Many accountants will tell you that they neither love nor hate accounting, but that they chose it either for the job market stability, financial stability or so that it would provide them with the finances that they need to pursue their true passions. And yes, there are those who truly do love crunching numbers, financial sleuthing and even those who enjoy the stress and brutal hours of audit of tax seasons. But even so, for some of those who are slogging at accountancy and even towards their CPA license, there are many who get into the workforce and then drop out a few years later to pursue something else. This is a lot of time and resources to invest in something and then drop. So then what are some things to consider that might tell you that you will be able to handle it even if you don’t enjoy it?
1. You are coping with the course work
If you are finding the course work difficult and are having trouble keeping your grades up, even with supplementary classes and sufficient studying, then accountancy might not be for you. Any degree is expensive and if you are struggling to keep up with the material in your first year, its not a good sign. So, if you are not doing well academically, think carefully, discuss your options with counsellors, teachers and people that you trust. If you realistically think that you can improve and get the grades you need to pass and make it to the next year, then great. If not, its better to reevaluate sooner than later. Otherwise, that’s just a lot of unnecessary debt to deal with.
2. You enjoy the course work
The first and second year of any degree tend to be boring, as they are the foundations that set the groundwork for the ‘fun’ stuff. But if you are not enjoying any aspect of your coursework into your second year, then that is something that you should seriously consider. This is especially true concerning the fact that you will be doing a lot more of the gritty, specific and repetitive work when you first start out. So, if you really dislike it, then it might not be the best idea to pursue it. But if you’re ambivalent or find it mildly interesting, then that’s fair enough.
3. There is an accounting field that interests you
Very few people enjoy their jobs the whole time even when they are doing something that they love. There will always be times when you are doing dreary work or when you get hit with a stressful time-sensitive workload. Therefore, it is important to try to find something that you at least enjoy some aspects of. There are also niche accountancy jobs to consider, as we have mentioned here. So, it might be worthwhile to talk to a lot of people to figure out what sounds interesting to you and then try to get an internship position in that field to see whether you think it would be a good fit for you.
4. You enjoy number crunching
This doesn’t necessarily mean punching numbers into a calculator, as most of the inputting and processing is done by apps and programs. Instead, it refers to actually sifting through numerical data and organizing that data in a concise way that is easy to understand and extrapolate valuable information from. However, it is also important to realize that this isn’t the favorite part of most accountants’ jobs. So, if you don’t enjoy this aspect alone, that’s not necessarily a reason not to pursue accountancy as a career.
5. You can handle pressure
Even though a lot of accountancy can be repetitive, it can also throw curveballs that need to be dealt with as soon as possible, and often without much idea of how you should solve the problem. You may need to teach yourself new skills, consult or even fumble around until something works somehow. Therefore, you need to be able to cope with random variability, sudden deadlines and unknowns. But this is also true of many other jobs as well.
6. You are a good communicator
Regardless of the time of accountancy you go into, you will need to communicate with people a lot. Whether it is when dealing with clients, talking to your boss or collaborating with colleagues, you will need to be able to express yourself articulately and to be assertive without being aggressive. Having good people skills is also highly important if you are aiming for a managerial position one day, as you will need people to want to work with and for you.
7. You enjoy problem solving
There will be times when an accountant will be given a task which they have not been trained in, or when they are presented with incomplete or inconsistent data that needs to be tied up and fixed. Finding the solutions and missing pieces will often require out-of-the-box thinking, sleuthing abilities and quick-thinking. If you enjoy solving complex puzzles then accountancy, and particularly auditing and forensic accountancy, might just be for you.
8. You like rules and standards
This may seem strange after the previous topic, but much of accountancy is governed by rules and legislations, as you know. Following the rules prevents legal issues, fines and possibly worse. In company terms, it could result in job loss or bankruptcy and in legal terms to jail time. Whether deliberate or accidental, mistakes and irregularities can be critical. While ‘like’ may be a strong word since sometimes the arbitrariness of certain safeguards can be frustrating, at the very least having a certain respect for them is essential to accountancy.