Choosing a major is a pivotal decision that sets the stage for your academic journey and future career. Accounting, often regarded as the language of business, is a field that holds both challenges and opportunities. In this exploration of the truths surrounding a major in accounting, we delve into five key considerations that can help you make an informed decision.
1. Accounting is Hard – Embrace the Challenge
Let's address the elephant in the room – accounting is undeniably challenging. It's the academic terrain where dedication and perseverance are prerequisites. The language of business demands a substantial commitment of time and effort. In college, don't be surprised if you find yourself immersed in books while your peers are socializing. The challenges persist throughout your career, especially if you venture into public accounting.
Busy season in public accounting is not to be taken lightly. Late nights, sleep deprivation, and a caffeine-fueled diet become the norm for at least three months of the year. However, the difficulty of the journey pays off. Earning the coveted CPA designation opens doors to employment opportunities in varying economic climates. As you master the intricacies, analyzing a business's financial performance becomes not just a skill but an engaging endeavor.
2. Mundane Tasks, but a Spectrum of Opportunities
Yes, the rumors are true – accounting tasks can be mundane. Hours spent reconciling numbers, inputting invoices, and preparing financial statements might seem routine. However, as you progress in your career, the scope of your responsibilities expands, leading to exposure to more stimulating areas.
Consider decisions like lease extensions or entering into new agreements – seemingly straightforward but demanding in-depth analysis. Cash flow considerations, P&L implications, and the impact of accounting guidance (cue the new lease standard!) transform routine tasks into intricate problem-solving exercises. The mundane evolves into the fascinating as you navigate the complexities of financial decision-making.
3. Diverse Career Paths Await Accountants
Contrary to a linear trajectory, accounting offers a diverse array of career paths. No single prescribed route defines an accountant's journey. The possibilities are vast and flexible. While many commence their careers in audit, pathways lead to M&A due diligence, financial reporting, and beyond.
Potential career paths in accounting include:
- Public Accounting
- Advisory (valuation, M&A, technical accounting)
- Corporate accounting/industry
- Financial reporting
- Internal audit
- SEC reporting
- Technical accounting
- Corporate tax
- Transfer pricing
The beauty lies in the ability to pivot between paths, especially in the early stages of your career. Discovering your passion and aligning your skills with diverse roles contributes to a dynamic and fulfilling professional journey.
4. Job Security in Good and Bad Economies
Amid economic uncertainties, one truth stands firm – accountants are indispensable. Even in the face of a global pandemic like COVID-19, the demand for auditing and tax preparation persists. The stability and relevance of accounting roles provide a reassuring layer of job security. While other industries grapple with layoffs, accountants continue to play a pivotal role in maintaining financial integrity and compliance.
5. Fluency in the Language of Excel
Prepare to embark on a journey where Excel becomes your trusted companion. Accounting professionals spend a significant portion of their day immersed in spreadsheets, unraveling complexities and generating insights. If a screen-centric existence aligns with your career aspirations, the accounting path is well-suited. Excel proficiency becomes not just a skill but a language, essential for articulating financial narratives and driving informed decision-making.
A Dialogue in the Making
This series invites engagement, aiming to foster a dialogue about the realities of majoring in accounting. If you have additional insights or questions, we encourage you to contribute to the conversation. Comment below or reach out through @Lets_Get_Fiscal on Instagram.
Majoring in accounting is a journey marked by challenges, diversity, and unwavering relevance. Embrace the difficulties, discover the breadth of opportunities, and recognize the resilience embedded in a career that navigates financial landscapes with precision. Whether you're crunching numbers, unraveling financial intricacies, or steering through economic uncertainties, the language of accounting becomes a powerful tool in shaping your professional narrative.