Career Hunting? Consider Accounting
When you’re considering the direction your future working life will take, you might put the focus on a career that’ll pay a great wage and give you financial security.
Both are great aspects, but there are other things that affect quality of life too. You could also think about sustainability, demand for your skills, personal satisfaction and fulfilment, flexibility and options, respect and prestige within the wider community, or opportunities to travel and work for yourself.
There are not many career options that offer this degree of autonomy, but accountancy is one of them.
Whether you’re just leaving formal education or considering a career change, you probably have most (if not all) of the skills accountants need.
- Time Management - if you’ve been holding down a job and managing a family, getting college or school assignments done on time as well as keeping up with a social calendar, you know how to manage your time. Getting the job done, efficiently and accurately, is a key accountancy soft skill.
- Solving Problems - if you can spot a problem and figure out a way to either solve it or work round it, you’ve got that skill covered. Once you understand how accountancy works, you have the skills to recognise financial problems in business and have the knowledge to solve them.
- Self-Motivation - can you get yourself moving to complete work tasks, even when the sun’s shining and you’d rather have a day off? Accountants enjoy a high degree of independence in their work, directing their energy where it’s needed at any given time.
- Respecting confidentiality - are you the one people bare their souls to? Can you resist the urge to talk about matters you probably shouldn’t? As an accountant you’ll have access to sensitive company information, so discreet professionalism is vital.
Sometimes we have transferable skills we’re not aware of, so it can boost your confidence to think back over your life and previous work experience to drill down into the skills you’ve gained.
They may be soft skills, such as some of the ones mentioned above. These are the skills that tend be common across lots of different industries and are easy to take for granted and not recognise. So-called hard skills are those that are focused on one industry. With accounting, this could be a specialism (more below on that) or industry specific software or technology.
As a tip, when you’re searching for skills needed in a job or study course, look at the person specification in advertisements. This tells you which skills they’re looking for.
Follow Your Passions
All industry sectors need accountants. Whether your passion is sport or fashion, manufacturing or politics, music or biodiversity, or any other industry in the world, the books need balancing.
You could choose to specialise in an area of accountancy that interests you most if you don’t feel drawn to any particular industry. Professional specialisms include tax or internal auditing, corporate finance, assurance, forensic accounting, or risk assessment. There are plenty of others.
Accountancy is a global profession, so there’s also the opportunity to take your skills abroad if travel is your passion.
Ongoing Professional Growth
You’ll probably start your accountancy career as a finance junior or junior auditor, or maybe you’ll work within the profession as an apprentice while you work towards getting qualified.
An accountancy career pathway is relatively clear, with a logical progression in advancement and status. Entry into study is relatively straightforward too. You don’t, for instance, necessarily need a university level education before you can start studying accounting, which is reassuring for career changers.
You don’t even need to physically attend classes if family or work commitments make that challenging. Online accounting courses are also available, offering the chance to study where and when you can.
A Scalable Skill
Once you’re qualified as an accountant, you can choose how and where you want to work. If formal employment is your preferred way forward, there are companies around the world that need your skills.
But you could also start your own accountancy business and employ others. Similarly, going freelance is also an option. And if ever you want to scale back and offer bookkeeping services to other freelancers or self-employed business owners, you’ll be one of the highest qualified service providers around.
A qualification in accountancy offers a far more diverse career path than many people realise, with scope to go as big or stay as small as you like. Whichever pathway you choose, you’ll have financial security and a comfortable lifestyle so it’s a career worth considering.
And you’ll do it all in a stable and in-demand professional sphere that will always be needed regardless of trends, technological developments, or shifting social values.