If you’re at the point in your life where it’s time to choose what your career will be, you may be wondering about the feasibility of becoming an accountant. It could be that you’re a master at managing your stringent student budget or perhaps you always get your taxes filed accurately on time and are thinking of converting this talent into something more lucrative.
That being said, 98% of accounting jobs require a bachelor’s degree, so before you commit to the expense, time and commitment of studying for your degree in accounting, you should be certain that you understand what’s involved and whether this is a path that suits your particular skills.
Qualities of An Accountant
There are certain traits that are useful to possess if you are really going to shine out as an accountant. It’s certainly not for everyone and before you jump in it would be prudent to see if your personality is a match.
An excellent accountant will often be working behind the scenes, ensuring that everything is ticking along smoothly and in an orderly fashion. If you are the sort of person who is not looking for the limelight but rather you are happy to do a job well that might be to the benefit of others, then that’s the first box ticked.
You will certainly need to be a highly organized person who likes things to be efficient and methodical. A successful accountant will need to enjoy doing things right the first time in a detailed and meticulous way. You will require the ability to prioritize your tasks and keep track of many documents in an effectual way.
- Separate emotion and money
Companies will often look to their accountant for advice before embarking on any serious spend or investment. If you are able to separate emotion from money and manage funds wisely, then you will be much better equipped to provide a rational and objective analysis of business needs and spend.
It’s not all about being good at math and being organized these days. As most accountancy is done using software, you will need to be tech-savvy and able to handle software competently. In particular, accountants need to know their way around excel.
You will need a strong sense of integrity. Trust is key to any successful accountant, and if your clients don’t trust you, they will simply move on. You will need to feel confident in managing the finances of clients with complete transparency.
There is a need for a formal qualification that presents an investment that may not always be possible. However, with technology improving every day, there are new ways to earn your qualifications without your finances having too much of an effect. You can work while you earn your online accounting masters degree.
Accounting is an arduous job and, as such, you need to ensure that you aren’t work shy but rather able to rise to the challenge and deliver. Focus and hard work are key to making a success out of accountancy. This can be gained from the moment you start studying.
What Sort of Jobs Can Your Degree Secure?
It might sound obvious but a degree in accountancy can help you attain not just an accountant role, but also the following:
- Financial analyst
- Staff accountant
- Senior accountant
- Accounting manager
- Accounting clerk
- Tax manager
- Internal auditor
Typical Duties of An Accountant
A competent accountant will be expected to be able to perform the following tasks:
- Preparation of financial documents and reports
- Scrutinize documents and spreadsheet to check for accuracy
- Compiling and management of accurate financial records
- Present recommendations to assist clients in making prudent financial decisions
- Understanding and compliance of up to date local, state and federal laws
- Competent use of sophisticated software for the interpretation of data
- Streamlining of business finances
- Ability to identify financial errors
- Conduct business audits
- Administering payroll
- Keeping inventory
In 2016 there were a total of 1.4 million accountancy jobs with a predicted 10% growth in the next 10 years, which is the equivalent to 140,000 new jobs. This is way above the projected average job growth across all occupations thanks to a shifting economy alongside increasingly complex financial law.
These kinds of figures really highlight the potential for someone pursuing a career in accountancy.
What Sort of Salary Can an Accountant Expect to Receive?
“The word accounting comes from the word accountability. If you are going to be rich, you need to be accountable for your money.”
It’s no secret that accountancy can be a highly lucrative career and, in fact, a study has revealed that the average pay for accountants and auditors was $70,500 in 2018, which is equivalent to $32.76 an hour. However, as your career progresses, you can expect that figure to rise substantially with the highest 10% of accountants earning over $100,000 a year.
Accountancy Career Path
There are three main areas where qualified accountants can choose to work:
Public accounting – working for a public company involves conducting yearly audits, tax compliance and management consultancy, including cutting costs, increasing efficiency and creating channels for new growth.
Industry accounting – industry accountants will perform audits and tax preparation for their clients.
Government accounting – working for the government as an accountant involves ensuring that companies and individuals are upholding their obligation to pay taxes and release accurate financial statements.
A typical career path for an accountant may look a little like this:
- Financial Analyst
- Accounting Manager
- Financial Controller
- Chief Financial Officer
Every career has a downside and accounting is no exception. As mentioned previously, the time to study can take a significant amount of time and effort to achieve, but this shouldn’t put you off. There are ways you can get around being able to achieve your dream job with online degrees.
Before choosing the career, consider how you will finance yourself and study, but also think about how well you manage stress. Accountants will experience a busy season, and as a result, stress levels are usually high, but you are still expected to deliver accurate information in a timely manner. Teach yourself how to manage your stress, and you will be able to take your career to the next level and reap the benefits.