There is a common misconception that accountants are a bunch of math geeks who count beans, focus on crunching numbers and have zero communication skills. After years of working as an accountant, I’ve come to the realization that I rarely, if ever get bored with the profession. And I am not the only one that feels this way. In a survey of more than 2,600 accounting professionals, nearly 7 out of 10 accountants said that they would stick with accounting if they could go back in time and choose a different career.
So what is so exciting about working in accounting?
Accountants are exposed to wide variety of career paths and solve complex problems. I will further delve into each of these points and and explore them separately.
Accountants are exposed to a wide variety of career paths
Accountants could make the profession their own. Whether they choose to work for a government agency, school, charity, or professional agency to name a few, accountants could carve themselves a niche in the accounting industry. Michael Tumminia is one example of an accountant who did just that. Mr. Tumminia is an accountant who works with top fashion models. He helps fashion models manage their financial lives and is the voice of reason and limits for the models. Mr. Tumminia says, “our job is to set up their life [models] in a way that is efficient, effective and allows them to focus on their careers.” Working with models such as Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Karlie Kloss, Toni Garn ”has made his ‘very programmatic, very technical job’ more fun and interesting”
Accountants may work full time for a given firm or they may take on multiple clients while being self-employed or as part of an accounting firm. Some accountants move vertically up the rungs of the accounting firm and some choose to move horizontally and may teach the profession. There are some accountants that become high level managers, and others that start their own business using what they’ve learned during their time as accountants. For instance, “Mick Jagger may be known for his musical achievements and stage acrobatics, but did you know he could also rock a spreadsheet?” “While studying accounting and finance at the London School of Economics on scholarship, Mick Jagger reunited with a childhood friend guitarist, Keith Richards” and pursued his interest in music.
Before they launched their music careers, Kenny G and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin worked in accounting. Also, the person who invented the bubble gun was also an accountant. Walter Diemer “was a fledgling accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia when he began testing recipes for a gum base – the part that makes gum chewy – in his spare time in 1928. “He unwittingly created the first batch of bubble gum, making it pink because that was the only shade of food coloring on hand.” Now that’s something to chew on!
As you see there are a wide variety of career paths and many opportunities to explore different avenues and make accounting your own.
Accountants solve complex problems
Accounting is an intellectually challenging and even philosophical endeavor. Accountants employ a set of rules and concepts to prepare relatively simple financial statements that help capture and represent the financial truth of a company. Blogger Matthew Shaffer nicely articulates this: “The fundamental truth about a firm is actually fairly chaotic – a million different things of varying importance are going on at once -and we need to figure out rules for distilling some simple but accurate summary from this chaos.”
Another important point that blogger, Mr. Shaffer makes is that accounting is a ‘philosophical enterprise.’ “The world itself does not label things as ‘assets’ or ‘expenses’; rather, we humans decide which labels we apply to which things; and we set rules for doing so based off of imperfect intuitions and ideas that involve human social ideas like justice (i.e., we want accounting standards that will promote fair and beneficial outcomes for society as a whole via efficiency and transparency) and conservatism” (i.e., we want standards that will prevent managers of firms from being too optimistic when reporting the data).
Accounting helps companies distill useful trends and bring financial order to businesses. Joseph Rascoff, is one example of an accountant who is truly “intrigued by the challenge of bringing financial order to the [music] business”. Mr. Rascoff, was an accountant who displayed little passion for rock n’roll music. Yet, ended up becoming the powerful business manager and tour producer for music powerhouses such as the Rolling Stones, U2, and Paul Simon. “Although Mr. Rascoff preferred classical music, he immersed himself in the rock n’roll business and later in 2013 in electronic music because he was fascinated by the complexities of managing the business affairs of music artists.
Many accountants will agree that they rarely get bored with accounting. Perhaps this is because they have an opportunity to explore a variety of different career avenues and like detectives, they have an opportunity to piece complex things together in order to understand and decipher the bigger picture.
If you require consultation or have any questions related to accounting, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Polina Presman, CPA, CA
T- 416-371- 6017
Shani Marzin, CPA, CA
S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9