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Considering Accounting as a Second Career? Read this First

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Making a career change can be a nerve-wracking decision but a rewarding experience. For some it comes after years of indecision, for others, it’s straightforward and easy to take the leap. If you’re considering new career paths and have settled on a role in the accounting field, consider these facets of the industry first.

Ten Reasons to Pick Accounting as a Career:

  1. High demand for accounting professionals across industries
  2. Opportunities for career advancement and specialization
  3. Potential for a high salary and job security
  4. Transferable skills that can be applied in various industries
  5. Flexibility to work in different types of organizations, such as private companies, government agencies, or non-profits
  6. Opportunities for entrepreneurship and self-employment
  7. Work-life balance and flexible schedules in many accounting roles
  8. Ability to make a meaningful impact on an organization’s financial success
  9. Challenging and intellectually stimulating work
  10. Continuous learning and professional development opportunities.

Why Is Accounting a Solid Choice?

There are many reasons a career in accounting can be a valid path for a person of any age, at any point in their current career. For one, it offers stable career progression. Recent statistics published by the United States Department of Labor is projecting 5% job growth for accountants and auditors from 2020 to 2030. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

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A clear explanation of accountancy expressed in layman’s terms, All You Need to Know about Accounting and Accountants has the answers to your questions about a fascinating industry.

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The growth of this occupation is expected due to the increasing complexity of business transactions and the need for businesses to comply with complex financial reporting regulations. With such solid job prospects, individuals of all ages are considering accounting as a second career option. Compensation rates are also enticing individuals from all industries. While this can vary based on firm size, location, and experience, accounting offers plenty of opportunities for a lucrative career.

You’ll Need a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

If your current career has nothing to do with accounting, you’ll need to get the right education prerequisites in order to be considered for any accounting jobs. If you don’t already have a degree in accounting, you’ll need to get one. Few employers will hire accounting staff that doesn’t have some sort of educational background in this discipline.

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Luckily, there are numerous ways to achieve this degree, whether you take online classes or attend courses in a traditional university setting. While school reputation can be important if you’re looking to work your way into one of the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PriceWaterhouse Coopers), generally you’ll find that an accounting degree from any certified institution will be sufficient to grant you access into a variety of roles and companies.

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Immerse Yourself in the Accounting Industry

Transitioning into an accountancy career can be challenging due to the requirement of having prior experience. Often, individuals must start with low-paying internships to enter the industry. Although it may present a financial burden, the experience gained from such internships is invaluable and can increase the chances of future employment.

For those considering the private or public sector, it’s advisable to start with public accounting. Public accounting firms offer exposure to various industries, multiple clients, and the different factors that contribute to a successful accounting business. Job listings for public accountants are worth exploring as a starting point for those considering an accountancy career.

What You Can Expect In Compensation

Of course one of the most enticing aspects of a career change to accounting is the promise of rewarding compensation. According to recent statistics, the mean annual salary for an auditor or accountant hovers around $77,000. However, it is important to understand what you’ll trade in return for such competitive pay rates. Many accounting professionals find themselves spending far more than the traditional 40 hours per week in the office. There are seasons where you may find yourself working upwards of 80 hours just to get things done, especially if you decide to work in a public accounting firm in which you work with numerous clients.

Entry Level Accounting Jobs

There are quite a few paths to take in accounting. Typical entry-level positions include:

  • Accounts payable/receivable clerk
  • Bookkeeper
  • Payroll assistant
  • Junior accountant
  • Tax preparer
  • Audit associate
  • Financial analyst
  • Cost accountant
  • Staff accountant
  • Accounting clerk
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What Do Accountants Do

Accountants prepare and review financial records. They help ensure that the financial records of companies properly reflect profitability and that they are efficiently operating. Responsibilities typically include analyzing data, finance reports, budgets, tax returns, and accounting records.  Accountants might also make recommendations based on their review.  A few typical tasks include:

  • Reviewing financial statements to ensure accuracy.
  • Prepare and maintain financial records.
  • Ensuring that financial statements and records comply with local laws and regulations.

Take a look at this Accountant Job Description Sample.

Get CPA Certified

There are numerous certifications that give accounting professionals a step up in the industry; these will help you differentiate yourself from the competition and earn higher salary rates. The most popular of these designations is becoming a Certified Public Accountant or CPA. Anyone considering a career change in accounting should consider pursuing this certification. Individuals must possess a certain number of years of experience, then pass a difficult exam.

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This test is composed of four parts, and many find they have to retake the various portions multiple times before passing. If you do decide to become a CPA, give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the exam. Always use review courses; going in blind almost always assures failure. Sites like offer study materials and mock tests to help individuals prepare, and it’s best to begin studying as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend on taking the exam for another year.

Before taking the leap into accounting as a mid-career change, consider these aspects of the industry and determine if this position is the right choice for you.

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