Misinformation and outsider opinions have for years fostered the idea that accounting is boring, mindless and even unimportant work. It’s a good bet that these misconceptions have confused many energetic and up-and-coming professionals and steered them away from careers in a field that has been a key element for businesses for hundreds of years.
When it comes down to researching new careers, some of the best information with real insights still comes from real people – directly from the horse’s mouth.
To that end, we asked several seasoned accounting professionals two questions to help you decide if it’s the right field for you. Check out what they had to say!
Accounting is NOT boring because …
1. “It opens the window to be able to understand all operations of a business,” says Anne Johnson, vice president of operations/finance for KBM Workspaces and a 34-year veteran certified public accountant.
Why this matters to you: When it comes down to making important business decisions, the dollars and cents involved are often a major part the planning process. Working in accounting puts you in an incredibly important spot to contribute to the success of the business by helping organizational leaders make smart financial decisions.
2. “It provides the flexibility to avoid boredom,” says Christopher McCauley, 10 year accounting professional and CEO at Whizkins.
Why this matters to you: Accounting is an essential function for any business, so the opportunity is out there to work in a variety of different business settings. Pursuing a position within a company that shares your passions or interests – such as sports, movies or wine for example – will keep you excited about going to work every morning.
3. “It is so much more than numbers, debits and credits. It is the language of business,” says Jini Thornton, 20-year veteran accountant and CEO of EnVision.
Why this matters to you: By working in this field you’ll become familiar with the accounting terms, vernacular and phrases that financial leaders around the world use every day. This puts you on the path to becoming a leader or maybe even starting your own business.
4. “The work that you do today will never be the same as the work you do tomorrow. You get to wear many different hats and are engaged with many departments so the work is always exciting and you are always learning new things,” says Paula Griffo, 17-year accounting veteran and president and chief financial officer of VoIP Supply.
Why this matters to you: The variety of different tasks involved being an accountant can greatly vary. You’ll get the opportunity to work on different projects with people from different areas of expertise. This will help you continue to develop your business acumen by learning from those around you while developing new sets of knowledge and skills in areas such as human resources, sales or marketing that will assist you in your own professional growth throughout your career.
What accounting tasks do you enjoy?
We also asked these financial professionals about the specific tasks, activities or responsibilities that they feel keep the work interesting year in and year out.
1. “Preparing taxes is like doing a puzzle … you’ve got a bunch of pieces that need to fit together,” says Starr Cochran, a certified financial planner and tax accountant with 30 years of professional experience.
Why this matters to you: For some people doing taxes can seem like a big headache, but for some accounting professionals it is more of an enjoyable challenge. The pride, satisfaction and enjoyment experienced after turning a mess of papers and receipts into a shiny lucrative return is particularly rewarding part of the job.
2. “The tasks that the accounting department does are all very important. A business could not be viable without these tasks being completed and more importantly being done correctly. It is the sense of importance that makes the job extremely rewarding,” says Griffo.
Why this matters to you: As an accountant it’s important to understanding that each and every task that you accomplish serves a purpose in helping the organization be successful. This should help you feel a great sense of pride, value and satisfaction for why you do what you do and get up to go to work every morning.
3. “Interacting with clients, the entrepreneurs who have made their businesses successful, is the most enjoyable part of our job. Accounting is a people business, and being able to help them is what keeps it exciting,” says Vince Fini, 32-year veteran and accounting and audit partner with Weinstein & Anastasio, P.C.
Why this matters to you: Forget the days of just sitting in a cubicle by yourself, those accounting myths no longer exist. Today accounting professionals need to have interpersonal skills for interacting with coworkers, managing a team of junior professionals or managing projects for clients or the organizations leadership team.
4. “We are applying our skill set to an interesting and challenging industry. How exciting is it to do budgets, accounting and financial reporting for an international tour for a Grammy award winning artist? The industry you work in could determine exactly what is expected of you every day. Think out of the box,” says Thornton.
Why this matters to you: A career in accounting is only as boring as you choose it to be. From the variety of different accounting job titles like a comptroller, actuary or tax analyst to the different industries out there you can be sure to find an opportunity that best fits you.
The bottom line
Choosing a career to pursue is an important life decision. And while even the best accounting career guide on the internet can provide you with a wealth of career statistics and knowledge, by learning from and speaking with those who have come before you, can often help you decide on which career is right for you.
Hopefully this information from these experienced professionals will help you decide whether or not to pursue a career in accounting like they did.
Still think that accounting is boring? Think again.