We really love what we do here at Clear Books and at the many events we run for accountants, we can always see the passion our accountant partners have for their jobs. That’s why we went over the 10 best things about being an accountant a few days ago. But just like any career, there are some downsides – so in the interests of fairness, now it’s time for the challenges! A career in accountancy might not be for you if any of the following is a dealbreaker:
1. You may find yourself doing the same thing over and over again for a while. This is especially true if you work in one of the bigger accounting firms, where you’ll have to do some repetitive audit work before you can move up.
2. There are cyclical periods of time when you’ll almost certainly have to work overtime. When it comes time to do taxes and other big events in the fiscal year, accountants work up to 80 hours a week.
3. It’s competitive. Most of the people who get into accounting are naturally driven, focused, and intelligent, so that means competition for training and jobs can be intense. It’s definitely not a career you can float into.
4. You have to be able to focus under pressure. Accounting is all about making sure that every detail is just right, and when you’ve been working long hours or are under a tight deadline, it can be hard to keep your focus.
5. The training is never all the way over. Continuing professional development is important in this field, so you’ll have to be prepared to keep studying throughout your career.
6. It’s detail oriented. This can be a good thing if you’re naturally more detail-focused, but it can be really annoying and overwhelming if you’re not … and there’s not really any way around it.
7. It’s traditionally a hierarchical career. If you go into a traditional accounting position, you’ll normally have to follow a very specific set of steps to move up in the hierarchy. Of course, this is changing with modern firms!
8. Deadlines are non-negotiable. Making deadlines is really important, since you or your clients can often get fined if you miss them, so if you’re the type of person who likes to push things up to the last minute (or watch deadlines go by entirely), accounting isn’t the best career for you.
9. It’s hard to watch clients make bad choices after you give them good advice. One of the best parts about being an accountant is that you really get to know the nuts and bolts of a business, which means that you can give your clients really good advice about what they should do. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they have to take it … and it can be hard to watch a client do something you know will hurt their business.
10. There’s a lot of logistical requirements if you run your own business. You’ve got to have your insurance and continuous professional development if you want to work as an accountant, and if you want to be a chartered accountant you’ll also have to pass regular inspections.
OK fellow accountants, time to vent — what bugs you about the job? Tell us below in the comments!