Soft Skills, Not Spreadsheets: Keys to a Successful Accounting Career

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Jerry Maginnis has over 40 years of experience in the accounting profession. In this episode, he shares his journey from college student to managing partner at KPMG, offering advice to young accountants on how to build a successful career. Jerry emphasizes the importance of soft skills like communication, empathy, and relationship-building, arguing that technical expertise alone is not enough. He shares how to navigate busy season without burning out, urging accountants to speak up about their personal commitments. Jerry also shares tips on expanding your business acumen, stressing the need to deeply understand a client’s strategy and industry. We also reflect on lessons learned, and why young accountants need to allocate time to networking and relationship-building earlier in their careers. Finally, Jerry weighs the pros and cons of different career paths, while emphasizing the need to find the right fit based on your personality and interests. Whether you’re a student or young professional, this episode offers indispensable guidance to maximize your career as an accountant.

  • (01:14) - Welcome Jerry Maginnis to the show
  • (02:36) - How Jerry got started in accounting
  • (05:04) - What inspired you to write this book?
  • (09:12) - What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see young professionals making early in their careers and how can they avoid those pitfalls?
  • (16:06) - What's the best way for a staff accountant to make the partners happy when it comes to busy season?
  • (18:27) - What is the difference between a great employee and an average one?
  • (20:27) - Why are soft skills so important for accountants these days?
  • (24:20) - When have you used soft skills in your career?
  • (30:21) - Honesty is the best policy
  • (33:50) - How important is business development to making partner and do I need to know how to golf?
  • (36:42) - How did you learn to bring in business for the firm?
  • (41:19) - What parts of accounting are in demand right now for college students?
  • (44:28) - How can students and professionals prepare for AI emerging into the workspace?
  • (50:46) - How would you advise a student on which career path to take out of college?
  • (56:57) - What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
  • (59:53) - How to Earn FREE CPE
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Connect with Our Guest

Jerry Maginnis


Read Jerry's book, Advice for a Successful Career in the Accounting Profession: How to Make Your Assets Greatly Exceed Your Liabilities:

Connect with Blake Oliver, CPA


Creators and Guests

Jerry Maginnis
Jerry Maginnis
Senior Advisor, Board Member, Audit Committee Chair and Author
Soft Skills, Not Spreadsheets: Keys to a Successful Accounting Career
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