Accounting – A Career NOT for the Faint-Hearted
Who says any Tom, Dick and Harry can go into accounting? Certain personality types are more suited for the profession than others. Personal interest in the field can also be a great motivation. But what’s the one thing that all aspiring accountants need to be prepared for? Hard work.
If there’s anything that the accounting profession is not, that is easy. Work can be grueling, frustrating, extremely long and tedious and at times it can drive you up against the walls. Be prepared to face some of the following if you are taking your first step into an accounting career.
- Expect to Put in Long Hours
- Work Can Get Monotonous
- It Is Particularly Demanding At Certain Times Of The Year
- There is Minimal Human Interaction
- Career Progression Doesn’t Come Easy
Especially in the initial stages of the profession, beginners will have to put in very long hours of work. Expect to be working weekends, and know that 9-5 will likely be 9-9 or even 9-11 at times. Part-time work is extremely rare and not heard of in the profession. The 40-hour work week can stretch to 60 or even 70 hours at certain companies and at certain times of the year.
At times, the work you do as an accountant can become very repetitive and monotonous. Scrutinizing volumes of data may be very challenging, but doing it again and again for long hours often leans towards being tedious. But this is an essential nature of work that accountants have to live with.
Certain times of the year can be extremely exhausting for accountants. For example, if your are a tax accountant, expect to be working long hours during the tax season, from January to April. Similarly, organizations have month-end and year-end closing times when their books are reconciled. During these periods, not only are accountants expected to put in long hours, including weekends, but taking vacations becomes a stark impossibility.
While communicating with clients and team members is an important part of an accountant’s job description, most of the work has to be accomplished independently. This means that if you are someone who loves being around people and enjoy chatting away, accounting is a career a tad individualistic for you.
In order to advance in this career, you may have to do additional studies. This means taking classes for an advanced degree such as a Masters in Accounting, or preparing for a professional certification such as a CPA. The requirements for taking certification exams can be quite rigorous, including a certain minimum number of years of work experience and a minimum number of credit hours of studying. Besides, many accountants pursue these advanced degrees and certification exams simultaneously with their jobs, making the going quite tough for them.
Yet, despite these shortcomings, the accounting profession is, indeed, a financially rewarding one. Job security, good salary and opportunities for career growth are further advantages of the profession that are hard to ignore. If you are seriously considering taking this up as a long-time profession, make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into.