Accounting isn’t for everyone any more than any other career is the perfect fit for all. There are many individuals who start out loving accounting in college and then later discover that they do not actually enjoy practicing it in the real world. The reverse is also true.
Below we will simply be providing you with some pros and cons of the accounting career to help you decide whether it’s for you. We have also listed a few useful articles at the bottom of this piece that might help you to figure out whether accounting is for you.
Advantages of Being an Accountant
There is always a demand for accountants somewhere in the country. Although there are some exceptions to this, in most states it is considered a stable career choice.
Unless you are working for a very small company, there are generally many opportunities for promotion in the accounting field. Transfers or moving to another company after gaining sufficient experience are also options. Networking and making use of social media platforms such as LinkedIn are powerful tools to this end.
If accounting does not work out for you, many of the skills can be transferred to other fields. Examples include teaching, data analytics, compliance and FBI positions.
Relative to most other professions, accounting pays well. Accountants are estimated to earn between $55,015-$68,315 on average depending on their level of experience and other factors, which puts them in the top 10% of earners according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Once you have gained enough experience and built a good network, you could also look into opening your own private firm to assist small businesses and private individuals.
Disadvantages of Being an Accountant
You May Require an Advanced License or Certification for A Senior Level Position
Many mid-to-large sized firms will require employees to obtain a CPA or possibly EA or other license or certification before they will consider them for a senior position. In private practice, other financial management certifications will also be preferred for consideration for promotion and receive higher salaries than their unlicensed counterparts. While its not technically necessary in industry, those with CPAs and other licenses and certifications will usually receive higher salaries and may be chosen for promotions over those who do not have any advanced licenses or financial certifications.
It is extremely difficult to earn more than $100,000
The really high paying positions will be in top level firms or Fortune 500 companies which will require a lot of overtime, often unpaid, a poor work/life balance and no guarantee of ever obtaining the high-level positions due to the cut-throat competitiveness, charisma, networking and sometimes nepotism that can go with it.
It is a difficult degree
The accounting degree itself requires a lot of hard work and focus, with little time to socialize.
Accounting is a difficult field to get into at the entry level. It is a good idea to start networking and possibly doing internships while in college for the best chance of finding a full-time position.
Repetitive and boring
Although the work can be diverse and require a lot of problem-solving, much of the work, especially in the beginning can be repetitive and boring. This is because the grunt work will usually be given to the lower-ranked employees so that they can hone their skills, and so that the higher level accountants can focus on their own more complex tasks, as well as the face that, as with all jobs, there are a lot of non-fun tasks that just need to get done.