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An accounting career has many advantages and disadvantages. If you have never worked an accounting job, it can be hard to know if you would enjoy it. People who like working with numbers, balancing budgets and checkbooks and who thrive on a deadline are usually better at accounting than less structured minds. There are specific considerations you should think about before deciding to become an accountant.
Public accountants work a lot of hours. Up to 60-hour work weeks are not uncommon. There can be a lot of travel time involved if you audit companies in other states. If you like to travel, this can be an advantage for you.
Accounting deadlines are written in stone. Month-end and year-end deadlines are the most stressful times. Don't expect to take a vacation during those times. If a company is publicly traded, missing a deadline can mean fines and audits. The advantage to this is event planning is much easier because you know your deadlines.
Accounting jobs are usually plentiful. Every business needs to track what they are making and spending. Accountants can weather specific industry problems because they can always switch to a more profitable industry to find accounting jobs.
If you don't have a degree, you can be severely limited in your earnings. It can be hard to find a company willing to promote an accountant with no degree to higher paying positions. If you have a degree in accounting you might be able to be promoted up the corporate ladder to corporate financial officer (CFO). Salary ranges vary from state to state and position to position.
One thing most accounting courses fail to mention is the attitude the accounting department faces. In some cases, you are the one refusing to pay an expense or are reporting losses. Some departments will be adversarial to the accounting department. Accounting is a non-profit generating department, so it might be held in a lower esteem than sales or other revenue generating departments. This can prove frustrating to some accountants.
Rissa Watkins has been a freelance writer since 2008. Her articles can be found online at Bukisa, Associated Content and Helium. Her short story "Fly" has been published in the anthology "Elements of the Soul," available on Amazon. Additionally, Watkins has 12 years of accounting experience, along with two years of experience in the insurance field.