Some careers offer outstanding earning potential but demand twice the working hours; some careers expect professionals to be heavily credentialed but guarantee creativity and autonomy at work.
As you consider a career in accounting, you should weigh the pros and cons to ensure that you have the right expectations for your future job and that you know you will be satisfied in the field for the rest of your life.
Pro: A Clear Career Path
One reason so many accountants choose this career is that there is a straightforward path through training to employment. Many careers have nebulous routes through education and training; individuals working in the field might come from a wide range of backgrounds, which can make it difficult for aspiring professionals to understand what they need to do to qualify for roles in that particular field.
Fortunately, the road to accounting is straight and rather narrow, demanding a specific bachelor’s degree, a certain number of internship hours and a certification in a particular accounting field. If you worry about making the wrong choice in preparation for your career, you might appreciate the clarity offered by accounting.
Con: Advanced Credentials
Accounting is not a career that anyone can pivot into with ease and speed. Becoming an accountant takes years of training, and advancing in the field often requires professionals to seek additional education and credentials. This can be frustrating to ambitious professionals who hope to rise through the ranks swiftly to access higher earning potential and more prestigious titles.
You can work toward your MAcc degree with an online program from UAGC to gain real-world experience and advanced education at the same time.
Pro: Exceptional Job Security
Accountants are always in demand. All manner of businesses, from small boutiques to multinational corporations, rely on accountants to keep track of their income and expenses properly, keep their tax information accurate and otherwise assist with financial decision-making. Private individuals, as well, utilize the expertise of accountants to manage their financial documents and submit their taxes.
The fact is that as an accountant, you will always have a job available to you — which isn’t necessarily true of all professional roles.
Con: Seasonally Heavy Workloads
There are periods when an accountant’s workload is light, but during certain times of year, accountants tend to have much more to do. Often, in the wintertime as the year is drawing to a close and toward the end of spring when taxes come due, accountants must hustle to complete more work than usual.
Typically, this means expending more energy at work and remaining at work for more hours for a few weeks, which can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining. There are some accounting positions that lack these seasonal shifts, and you may want to pursue these options if you are not interested in variability in your workload.
Pro: Reliably High Salaries
The accounting field isn’t known for earning professionals jaw-dropping sums at the entry level, but it is a good option if you are happy to receive higher-than-average pay for the entirety of your career. Beginning accountants in the United States take home an average salary of $61,401 according to Salary.com, but more experienced accountants and especially accounting managers can easily earn six figures.
Wages for accountants are relatively stable across the industry — though you can earn more working for larger corporations and well-known accounting firms.
Con: Potentially Repetitive Tasks
Most accountants quickly fall into routines at work, as they are assigned nearly identical tasks day-in and day-out. For some professionals, this lack of diversity in projects can be comforting; it means that they will know exactly what to expect once they clock in, so they are less likely to feel anxious about the challenges they will face at work. However, some professionals enjoy the prospect of puzzling out solutions to new and interesting problems, and these professionals tend to feel stifled by the repetitiveness of accounting work. You should consider how you like to structure your days and complete tasks before you commit to the accounting field.
Accounting is an appealing career for many professionals, and it might be the right fit for you. If you are interested in the advantages and not put off by the disadvantages, you should start working toward the right accounting credentials today.