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IT Career for Accountant

By RB_ITProfessional ·
Can anyone offer some suggestions on how an accountant can translate their experience into a career in IT? I have a colleague who is exploring this idea and would love some feedback. Their background is 7-10 years in accounting, experience with Sarbanes Oxley. On the IT side of things, they've served as Business Subject Matter expert in new systems development and upgrade projects for accounting systems. They've done requirements gathering and some light PM work.

Any thoughts on potential job titles that would allow them to utilize their accounting expertise in an IT setting?

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Good business basis..

by Matthew Moran In reply to IT Career for Accountant

I have long maintained that great IT folks have come from the accounting side of things. The programmer I tutored/mentored under back in the '80s was an accountant who developed an auditing application for an insurance company. He was uniquely qualified to create the application with functionality and usability for the intended audience.

Additionally, many tend to be highly analytical, furthering their ability to move into a programming or at least protyping career.

I might recommend that he learn to develop some VBA based applications in his current role. The learning curve is relatively quick and there are probably needs at almost any company. I work with controllers and accounting professionals to create MS Office based applications that read and report on data in corporate database systems. There is an entire industry there.

Good luck.

Matthew Moran
The IT Career Builder's Toolkit

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Same Situation

by FirstPeter In reply to IT Career for Accountant

I have a friend of mine that was in the same situation. He was actually Finance (NOT the same as accounting, but along the same general vein) and dabbled in IT.

He made himself valuable by understanding the systems and becoming an analyst (informally), if you will, telling the system folks what was needed in the new system to meet requirements. Because he was part of the "end user" group and understood enough IT to be useful to the IT developers he became the de facto SME for everything his group did that involved systems.

Ultimately he translated that experience (despite not having an official IT title) into a move to an Oracle DBA.

My recommendation to your friend would be to capitalize on and stress what he's learned from SOX and the new systems development/upgrade. Position him/herself as having the experience from both a basic technical and, more importantly, a BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE (I think Mr. Moran mentioned this, as well) and I think he/she will find more doors open up.

Doors into IT, from my experience, have been fairly closed in the past for non-IT types, but as soon as the minds of IT discovered that they're part of a BUSINESS (it took some longer than others) they started looking for folks that had technical knowledge but were able to see things from a whole business perspective.

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Business Analysis And Project Management

by joetechsupport In reply to IT Career for Accountant

Two "Non-technical" Suggestions, Business Analysis and Project Management.

Business Analysis has more to do with IT. This is a role where one brokers between the Programmers/Developers and the Business Users regarding the creation, use and modifcation of computer business applications. So, the users would say to you "We'd like to see a 'date' field in 'Program X'" and you would go talk to the programmers.

Project Management is a timeline based idea and includes fiscal principals that you will know. It can be very challenging and duties vary widely depending where you practice it. There are expensive and inexpensive certifications for it.

The "Official" Project Manager as I understand it, you can look it up, follows:

Is responsible for implementing on a scheduled time and budget a certain project. This means they have to schedule time for people to work on the project, negotiate with their supervisors for that time, and everything that entails. This is a challenging position.

A more common scenario is Project managers become "task-responsible" for groups and teams like a supervisor or team leader, where a supervisor or team leader already exists. THe Business Analyst mentioned earlier will talk to you the project manager who will allocate time to your resources (people). The other Supervisors and team leaders will be involved with your resources (people) for HR issues and duties such as technical support if applicable.

Can't it take less than ten people for an IT department to screw in a lightbulb :)?

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Another vote for software development

by stress junkie In reply to IT Career for Accountant

The software development industry has been plagued since its beginning with the problem that the software developer has ideally had to master two disciplines. The first discipline is software development. The second discipline is the area that their product is supposed to address. Ever since I began in this industry it was clear to me that it was critical to develop two areas of expertise or to have a team of people, each with one skill set, work as a team to develop a software product. Accounting has always been my "perfect example" because it is so complicated that few software developers would be masters of business accounting techniques. On the other hand software development is also very complicated if you want to develop a high quality product.

So your friend has already mastered business accounting. The next trick is to master software development. That route seems to me to be the best way to capitalize on the existing accounting skills while entering the IT industry.

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Business Analyst / Tester

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to IT Career for Accountant

There's a lot of firms who do accountancy softare, they love to employ customers so they can sell the right stuff.
Once you get the foot in the door, especially if it's own of the big boys, you have the chance to get into other rooms

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