We all have to trade time for money in this world, and if you like working with numbers, a career as an accountant might be your path. Understanding financial data and advising clients can positively impact businesses, but reading spreadsheets all day might not be up your alley.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but really, it all depends on which side gets the most water. If you work hard to become an accountant, it will provide you with a good living. The real question is, is it the right work-life for you?
Here are the nine pros and cons of being an accountant:
Pro: It’s a high demand job
Almost all businesses need an accountant. Whether working for a company or freelancing, accountants help companies manage their financial information and advise clients. As long as people and businesses pay taxes, they need a professional, trained accountant to care for their books. The profession is also growing faster than other occupations making it a wise choice for a career.
Pro: Great earning potential
The accounting field is vast, with lots of directions to go. You can be self-employed, do people’s taxes, and be a management accountant, auditor, or consultant. Education levels include CA, CMA, and CGA and can be augmented with other business disciplines that increase your employment status.
Higher qualifications will determine your earning potential and work in a large city or a rural town. Ultimately, you can expect an average salary of around 55k per year with the potential to go in the six figures.
Pro: Easy transition to an entrepreneur
Anyone can open up a business, but you need to work smart and understand finances while knowing the business market to be successful. An accountant is a highly trained individual who would make a great entrepreneur because they understand how businesses work, are meticulous with details and have credibility already as an accountant. They already understand payroll and paperwork as well as bookkeeping and taxes too.
Pro: Skill diversity
Your training as an accountant translates well to many other occupations. The business skills and attention to detail would be perfect for an alternative career as a real estate agent, fraud investigator, business analyst or even a financial advisor. If you need a temporary or permanent career change, it shouldn’t be hard to take on a new, professional job.
Pro: Travel opportunities
There is a business in every city and rural area around the globe. Your profession doesn’t tie you down, so you can pursue work in different regions of the country and beyond. If you take on contract accounting jobs, you can be placed at different businesses for short-term periods and obtain various skills while meeting new people. And if you find a place you like, you can put down roots and continue your career there.
Con: Education is continuous
All jobs require a certain skill set to do them, and once you master it, you are good to go. Not so when you are an accountant. Once you get certified and start your career, it is just the beginning of your education. You will have to keep up with the changes in regulations, standards, laws and tax codes to do your job correctly, and if you want to advance in your career, you will need more schooling to get different certifications.
Con: Desk bound
Accounting is a job that requires you to be desk-bound, working on a computer, and it can seem like your second home. Your day will be spent at the office shuffling between your desk, the copier, meetings and back again. Also, you will be sitting for long hours because of the office requirements, which is bad for your physical health.
Accounting can be stressful as you are responsible for a company’s finances, and accurate reporting is vital. Any mistakes can cause penalties for the company and jeopardize your job. There are deadlines for the month’s end and the fiscal year-end, and longer days and weekend work are also necessary during tax season. Work-life balance can be affected, so you need to find ways to mitigate it.
Con: Hard Work
This profession holds great responsibility, and you need to have a passion for numbers. It can be tedious and routine, but you have to pay close attention to details and have patience. Those long hours come every tax season, and you may not want to put in that much effort.
Like most things in life, you have to take the good with the bad. You need to carefully think about your decision to be an accountant to have a rewarding career and happy life. Examine the pros and cons to clarify that becoming an accountant is what you want.