The word accountant brings to mind an image of a man crouched over a calculator hurriedly scribbling numbers into a ledger. In actuality, a career in accounting is much more than crunching numbers. There are many types of accounting one can go into and many job opportunities available for those who possess accounting skills. If you are considering accounting as a potential career path, read on to learn if it is for you.
Are You Willing to Learn?
The first thing to understand if considering accounting is that you will have to pursue an education in the subject. Most firms prefer to hire those with at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Many prefer a master’s degree as well. You must also be willing to keep up your education as you work. New laws can change the regulations accountants have to deal with (this is particularly true if you go into tax law). Technology is also constantly advancing, requiring accountants to keep learning to keep up.
Do You Like Numbers?
Even if you are happy to keep learning, if you aren’t interested in numbers you may find the educational process (and the following career options) to be dull. However, if you are someone who is drawn to numbers, you may find accounting quite rewarding. At its core, accounting revolves around numbers, so if you enjoy a good Sudoku puzzle every evening, you may really enjoy this career.
Are You Detail Oriented?
Accountants can only be effective if they pay close attention to detail. People in this career are exposed to a large amount of data every day. A single slip in how this information is managed can cause huge problems â€“ both for the accountant and for the people they are working for.
Do You Enjoy Working Alone?
While accountants can expect to share the information they gather with others, for the most part accounting is a job done solo. If the idea of spending most of the day working on your own doesn’t appeal to you, you may want to move towards a career that allows you more time with others. However, if you are self motivated and don’t mind doing things on your own, you could do well as an accountant.
Are You Competent With Computers?
A generation or two ago accountants did not have to worry about working with computers. However, these days computer skills are a must. Working with electronic accounting programs reduces errors and makes for easier organization. However, it does mean the accountants using these programs must be comfortable with technology. Having some practical computer experience under your belt (or having a willingness to learn) is a big plus when considering this career.
Are You Mathematically Inclined?
Basic accounting deals with simple arithmetic â€“ adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. However, to really get into the field (and to make more money than the starting pay) you must have more than basic mathematical knowledge. Education in algebra, statistics, and even some calculus is helpful and could be necessary, depending on your preferred accounting field.
Do You Have Analytical Skills?
While much of an accountant’s job deals with inputting and manipulating numbers, part of his task also includes identifying potential problems. Being able to analyze data and spot inconsistencies is a huge benefit to accountants. Accountants can also benefit from the communication skills that are needed to explain potential problems to the people they are working with and for.
Accounting can be a very rewarding career for some people. Depending on your unique blend of personality and skills, you might be the kind of person who can go far in the world of accounting.