Why Choose Accounting? 5 Rock-Solid Reasons to Major in Accounting
Do you like working with numbers? Is your brain always spinning data into action? Do you enjoy the idea of helping a business get its finances in order? If you’re nodding your head to each of these questions, there’s a good chance the accounting field could be the place for you.
That said, meeting the criteria above doesn’t make this your only career path worth considering. There are several different types of business degrees worth exploring as you ponder your next step—so why should you focus on accounting? To help answer that, we’ve asked several business professionals to share their take on what makes pursuing an accounting degree a smart choice.
Why pursue accounting?
Need some solid reasons for pursuing this career path? Take it from some of the professionals who’d know best.
1. Accounting professionals are consistently needed across industries
Every business requires assistance with financial operations, and that’s great for accounting professionals. Whether handling payroll and taxes, preparing budgets, ensuring the organization complies with all federal, state and local regulations, or advising leadership on reducing costs and risks to increase profits, accountants are crucial players in all organizations.
“Good accountants are never out of work,” says Shawn Plummer, CEO of The Annuity Expert. “You can work in virtually any business or institution as an accountant.”
Jason Cherubini, a CPA and CFO of Dawn’s Light Media, agrees. “Accounting is a great career that offers financial security and stability greater than most other fields. And if that wasn’t enough, it is a solid base for almost any other industry that a student may want to enter into.”
2. Strong earning potential
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2021 median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $77,250.1 This figure is substantially higher than the $45,760 national average for all occupations in 2021.1 The work accountants provide to organizations requires specialized training and education, which means meriting higher pay.
“The majority of [accounting] positions necessitate higher degrees and certifications,” says Matthew Dailly, managing director at Tiger Financial. “Companies recognize that greater pay is required for those qualifications, and they are prepared to provide them.”
Plummer agrees, saying that while accountants often have a lower profile, their salaries make up for it.
“They’re behind the scenes for the most part, so they don’t get a lot of glory,” Plummer says. “But what they do get is paid, and very well. The closer you work to money, the more of it you make, and accountants are about as close as anyone.”
That axiom certainly holds true for accounting professionals able to climb the career ladder into management. The BLS reports the 2021 median annual salary for financial managers was $131,710.1 While obviously not every accounting professional is going to be able to climb into upper-level management, education can provide a common pathway to making it happen.
3. Accountants are valued experts
Without a clear understanding of the financial picture, a company cannot survive. Successful accountants give leadership and other stakeholders a clear narrative of what an organization is capable of doing in terms of growth, innovation and profit.
“You will frequently interact with other teams who have a limited grasp on what accountants perform,” says Dailly. “You will be expected to provide expert advice on a variety of issues that affect a company.”
While many in an organization may not have the analytical, number-crunching mindset of an accountant, the job itself is one that maintains its status and importance.
“It’s a field where you’ll find people working at the same company for their entire lives,” says Plummer. “They enjoy the work, they’re respected and well-paid.”
4. Change makes the role more interesting than you might expect
One stereotype about accounting is that it’s dull work with no variety. But given the steady stream of changes to tax laws, the complexity of the global economy and new innovations like cryptocurrency, accountants must always keep learning and updating their skills as they advance in their careers.
“The pace of change in accounting is surprising,” says Plummer. “While many fundamental principles are timeless, factors like digital currency and new accounting regulations keep the field constantly changing.”
The idea that an accountant’s work is uninteresting may be based on the assumption that they’re just tabulating expenses and income all day, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Cherubini says that while math skills are important, they don’t represent accounting work as a whole.
“Students often incorrectly think of accounting as a math discipline, but this isn’t really true,” says Cherubini. “We use basic math, but the roots of accounting are not in math. Accounting is more of a logical toolset akin to law.”
Often, the work is more similar to solving business problems, which can take many forms, and the process of figuring it all out can add to the intrigue.
5. Accountants have room to grow and advance
Every industry hires accountants, but there are many areas of the field to pursue over the career lifespan.
The BLS notes several different areas of accounting, in both the private and public sectors. Accountants can work independently, providing service to clients, or for companies and government entities.
What makes accounting such a vital field is the global economy itself. International mergers and trade involve extremely complicated financial processes, all of which come with their own intricate regulations and tax issues to resolve. Software and automation may make some of the more menial traditional accounting tasks less common, but often this puts accountants into a financial advisory role in their organizations.
“Even with advances in artificial intelligence and automation, businesses still require accountants to grasp complicated tax rules and regulations that are always changing,” Dailly says. “Accountants also assist businesses in managing and decoding financial data so that they make business decisions.”
A critically important business role
Accountants are creative and analytical members employed by every kind of organization. Think you’ve got what it takes to work in the field of accounting? Review the data for yourself by learning more about the Accounting degree program at Rasmussen University.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed May 2022], www.bls.gov/ooh/. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.