Is a Career In Accounting Right For You?

posted by Chris Valentine

accountantBecoming an accountant or pursuing another role in the field of finance can be a solid career choice for individuals from a variety of backgrounds. With steady job growth and fair compensation rates, many are enticed by the rewards inherent to this stable industry. However, accounting isn’t for everyone. Ask yourself the following questions and determine whether a career in accounting is the best choice for your skill set and aspirations.

What Kind of Work Environment Are You Looking For?

Are you looking to work in a small business, with a few specific clients? Perhaps you’re on the search for a corporate job in a large industry. The beauty of a career in accounting is that you can find either of these (and anything in between the two choices). There are a variety of career paths you can take, which lead to numerous work environments. You may work in the private sector for an individual firm, or encounter numerous clients with a role in public accounting. From auditing to wealth management, there’s no limit to the career options for those that hold accounting degrees. To help you with your research, you can check online job boards where the roles and responsibilities of vacant positions are often stated.

Can You Handle Stress Well?

Accounting roles can present stress in a variety of ways. With tough deadlines, important tasks that can place a heavy load of responsibility on your shoulders, and long hours, accounting isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a competitive field, and you’ll often find yourself needing to push harder and work longer in order to keep up with your colleagues and industry peers. If you’re up for the challenge, accounting can offer wonderful benefits and rewards for your hard work and dedication.

Are You Technology Savvy?

Being great with numbers doesn’t cut it anymore in the accounting industry. With the rise of advanced accounting software, most companies are looking to hire accountants with technology experience. You’ll need to be able to adapt to new technologies, and utilize your accounting background in conjunction with various types of software preferred by different industries and companies.

Are You Comfortable With Working More than 40 Hours a Week?

Accounting, especially for those in the public sector, is a career that can require you to put in far more than the usual 40 hours typical of a 9 to 5 job. Accounting can be cyclical; there may be times throughout the year that you’ll be spending upwards of 80 hours in the office. This can represent a challenge for many of those that seek a 50-50 work-life balance. As you attempt to advance, you’ll find yourself putting in hours to study for certification exams and the like, which can add a huge amount of work and study hours to already heavy weeks.

Are You Looking for a Career That Offers Advancement Opportunities?

Many that enter the accounting field hope to go on to become a CPA, or Certified Public Accountant. This distinction is awarded only after a certain amount of work experience, and after passing an extremely difficult CPA Exam administered only four times per year. Many accountants, even those very advanced in their careers, find this test to be nearly impossible to pass on the first try. With a passing rate below 50%, many have to take the various parts of the test multiple times. Websites like offer prep courses that can better prepare you for the rigorous, 14-hour test, but you’ll need to be dedicated. This test can require months and months of study, which most must accomplish while working full-time. While there is opportunity for advancement in accounting, it will come at a high cost. However, with these certifications, you open yourself up to a world of employment opportunity. Sites like highlight the numerous job listings that companies in all industries post on a weekly basis, meaning you have a higher likelihood of finding solid employment within your chosen field.

Accounting isn’t for everyone, but it can be a lucrative career path that provides plenty of opportunity for advancement and fulfillment in a variety of roles. Take these questions into consideration and decide whether this field is right for you.

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