How to Transition from College to a Member of the Workforce

by Courtney McLaughlin, CPA, Withum | June 30, 2020

The leap from being a college accounting student to a productive member of the workforce is a significant one; in fact, for most of us it is the moment we have been training for our whole lives. With this jump often comes a mixture of emotions such as the fear of the unknown and excitement for a new chapter of life (and of course a bigger paycheck!). Here are some basic tips I’ve learned to help make this leap’s landing as smooth as possible:

Ask Questions

Do not be afraid to ask questions. By asking questions, you show your managers that you care about increasing your knowledge base and better developing your skillset. Questions help to create conversations and discussions, which in turn allow you to learn from those with more experience and knowledge to share. If you ask a question and still feel lost after the response you received, ask for more clarification — we have all been there!


Communicate, communicate, communicate! There is no greater skill than that of communication — especially as someone who is new to the workforce. Although it may sometimes feel uncomfortable, you will find that the majority of challenges or dilemmas you face could most likely have been avoided if there was more communication. By creating a habit of communicating realistic timelines and project updates, you are setting you and your team up for success.

Embrace Your New Environment/Workplace

Experience and appreciate all that your new workplace has to offer! Get to know your new colleagues, eat lunch in the kitchen, and go to firm/work sponsored events. The more you enjoy the work you do and the company you work for, the more productive a team member you will become.

Enjoy this new and exciting journey you are beginning and welcome all of the lessons and growing pains it has to offer. Before you know it, you will be the person new members of your team come to for direction and guidance.

Courtney A. Teplitsky

Courtney A. Teplitsky

Courtney McLaughlin, CPA, is a senior tax accountant at Withum. She is a member of the NJCPA.

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