An accountant keeps financial records for companies and individuals.
They also might analyze the numbers they keep to improve spending, operations, and more.
Learn the pros and cons of being an accountant.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being an Accountant
- Cons of Being an Accountant
- Pros and Cons of Being an Accountant – Summary Table
- Should You Be an Accountant?
Pros of Being an Accountant
1. Can work at home
Most of the time, all you need is a well-working headset, an internet connection, calling software, and a computer.
This, along with your favorite bookkeeping programs, can set you on a path to not having to ever go to an office.
Some work-at-home accounting positions come with health benefits, paid days off, and mileage reimbursement (if travel is required).
As of 2022, you can continue to expect to see more payroll positions for accountants who want to land a direct-hire job.
That’s good news for someone who prefers not to offer their services as a self-employed provider.
On the other hand, if you would prefer to have your own business, you can do that too.
2. Ideal job for work-alone types
Not everyone thrives in an environment where they have to be around people all day.
Working as an accountant does provide you with some communication, usually with your clients or your superior.
However, it’s one on one and usually by appointment, although you may accept walk-in clients.
You don’t typically have to talk to groups of people unless it’s perhaps an executive team present for a budget meeting.
Other than that, you’re alone most of the time when working.
3. Decent job outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a decent outlook of 6% growth in the accounting field.
You may see an average of 136,400 new openings for the 10-year period to end in 2031.
This trend may continue for the decade after that too.
Even if the field does get competitive sometimes, it still provides you with a steady income.
4. Job security
When you acquire accounting skills, you are not likely to worry about not having a job.
Not everyone can handle crunching numbers as you can.
I know I can’t.
My strength is writing, so if you’re thinking about being an accountant, I commend you.
My brother is one now, by the way.
5. A “living” salary
You and your household can live comfortably on a median salary of $77,250, depending on the type of accountant you are.
Starting out, you may earn $46,803-$76,505 or more per year.
As you continue to seek new opportunities, you may generate six figures or more.
If you want to make that much money, you may want to prepare to become an executive accountant.
Usually, corporations with board members hire them.
6. No strenuous physical labor
The only part of your body that may suffer is your back and your hands if you sit in the chair and type too much.
As long as you take frequent short breaks (5 mins per hour maybe), you shouldn’t have a problem.
There’s no strenuous physical labor as an accountant.
As long as you don’t get carpal tunnel and sit in a strong, supportive office chair, you should do fine.
7. Your pick of industries
No matter what the company is and what its products and services are, they always need someone to keep track of numbers.
The same is true if you’re looking to be an accountant for individual consumers.
Because of the usefulness of your skills across all industries, that gives you the opportunity to pick and choose what sector you want to work for.
For instance, you could work as a health, entertainment, education, non-profit, or banking accountant.
Cons of Being an Accountant
1. Could make costly calculation errors
As of 2022, you probably won’t have to worry about too many errors.
Still, you have to check automated calculations generated by spreadsheet software.
What’s more, make sure you enter items into the right fields and record the right amounts.
If you don’t maintain bookkeeping accuracy, you could cost a company endless dollar amounts.
They might think you or someone is embezzling the money too. Be careful.
2. Potential for lawsuits or worse
Even if you only make honest mistakes, you’ll have the potential for a lawsuit or worse.
For example, you could end up banishing yourself from ever working as an accountant or being trusted by an employer with money ever again.
The problem with making honest mistakes is the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Don’t worry though.
Evidence usually shows who the guilty parties are when it comes to embezzlement.
Be careful not to do anything even slightly shady, not even by accident.
You don’t want to end up fined or in prison, not even if it’s a white-collar one.
3. Not much exercise
The amount of exercise you get as an accountant may depend on if you work at home or on-site at a place that has its own workout room.
Either way, you’re going to have to take the initiative to incorporate exercise into your daily routine because the job of keeping financial records itself doesn’t provide that.
One innovative way people working sit-down jobs move around more is by having a treadmill desk.
I am not sure if I would be coordinated enough for that, but it’s worth a try.
I did think about having a treadmill under my desk for my profession too, which also requires sitting for hours.
However, I instead work manual labor part-time for exercise.
Everyone is different.
Do “you” when figuring out how to stay physically active as an accountant.
4. Potential for isolation
I would often see people flocking to musicians, artists, and other creative people.
Rarely do I see them flock to an accountant.
Some of the isolation for people in the bookkeeping profession happens by choice though.
They prefer to be alone but may spend too much time by themselves and end up depressed.
If they’re also bored, they might end up misusing alcohol or drugs.
Even accountants need to find a work-life balance.
5. Considered a “boring” career
I know my brother, who is now an accountant.
That gives me concrete evidence that not all people who fill this role are “boring” individuals.
Besides, everyone has different preferences.
Making calculations and moving numbers around fascinates some people.
Others consider it a “boring” career or maybe a job beyond their personal expertise.
By the way, if you don’t know what to talk to an accountant about, ask them maybe what their favorite TV shows are.
Otherwise, maybe they like food, wine, or wrestling.
You never know until you get past the fact that they do accounting for a living.
Even if you find accounting boring, remember that our jobs aren’t the only things that make us who we are.
Bookkeepers don’t always talk about money when not working.
6. Isn’t thought to be a glamorous job
Getting back to hanging out with artists, musicians, and other performers and celebrities, being an accountant isn’t thought to be a glamorous job.
You might even work for the music industry, and then maybe someone asks you, “Oh really? Do you sing?” or “What instrument do you play?”
Then, they might look at you and reply, “Oh…” and stammer…while trying to think of what to ask you next after you tell them what you actually do for the music industry.
I mean really, who talks about accounting?
Except for people employed as bookkeepers, I don’t know anyone who talks about accounting.
Then again, I think this is a perfect example that our jobs are not all who we are.
On the other hand, if we love what we do, we shouldn’t have to be ashamed of it.
If you absolutely love accounting work, who’s to take that from you?
If you’re happy about it, people will probably be happy for you.
7. Overload of clients
If you’re good at what you do, it’s typically going to work to your advantage, unless you have an overload of clients. You can’t please everyone, however.
Don’t take on more than you can handle, or everyone will get poor service.
Pros and Cons of Being an Accountant – Summary Table
|Pros of Being an Accountant
|Cons of Being an Accountant
|1. Can work at home
|1. Could make costly calculation errors
|2. Ideal job for work-alone types
|2. Potential for lawsuits or worse
|3. Decent job outlook
|3. Not much exercise
|4. Job security
|4. Potential for isolation
|5. A “living” salary
|5. Considered a “boring” career
|6. No strenuous physical labor
|6. Isn’t thought to be a glamorous job
|7. Your pick of industries
|7. Overload of clients
Should You Be an Accountant?
I’m a word geek, not a numbers geek, so accounting is out for me.
However, if you feel more confident playing with numbers than you do words, accounting is probably for you.
Some retired people who used to run large companies may perhaps decide to take on accounting work for extra money and to stay busy.
Other people want to do it because it helps them support their families.
If you think being an accountant will provide you with the lifestyle you want, I say, go for it.
I wouldn’t do it but wish you the best.