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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.

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. According to recent statistics published by the United States Department of Labor, job growth for both accountants and auditors is forecasted to increase by a whopping 12 percent before 2022. 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; in 2018, the median salary for auditors and accountants came in at $67,190. While this can vary based on firm size, location, and experience, accounting offers plenty of opportunity 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 pre-requisites 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. 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.

“What you’ll think of an accounting career depends on your personality, working style and life priorities. Once you understand the possible pros and cons of an accounting career, you can make an informed decision on whether it’s the right career path for you.” – Rasmussen College

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Immerse Yourself in the accounting Industry

One of the biggest struggles you’ll encounter during a career change into accountancy is the need for experience. Many find that they must first take low-paying internships to gain access to the industry. While it can be a financial struggle for many, the experience gained in these internships can be invaluable to future employers and cement your chances of being gainfully employed in years to come. When it comes to the private and the public sector, career changers should consider public accounting first. Working in a public accounting firm can give you experience in a wide variety of industries, including working with multiple clients and gaining an understanding of the various aspects that play into a successful accounting business. Check out the job listings for public accountants.

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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 $75,000. 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:

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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.

In accounting, there are a variety of jobs that may suit you. Many of these jobs also offer a great income! The majority of accountants who worked for tax, payroll, and bookkeeping services, averaged $75,000 a year. However, there are far more jobs and many of them can help you to earn far more!

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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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