Accountants prepare financial records for businesses and individuals. They prepare financial statements, tax returns, and analytical reports to help business owners and executives assess and plan for operating expenses and business growth. Auditors examine records to ensure financial and legal compliance in meeting tax and other financial obligations.

Accounting Profession Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the accounting and auditing field is expected to grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026. You need to have excellent analytical skills, a high math aptitude and work well with deadlines if you’re considering a career in accounting. In 2016, the median pay for accountants was $68,150 per year or $32.76 per hour.

The educational requirements to become an accountant start with a bachelor’s degree. In addition, some accountants go on to become Certified Public Accountants or CPAs. Throughout their career, accountants will work in areas of financial, managerial, budgetary and cost accounting. Many work in specialized fields such as:
• Forensic accounting
• Government accounting
• Non-profit accounting
• Tax accounting

Others go on to become auditors, consultants in accounting information systems or enter the field of accounting education as university-level instructors and professors.

Is a career in accounting right for you? Here are some of the pros and cons of working as an accountant.

Pros of An Accounting Career

• Stability – There is great stability in employment because there is a clear career path for accountants. Even with technology, there are ample opportunities for skilled accountants in a variety of work settings.
• Growth – Employment numbers and earnings on the rise and projected to continue growing over the next 8 to 10 years.
• Entrepreneurial potential – Many accountants go on to become partners in or open their own specialty accounting services and CPA firms.

Cons of Working in the Accounting Field

• Work-life balance can be challenging – Accounting is a high-demand field. There is an extremely busy season followed by slower periods. The work can change from high-stress to tedious in recurring cycles.
• Ongoing education requirement – CPAs must maintain their certification. Also, some jobs may require accounts to Chartered Financial Accountants, CFA or Certified Management Accountants, CMA which require specialized training.

Make the Right Career Choice

The accounting field offers exceptional opportunities and potential. For those who can balance the demands of work, education, and lifestyle will find a fulfilling life-long career.