You’ve probably heard your fair share of stereotypes about accountants and the accounting field. In fact, even the mention of it may have you conjuring an image of a bespectacled math wizard furiously tapping on a calculator behind stacks of files and papers.
Despite what many may have you believe, an accounting career involves far more diverse work than computing piles of receipts and dealing with tax returns all day. In reality, accountants are a pretty cool bunch who have contributed a whole lot more to society than just the double-entry bookkeeping system.
From travelling the world to building fintech products, here are 5 cool things about the accounting field that you probably haven’t heard of.
#1. It’s more like working on a puzzle than crunching numbers
There’s no denying that accountants are often good with numbers. However, they are by no means mathematical wizards. In fact, the mathematical skills required to be an accountant rarely extend beyond basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
The truth is, accounting is a lot more like doing a puzzle than crunching a math problem. Whether you’re an auditor examining a company’s financial records, a tax consultant looking to maximise a client’s tax exemptions or just trying to figure out why an account isn’t balancing, accounting requires you to solve problems and work out the story behind the numbers.
So, if you’re someone who enjoys piecing puzzles and figuring out solutions to problems, accounting may just be the thing for you.
#2. Accounting is useful in the most unexpected of places
You may think that accounting is only useful when tax season comes about. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
With the emergence of digital entrepreneurs on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Twitch, accounting can be the secret to a successful social media business. Content creators and social media influencers are using accounting knowledge to manage their various income sources (think advertising revenue and sponsorship deals), plan their monetisation strategy and grow their business.
Online isn’t the only place where the field is advantageous. Accounting also makes it easy for you to transition to become an entrepreneur. Follow the footsteps of Tony Fernandes and Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike), both of whom were accounting professionals before making their mark as successful entrepreneurs.
Many people forget that accounting is more than just bookkeeping. From financial planning to analysing profit margins, accounting is the key to profitability and good business decisions.
#3. There are many fascinating accounting subfields
Beyond balance sheets and profit and loss statements, accounting encompasses a wide range of subfields, some more unusual than others. In particular, the rise of fintech (financial technology) has seen accountants take on a variety roles.
For starters, companies are now leaning on accountants to provide advice on which tech tools and software to adopt for their business. At the same time, there are also accounting professionals working with software developers to build new fintech products (e.g. digital wallets, cloud accounting software), ensuring they perform according to function.
What’s more, these tools are relieving accountants from their tedious administrative duties, allowing them to take on the role of a data navigator. These accountants review rich financial data sets and generate forward-looking analysis to ensure businesses are profitable.
Now, do you still think accounting is mundane?
#4. Travelling and living abroad could be part of your career
If you harbour dreams of travelling and living abroad, don’t turn a blind eye to accounting.
This lucrative field provides you with great mobility. Depending on your role and company, you may find yourself making trips all over the country or jet setting overseas. Auditors, for instance, are often required to travel to client locations to examine the company’s financial records and review their business processes.
Moreover, if you proceed to get qualified as a chartered accountant with ACCA, you’ll have access to global career opportunities. This is because ACCA is recognised by key regulatory authorities and employers around the world, allowing you to seek successful careers in some of the top finance countries including the UK, Australia and Hong Kong.
Even better, advances in technology have also allowed accounting professionals to work remotely, allowing you to review financial statements while relaxing by the pool.
How awesome is that?
#5. The qualification comes with unmatched flexibility
With thousands of graduates entering the workforce each year, the job market can be painfully competitive. In the case of accounting, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Your accounting skills and qualifications are much needed in every company and every industry, whether it’s retail, manufacturing, finance, government or non-profit. After all, every organisation needs to keep accounting records.
What’s more, the flexibility of an accounting qualification allows you to do just about anything. Take for instance these professional accountants who are taking the world by storm. Advance professionally by pursuing ACCA, change industries, switch to other jobs or start your own accounting firm. Accounting provides you with high transferable skills and the potential to become an entrepreneur so you can thrive in any industry you choose.
To paint every accountant with a single brush is doing a disservice to the many accountants who are doing multi-faceted work within the profession. So, if you are looking for a career that is dependable, profitable and exciting at the same time, accounting is the right choice for you.