There is no single personality type shared by all accountants, but certain characteristics have been found to be more common among accounting students than in the population as a whole. These include the tendencies of being organized, practical, logical and reliable. In addition, some personality traits are associated with job satisfaction among accountants, including extroversion and agreeableness.
Accountants and Myers-Briggs
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a questionnaire designed to categorize respondents based on their answers to 120 questions that test preferences for introversion or extroversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling and judging or perceiving. Although there are 16 different MBTI types, 42 percent of all accounting students fit into just two types according to the "Accounting Editors' Journal." Twenty-five percent tested as type ESTJ or extroverted, sensing, thinking and judging. They tend to trust what they perceive with their senses rather than intuition or gut feelings. They rely on logical thought more than emotion, and they prefer to make judgments about what they experience rather than simply experiencing life without judging. Seventeen percent tested as ISTJ or introverted, sensing, thinking and judging.
Sensing, Thinking and Judging
Both ESTJ and ISTJ personality types emphasize sensing, thinking and judging. They differ only in being more extroverted or more introverted. People with either the ESTJ or ISTJ personality type tend to be down-to-earth and practical, focused on getting things done in a logical and methodical fashion. They rely on facts rather than on intuition and on thoughts rather than feelings. It's easy to see why these would be useful personality characteristics for a professional accountant, as accounting is based on objective fact reached through methodical analysis.
Extroversion or Introversion
Considering the stereotype of accountants as being shy or socially awkward, it may seem surprising that accounting students are more likely to be extroverted than introverted according to an article in "Accounting Editors' Journal." Another article on career satisfaction among accountants, published in "Individual Differences Research," found that accountants with extroverted personalities were more likely to be satisfied with their jobs than accountants with introverted personalities. Many accountants have to meet with clients on a regular basis, so people skills are more of an asset in this business than many people assume.
Other personality traits associated with job satisfaction for accountants include agreeableness, assertiveness, drive, emotional stability, conscientiousness, optimism and customer-service orientation, according to "Individual Differences Research." If you are a practical, detail-oriented and organized person such as an MBTI type ESTJ or ISTJ you may be drawn to the accounting profession, but you will be more likely to enjoy an accounting career if you are also extroverted, friendly, assertive and optimistic. These characteristics are common among successful and happy accountants.