Every career has pros and cons, good points and bad points, highs and lows. If you are considering a career in accounting, here are some common ideas about an accounting career that often lead people to think accounting might not be the right career for them.
Accounting jobs are mundane. Every day is the same as the day before. Nothing every changes. It’s the just the same stuff, different day.
In my 35 plus years in the accounting profession, I can say with certainty that no two days have ever been the same.
The business world is constantly changing and businesses need to adapt quickly to stay competitive and meet new challenges and opportunities.
At the core of those changes is the finances of the company.
- How can we increase production and stay profitable?
- Do we need to decrease our workforce after an economic setback?
- Why are sales increasing and profit decreasing?
These are all questions that can only be answered with good financial data.
Accounting jobs are demanding.
Yes, they are. Accounting is deadline-based–month end closes, tax returns, payroll. It runs on a tight (predictable) schedule.
Add to that the vital information needed by owners and management to ensure accurate and appropriate business decisions. Someone will always need something from the accounting department.
But if you compare the demands of accounting to other jobs, accounting looks like a cake walk. (Think nursing, teaching, and firefighting.)
Accounting jobs are stressful.
Sometimes accounting can be stressful. Again, deadlines and demands.
This was very evident during the worst of the pandemic where businesses faced great uncertainty and massive shifts in markets.
But again, compared to other positions, the stress of accounting jobs pales in comparison.
It’s been my experience that the most stressful accounting jobs are those that come with bad bosses and chaotic working environments. That’s true for any job.
Accounting jobs are boring.
When you’ve been an accountant for as long as I have, the most longed-for kind of day is a boring one. A day when you can get caught up on all the tasks that have fallen by the wayside while you were dealing with some new initiative or some new crisis or some new change. Boring days are rare.
Accounting jobs are tedious.
There are undeniably parts of any job that are tedious.
Most of the tedium in accounting can be removed with smart automation. Data entry is the most tedious part of accounting, but advances in accounting and productivity software is taking away most of the mind-numbing data entry tasks.
This means we can more quickly get to using the information gathered through the accounting process to build stronger businesses and organizations.
Accounting jobs require long hours.
Some accounting jobs do require long hours.
But one of the great things about accounting is that every business, every non-profit, every government needs accounting.
This means you have flexibility to choose a path that works for you. If you need a flexible schedule or set hours or certain times off, you can find opportunities that work for you. (This is my favorite part of an accounting career.)
Accounting jobs will be automated out of existence.
Part of accounting jobs will be automated out of existence–the tedious data entry types of work. Good riddance!
But financial skills and knowledge? These are needed now more than every.
Accounting is a knowledge profession.
The more you know the more value you bring to the market. The more value you offer, the more valuable you become. The more valuable you are the more your compensation increases.
Accounting is hard.
The basics of accounting aren’t hard. The interpretation of data can be challenging. The decision-making can be hard. The researching of complex accounting treatments can be confusing.
But the basics of accounting haven’t changed since the 1400s. Once you learn the basics, everything else is just one more skill built on top of that foundation.
I always tell my college students, “Learning accounting is much harder than doing accounting.”
Accounting education never ends.
True. And it should be that way. Accounting is a profession, not a job. Ongoing education is critical.
Keeping up with tax law changes, software updates, and business changes and trends are all important.
I’ve seen quite a number of accountants fade out because they didn’t want to learn new software. They have to turn away business because they don’t know how to use a software program. Don’t be an accounting dinosaur. (Sorry, Terrance.)
Every career has its upside and downside. If you’d like to explore the reasons accounting is a good career, check out this article:
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