee to be up to speed on day one, but your boss will expect to see you trying your hardest to understand how things are done from the beginning.

3. Set Achievable Goals

Hopefully the induction process will allow you to set goals for the next 30/60/90 days. If it doesn’t, be proactive and ask your manager if you can have a meeting to implement a plan for the next few weeks. Having a plan for your first 30 days in your new job will allow you to understand what is expected of you and what will set you up for success.  

4. Fine-tune Your 60-Second Elevator Pitch

In your first 30 days, you will be introduced to many new people who will undeniably ask to know a little more about you. Make sure you have prepared a compelling 60-second elevator pitch” about yourself and your professional background that makes your colleagues know you are both enthusiastic about joining the company and fit for your new role.

5. Steer Clear of Gossip

Office gossip often knows how to find its way around the office, and is usually hard to avoid. Do your best not to get caught up in it. Remain uninterested and unbiased. If anyone were to engage you in a non-professional conversation about another colleague, try to dodge the conversation by switching subjects.

6. Be Yourself

Being on your best behaviour doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be yourself. Part of getting to know people and having them get to know you is letting them see and experience your true character. So, be yourself, but be “on” all the time. 

7. Showcase Adaptability and Open-Mindedness

When you start a new accounting job at a new company, expect everything to be different from your previous organization. Getting used to internal systems and office procedures takes time.

Embrace the changes and don’t try to go back to doing things the way you used to at your old company, even if that seems easier. Be flexible and keep an open-mind in relation to your new environment, ask a lot of questions, and you’ll see that in just a matter of time, you’ll be settled in.

8. Set-Up Priorities

The number of things you need to learn/achieve when starting a new position can feel overwhelming. Revisiting the goals you set with your manager, checking the timeline for when you should have completed a project, or training and prioritizing accordingly are essential in keeping your eye on the ball and your mind in the game.

9. Don’t Challenge How Things Are Done 

Your first month should be focused on learning the ropes of your new role; it’s definitely not the time to start challenging why things are done a certain way.

You might not agree with some processes, however, use the first 30 days in your new job to observe and understand how everything runs. Before you can question how the company operates, you will need to work on gaining the trust and confidence of your manager and colleagues.

10. Be a Team Player

Showing how passionate you are about your new company and your new role is a great way to earn your coworker’s respect. Identify the needs of your team and help where you can to demonstrate you’re a team player.

11. Get to Know Your Manager

In your first 30 days on the job, make some time to get to know your manager and their leadership style. You can’t make their life easier if you don’t understand their approach to business and how they fundamentally operate.

To get going, find out what they need from you, and how you should deliver it. Do they prefer updates delivered via spreadsheets or PowerPoint slides?  Do they want information shared during team meetings, individual status updates, or via email?

Getting to know your boss and their preferences will help you provide the information they need, the way they need it. And who doesn’t like that?

12. ID Opportunities for Quick Wins

Identifying opportunities within the organization where you can quickly make an impact will help you make a strong and lasting first impression and justify yourself as the right hire for the job.

13. Rely on Your Outside-of-Work Support System

Experiencing highs and lows during your first month on a new job is not only normal, it should be expected. You may feel like there’s just too much to learn. You may make mistakes and even lose confidence. Having friends and family to support you during this transition period will help you keep everything in perspective so you can continue to stay focused on your long-term career goals.

Starting a new job is a challenging transition. You will never be more lost and uninformed than on your first 30 days; but on the other hand, you will be making lasting first impressions on your colleagues and your manager from the very start.

Do what others in your position do and find the balance. Be yourself, but bring your “A” game. Stay calm, observe, and ask a lot of questions. Finally, understand the big picture and tap into the culture.


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