Being an accountant means more than just working with numbers on a daily basis. It is a career that offers a certain level of prestige. Your ability to work with money allows you to help others succeed financially as you provide for yourself. It’s a way to make a direct difference in the world of each client. Yet being stuck in an office, staring at spreadsheets on a beautiful sunny day, may not be your cup of tea. Are you thinking about this as a career option for yourself? Then here are some of the key pros and cons of being an accountant to consider today.
What Are the Pros of Being an Accountant?
1. You have income stability.
Not everyone is good at numbers and budgets. This includes organizations. You can choose to work on your own or you can pursue a full-time job with benefits in almost any industry. The amount of job availability means you’ll have a superior level of income stability when compared to other career choices.
2. You have certainty.
Just about everyone knows what an accountant does for a living. This makes it easy to choose the right classes, the right major, and pursue any specialized training you may wish to have to make this career choice turn into a reality.
3. There’s a chance to earn a six figure salary.
Some of the best accountants today earn over $100,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, the top 10% of accountants earn six figures. Even if you’re earning the median salary of $63,000, you’re still pulling in a pretty good wage to support yourself.
4. You can travel.
You’re not tied down to one specific location when you pursue accounting as a career choice. Every business, both urban and rural, has a certain need for an accountant. You can choose where you want to live and, to some extent, what your daily job requirements will be since you can work on your own, start your own business, or work for a traditional employer.
5. Your job is in high demand.
Not only is there more than 10% expected job growth in this career over the next decade, but there is also a fast level of progression within it as well. In just a couple of years, you can go from being fresh out of school with a degree to someone making a comfortable living.
What Are the Cons of Being an Accountant?
1. You must be certified to maximize your income potential.
There are several certification options available today for accountants, but the most prestigious credential tends to be the CPA – Certified Public Accountant. CPAs tend to earn more, have more advancement opportunities, and be able to sign more clients if working on their own. Any certification is going to require an investment on your part without a guaranteed return.
2. It’s not exactly an adrenaline rush.
Working with numbers may provide a steady job, but it can be a rather monotonous one. Someone must really have a passion for creating budgets and working with numbers in order to succeed in this type of position. If you like solving problems within a specified structure, then you’ll do well. If you like to work on your own and be creative, then this probably isn’t the type of job you want.
3. You have seasons of heavy work.
Your busy season as an accountant is from January-April in the United States every year. That’s tax season and you’ll be spending a lot of hours in the office. Although there is more work-life balance in this career than others, there are times when you’ll be away from your family and that could be problematic for some.
4. You have to keep pressing forward.
Accounting is a surprisingly competitive career field. Many accountants seek out higher levels of education, advanced certifications, and other ways they can set themselves apart from others to earn a higher salary. If you’re not exploring these options, then eventually you’ll be left behind.
5. You’re going to be stuck in the office.
Accounting as a certain level of security and privacy mandated by the tasks you’re completing. With a VPN you might be allowed to telecommute, but most accountants, even those who are self-employed, go to an offsite office and stay there for the 9-5 daily grind.
The pros and cons of being an accountant may show that it isn’t the right job for everyone, but it could be the right job for you. Have you worked as an accountant in the past? What is the one piece of advice you would offer anyone thinking about becoming an accountant today?