How to land your first accounting position

DURBAN – Finding employment after graduating can be tough, even in the financial sector. 

Zobuzwe Ngobese, executive for marketing and business development at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants, offers some pointers for candidates.

Join a professional body

Belonging to a professional body shows employers you’re serious about excelling in your accounting career. So seek out and join one that best matches your objectives.

Begin with a learnership

Although organisations desperately need accountants, they won’t entrust these positions to anyone unless they’re competent. You should, therefore, commit yourself to a learnership where you can gain practical experience to match your knowledge.

Build your online presence

Building a notable online presence will expose you to many potential employers. Focus on LinkedIn, the most popular social network for professionals, but never badger its users directly with requests for work. Rather, make it easy for them to learn about you at a glance with a comprehensive profile that lists all your relevant qualifications and achievements, and include a simple head-and-shoulders photo.


Networking is the best way to make contact with prospective employers. It provides you with the chance to strike up a face-to-face conversation and build rapport, familiarity and trust.

Develop your soft skills

Employers favour candidates with good soft skills, that is, abilities that allow them to perform efficiently and productively in co-operation with co-workers. These include respect, creativity, initiative, teamwork, critical thinking, numeracy, written and spoken communication, report writing and adaptability.

Think ahead

Finding your first position as an accountant can be difficult, but as you gain experience, future interviews become easier because you can demonstrate your track record. Even so, a professional designation will boost your marketability. It assures employers that you are a person of integrity, capable of meeting high standards.


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