Find accounting schools near you
Discussing Why Accounting Jobs Make Good Career Paths
Many people assume accounting is a boring or tedious career path, with offices populated exclusively by geeky math whizzes. Though this may indeed have been true at one point, the accounting world has changed for the better in recent years. Many formerly tedious accounting functions are now automated in many offices, and the focus of the job has shifted as well, allowing for a greater emphasis on analysis, interpretation, and business strategy.
With these changes becoming standard in the field, it’s no wonder that The 2002 Jobs Rated Almanac rated accountant as the fifth-best job to have, citing its low-stress environment, potential for high compensation, notable independence, and plentiful hiring opportunities. Here are six more factors that make accounting a highly desirable career choice:
- Collegial demographic: Public accounting firms have a tendency to hire recent graduates in considerable numbers, which contributes to a pleasant workplace atmosphere. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Summer 2004 Salary Survey ranked accounting number one in its top ten list of employers who offer jobs to graduating college students. Entering a firm where many of the employees are the same age and have the same interests makes adjusting to a new job much easier, while also presenting ample networking opportunities.
- Applicability across many functions: Being an accountant entails acquiring skills that are useful across a majority of business industries. A trained accountant’s knowledge of purchasing, manufacturing, retailing, wholesaling, marketing, and finance leads to the development of strong general management skills — which are in high demand by employers. As a result, senior accountants or controllers are often attractive candidates for high-powered business positions.
- Exposure to different companies: Public accounting offers many chances to interact with a diverse group of clients in a number of capacities. Constant exposure to a variety of companies ensures that employees will gain valuable experience and strengthen their professional communication skills.
- Good hours and low stress: Compared to investment banking and consulting, the hours and travel required in the accounting field are far less stressful. Public accounting generally has a highly predictable work schedule— expect a few months out of the year to be very busy-namely during the tax season months from January to March- before settling down to about 40-to-45 hours a week. Investment bankers and consultants, on the other hand, are known to work at least 60-to-80 hours a week and are frequently expected to travel on short notice.
- Regular interaction with executives: As noted above, public accounting requires frequent communication with a diverse group of clients, many of whom are high-level executives. As a result, public accountants have access to the inner-workings of many of the world’s most successful companies, which, in turn, can present them with exciting professional opportunities.
- Woman-friendly career path: Folks in the public accounting field have made considerable efforts to ensure the profession is sensitive to women’s specific needs by implementing flexible work arrangements and other lifestyle considerations — and their efforts seem to have paid off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women now make up about 60 percent of the profession, with those numbers only expected to increase in coming years.