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Pursuing a career in accounting is about more than wanting to work with numbers. It’s a career that requires discipline, thorough analytical skills, and dedication. If you’re considering a career in accounting, keep these commonly cited pros and cons of the business in mind.
There are numerous benefits to be gleaned from a career in accounting.
There’s no denying that accountants can pull in great wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for an accountant comes in at over $70,000. Some of the most desired accountants can easily earn over six figures—according to the BLS, the top 10 percent of accountants do.
Plenty of Potential for Growth
Roles in accounting and auditing are expected to grow by an amazing 10 percent by 2022. Companies and organizations, along with private individuals, will always need accounting aid; this provides a measure of growth and stability that you won’t find in other industries and roles. Just take a look at CareerBuilder.com for evidence; there’s numerous job openings for those in the accounting discipline.
Career Advancement Options
Those in the accounting field have plenty of opportunity to advance their careers. There are numerous certifications that can help you garner better roles in more successful companies, and more importantly, earn the right to demand a higher salary. One of the most popular routes of advancement for accounting professionals is becoming a CPA, or Certified Public Accountant. These individuals are allowed to offer their accounting services to the public, and this distinction remains one of the most sought by employers. With certifications like these, you can demand more money and position yourself for success in your desired industry.
With all that said, there are some less than desirable facets to this field.
High Stress Levels
Long hours is a common complaint among those in the accounting profession. Accountants will experience an ebb and flow in workloads, but when the busy season hits, expect your stress levels to skyrocket. Many accountants find them dedicating more than 80 hours to their work during tax season, and this can cause a disruption in work/life balance. This imbalance can lead to further stresses, so it’s important to understand the parameters and requirements of the job before embarking on this career.
The Rigors of Certification
While there are opportunities to move up in the field, as mentioned before, there are serious investments of time and money that go into achieving these certifications. Consider the CPA designation. This certification isn’t easy to come by. Candidates must acquire their bachelor’s degree in an accounting discipline, along with 150 semester hours of education, which generally requires the pursuit of a master’s degree. They must then pass the rigorous CPA Exam, which can take many candidates multiple years to pass all four parts. Most candidates must also invest in CPA prep courses, with the recommendation being that they dedicate at least 250 hours of study time to each portion of the CPA Exam. Many find they have to retake the exam over and over again, and often a significant portion of candidates give up before completing all portions of the exam. Before beginning this endeavor, be sure you know what’s expected of you.
Accounting Can Be Less Than Stimulating
If you enjoy consistency and routine, this won’t seem like much of a disadvantage. However, for many, the repetitive nature of accounting and the rules and regulations inherent with this career can be less than stimulating for certain personality types. In other words, some find this career path to be, in a word, boring. Work can be monotonous, and without a passion for analyzation and recordkeeping, you may find this industry to be stifling. If you love structure, you’ll excel in accounting; if you desire a career that allows you to be creative, you may want to look elsewhere for employment.
Are you looking for something that provides stability, the opportunity for job growth, and competitive wages? Accounting might be right for you. However, if rigid structure, continued education, and rigorous exams give you pause, you may want to consider another career route. Keep these aspects in mind as you test the waters of the accounting profession.
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