Choosing a career path is a major step and can feel quite overwhelming for some people. In order to stand out in today’s job market, you need to make sure you have a specialized set of skills that employers are looking for.
For those who want to establish a career in business management, a job as an accountant can be quite beneficial. A career in accountancy offers a stable job with a high pay scale, and there is always a high demand for accountants in the job market.
However, like any job, it comes with its own pros and cons. It’s important to understand the good and bad sides of opting for a job in this field before making your final decision. With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to figure out if becoming an accountant will be the right choice for you.
Skills Needed to Become an Accountant
Your specialized knowledge as an accountant can be used in a wide variety of fields, like tax or private equity. Good accountants have an eye for detail, numerical skills, the ability to manage time, analytical skills, and strong communication skills. They also have a good grasp of the laws of the state and how to apply them.
Studying For the Job
To obtain these skills, people often pursue an MBA accounting program to become a qualified Chartered Accountant. A degree in chartered accountancy prepares them for the sort of daily tasks they can expect as an accountant. This can include anything from analyzing the expenditure and revenue of a company to preparing reports, budgets, and forecasts with that data.
An MBA in accounting teaches the students how to identify where a company can save money and collate financial information and present it to the management. It instills the knowledge and confidence needed to provide the company with financial advice that can direct and regulate spending habits.
If you have a passion for the law and an aptitude for finance, you certainly will benefit from a career in tax accounting. This comes with a set of advantages.
Let’s look at a few.
1. Competitive Salaries
One of the main reasons people pursue this field is due to its stability and high pay. Entry-level jobs can earn you an average of $69,000 per year, while those with an MBA in Accounting report an average yearly salary of $91,000. Accounting is a lucrative career path for those that wish to live comfortably and support their families.
2. Job Market Demands
It’s always a smart idea to aim for a career in a job market where the hiring rate is higher. The job market has a significant demand for professional accountants, making this the perfect choice for ambitious candidates. Not only do you have several potential employers to choose from, but you also have room for upward growth over your career.
3. Work Where You Want
No matter the country, everyone has to pay taxes, which means there’s a need for tax accountants all over the globe. You can work in both the private and public sectors—and after completing your education, you’d be able to pick whichever city you want to settle down in freely, thanks to this sought-after position. Whether you want to live in upstate New York or the beaches of the West Coast, you’ll be able to find work as an accountant.
4. Creates Entrepreneurial Skills
A lot of people have the dream of being their own boss one day. A career in accounting certainly provides you with the chance to save enough capital to launch your own venture one day. It also gives you the needed skills to run your own firm. Moreover, while you’re working for another company, you would liaise with internal and external auditors. This is a chance to network and build connections in the industry for when you open your own accounting firm.
5. Become an expert in your niche
Accountancy has a wide umbrella of subcategories and if something interests you, then you can become an expert in your field. Take lease accounting for example, lease accounting has changed significantly in the past few years with new standards being implemented for both international and US-based accounting. ASC 842 is the new lease accounting standard for US GAAP. If you become an expert in lease accounting you’d give yourself an edge over more generic knowledge-based accountants. Focusing on a niche within accountancy will always benefit your career long-term.
No career is perfect, and there are a few downsides to being an accountant as well. You need to weigh both the pros and the cons before making your final decision.
1. Highly Stressful Work Environment
A career in accounting is not for the faint of heart. As you might be responsible for the finances of a company or private individuals, you have very little room for error. Any mistakes you make can lead to significant losses and can even result in legal trouble. You need to make sure you can handle the stress before you decide on this career path.
2. Constant Learning
The industry is constantly changing, and you might need to continue getting an education even after an MBA. Accountants have to obtain different certificates and qualifications after completing their primary education to remain competitive and move up the career ladder. It can take a lot of time and effort to obtain these credentials, but they can help you gain expertise.
3. Dull, Repetitive Work
While accountants can have stable jobs, the work is often perceived as boring by most people. Accountants tend to spend long hours sitting behind a desk and crunching numbers. This is fine if you’re already interested in math and investigative thinking, but it can be dull to others. You need to make sure you’re not looking for something glamorous or exciting from your day job if you choose a career in accounting.
4. Irregular Hours
Accounting comes with a busy season, which usually starts a few months before the end of the fiscal year. It can be quite hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance during this busy season. Most tax accountants work late into the evening and even on weekends to meet with clients during this time. This can not only affect social life but personal life as well. The long hours hunched over a computer can also lead to poor health.
Any job or degree comes with tradeoffs, and after reading this guide, you’d have a better idea of whether or not a career as an accountant is right for you. On the one hand, there is excellent pay and a booming job market, along with the chance to engage your legal and numerical skills; on the other hand, there is a high-stress work environment doing the sort of work most people might call boring.
Your lifestyle, priorities, and personality will determine whether this is the correct career path for you. If the pros outweigh the cons, in your opinion, you can start looking into MBA programs to get yourself started on this journey.