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How do I obtain some kind of experience as an accountant/bookkeeper/payroll until I get my degree?


Angel Estrella Austin, TX

When I served in the Army my job (MOS) was an Accountant/Auditor for Ammunition known as, Ammunition Stock Control and Accounting Specialist. I dealt with financial accounts with for each military company, was instructed to train the lower enlisted as well as Non Commission Officers (Supervisors/Managers) how to do the job. Back in 2004-2010 we only used Excel and military software for our accounting software, so I have no experience with any other accounting software. I kept track of each customers accounts and ensure they were accurate and filed properly. My current position is a Central Issue Facility (CIF) Material Handler for the United States Property and Fiscal Office. I help the Property Book Officer maintain an accurate up-to-date property book, by

17 March 2019 4 replies Education & Training



Patrick E Alcorn Arlington, TX

Stop learning...start doing. You never do anything or have anything unless you do it now! Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Do it now! Get to your resume with real world projects...volunteer...start your own business...whatever. Just do it now!


Scott Gagnon Winthrop, MA

My employer - Navisite. Manages a service specifically to assist veterans transitioning into the job market. They have many resources in all states to assist. Please look here. I hope you find everything you seek.

Scott G


James OBrien Williamsburg, VA

Angel I have a few thoughts for you. Your time is likely not so available but I suggest that you offer to do financial or accounting work as a volunteer at a church or civic organization. This accomplishes two things. First it gives you some rudimentary experience to put on a resume. Second this puts you in a position to ask around the organization and people they know to get some other contacts and/or experience.
You don't say anything about any degrees or designations so its hard for a company to hire you for accounting/finance without them in this field. A way to work this is also to look at getting an unpaid internship at local businesses that over time could be valuable especially in tandem with the pursuit of a degree.
Also please think about Jennifer's first question, what do you want to do ? Your latest MOS might be something that you can pivot to either inventory control or warehouse/materials management. These positions might be easier to start in but you need that long term perspective to help your career management. Where do you want to be in 5 yrs, 10 yrs, etc. If you have a while before transition then you should focus on this.
Good luck and thank you for your service.


Jennifer Polhemus Santa Monica, CA

What is your ultimate goal?
Are you thinking of working as a bookkeeper or payroll accountant when you transition, or ....?

You can teach yourself QuickBooks (the most popular program for sm business) using tools such as (I just found this at random, and cannot attest to its quality) & your own Google skills to locate tutorials.

Also, using Quicken for your personal finances will help you.

In terms of payroll acctg for larger companies, those that do not use ADP (or another vendor) would likely want to train you on their own system. Be forewarned, this type of entry level work is low-paying.

Another idea: If you are stationed near a community college, sign up for an acctg class (or take one online). Even if you do not want to apply the course do a degree, do take a course that is transferable to a 4-yr university, to ensure that the content is rigorous. These courses are often 5 units (in other words, a lot of work) but you will learn a lot.

Best wishes!

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