The Top 10 Cons of Being an Accountant

Being an accountant means more than just working with numbers on a daily basis.

1. Fierce competition

It is true that there’s an ever-growing need of accountants – but there is also an ever-growing number of job-seeking accounting graduates. Competition is becoming fiercer in the field and higher qualifications, such as a Master’s degree, are becoming more and more common.

In today’s economic environment, you may find that it’s not easy to secure a good starting salary even in the lucrative field of accounting. However, accounting prospects remain better than most other fields – and provided that you’re willing to work hard to stand out, there’s no reason not to make it to the top.


2. Hard work

This may be the number one reason why many people don’t go into accounting: it’s hard work. It takes long hours, an affinity for numbers, patience and an eye for detail. The work entails high responsibility and is at the same time prone to human error, so you may find it tedious and demanding, especially during tax season.

Don’t go into accounting for the money – it will be difficult; go into it because it genuinely excites you, and it will be rewarding.


3. Lengthy education

An accounting career takes long years in education – at least a four-year Bachelor’s degree, often followed by a fifth year or a Master’s degree. Higher education is both costly and difficult: you will need a lot of determination and the ability to plan ahead in order to succeed in this field.

It is difficult to gain admission to a prestigious accounting program and your time in university can have a crucial impact on your future career. This is one more reason to make sure you are entering the field of accounting for the right reasons – including a genuine affinity for the work.


4. Additional certifications

If you’re aiming for a high-paying job, it is advisable to apply for a CPA license. You will need to study hard and pass a notoriously difficult exam, as well as acquire experience in order to become a CPA. CPA certification can take as much as six months of additional studying, which may prove to be a challenging and stressful experience.

It’s not an easy path – but this is also why you’ll find yourself better placed than most if you succeed.


5. Continuing education

It will not get easy even after you land your dream job: you will need to regularly complete additional professional courses in order to renew your CPA license. However, if you love the work, you’ll see such challenges as opportunities to learn.


6. Work hours

Long hours are often cited as one of the downsides of high-paying accounting jobs. This does not usually apply all year round; but during tax season when the workload is high you may find yourself working evenings and weekends.

Working overtime is more likely to happen if you are employed by a big firm with high demands.


7. Tedious work

While accounting is not all about the numbers, you should have a fairly high tolerance for math and statistics before you embark on an accounting career. You will be dealing with financial statements for much of your work day and some of your work may seem routine and tedious.

This is why it’s important to make sure that accounting fits you. If you are meticulous, patient and have a sense of the importance of the work you are doing, you are more likely to thrive as an accountant.


8. Office work

Accounting is a desk job: the work is performed on a computer, which may be a plus to some people and a downside to others. You’ll need to make extra effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get enough exercise.


9. Stress

As an accountant, you’ll find yourself responsible for the data entered in the statements and reports that you sign. These will be checked for fraud by internal auditors. You may also find yourself working without guidelines and under pressure, especially in tax season.

Some jobs in big companies will require you to juggle multiple business operations under different supervisors, which will require good management skills.

It is up to you to consider whether your motivation in pursuing an accounting career will provide you with the energy needed to handle the responsibility and stress.


10. Work-life balance

In high-level positions such as a Big Four job, work-life balance may be hard to maintain. During tax season, accountants may work up to 80 hours per week.

Accounting work is essential to the running of any business, so at times you won’t be able to postpone getting the job done – even if this means working all night or through the weekend. Make sure to choose an accounting job in line with your other commitments and life goals to avoid additional stress.

If you are genuinely passionate about accounting, most of these cons will turn into pros – but even then, don’t expect an accounting career to be easy!




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