We all have things we wished we knew before setting out on a new path. For me, the one that stands out most is not knowing Spanish before I moved to Spain.

What makes it worse is that I could have studied Spanish at school and at least have had the basics mastered before I arrived. But the real kicker is that the language I chose to study instead was French.

French. I didn’t, and still don’t, have any intention of ever going to France or speaking French ever.

But let’s stay on topic here. The point I’m getting at is that it always pays to be in the know before make any major life change. And so, whether you’re fresh out of university or are just taking a change of direction, you should take full advantage of the following four things we believe everyone starting a career in accountancy should know.

1. Know where you want to work

Accountants are always in demand. And so one of the great things about the job is that, when just starting a career in accountancy, you can be flexible about where you would like to live and work.

Whether you want to stay in your hometown, move to a big city, or even switch countries, these are all important things to consider for the longevity of the career and also your personal growth. For instance, by working in a city with a healthy and growing market, you put yourself in an opportunistic position for developing your own practice in the future.

2. Know it’s going to be tough

The profession is no doubt a fruitful and fulfilling one, but anyone starting a career in accountancy should know that it isn’t that way from the very moment you set out.

Chances are in your first few years you won’t be on earning a six figure salary and mingling with high-profile clients, but taking orders and toiling away late into the evenings. This is not something that should put you off, rather, it’s a message about keeping your expectations in check and being realistic about the gradual process of development.

3. Know it’s different to uni, but the same

For the first part of our careers, we rely on good grades to get us where we need to. But as soon as you enter the working world, top marks and gold stars will only get you so far.

Alongside performing well, there’s also the small matter of getting along with your colleagues, pleasing your boss and clients, and in general dealing with office bureaucracy and politics. The good thing is that the whole office environment is a lot like the school classroom, or better yet, the playground.

The bossy kid, the class clown, and the one that keeps quiet in the corner — you’ll find them all. Most notably, though, you’ll see your boss isn’t some big bag charcuterie like seen on tele, but a normal person too — even a kid (at least at heart).

4. Know that you won’t know

There’s going to be things you don’t know when starting out in any new job. But when starting a career in accountancy, you can expect this point, at least at times, to be taken to the extreme.

It’s one of the reasons people get into the field; the immense challenge of dealing with huge financial accounts and helping people improve the efficiency of their businesses is a real thrill. But it also means that, at times, you will be overwhelmed, and you will be frustrated. The key is to remember that without this, accountancy wouldn’t be so stimulating and attractive in the first place.