#1 Foundation to a Career in Finance
I may be a little bit biased on this, as obviously I’ve not experienced every single route in the world into the world of finance, however, it is pretty widely regarded that being an accountant serves as the best foundation if you want to reach CFO/CEO level of a business.
Throughout the world, a large majority of CEO’s began their career as Accountants, or have some form of Accounting background.
The reason behind this is simple. If you have a strong background in understanding how the accounts of a business work, you stand in a better position than most to make important decisions for that company.
Accountants understand a business from a very wide perspective. Comparatively, someone with a marketing background, or sales, or legal (while VERY valuable skills), might not have looked at the business from such a broad, yet in-depth point of view.
A fifth of ALL FTSE 100 CEO’s are Accountants – This is a fact you cannot avoid when considering a career in accountancy.
Anyone Can Be An Accountant
You may think that you need to be good at maths, or that you’re not the right fit to be an accountant.
I may have thought of certain stereotypes before I became an accountant, but honestly, there are people from all sorts of backgrounds, personality types, intelligence levels & more who are very successful accountants.
You don’t need to be a maths brainiac. I certainly am not. You just need to be able to gain an understanding of concepts and how they work. The rest of it is just putting numbers into a calculator or an excel sheet. There is very little complex maths involved in the majority of accounting. The only complex maths can come into play if you’re auditing a complex investment fund, for example.
As I said, in my year-group when I joined my Big 4 firm, we had people from all sorts of educational backgrounds. Some had joined straight from school, some came from Biology degrees, History degrees, Art degrees….and the minority (like me) came from Accounting degrees. The most successful person in my class didn’t come from an Accounting degree either.
There’s often a misconception that Accountants are all boring, and without a sense of humour. However, I found this to be completely inaccurate. Admittedly, you do get some dry and personality-less individuals in accounting. But for every one boring person, there were about 10 with bright and bubbly personalities. Accountants LOVE going out for a drink after work, and going to social events. The stereotype that we sit at home alone, reading books about numbers while wearing a sleeveless sweater is just inaccurate.
Overall, if you’ve considered Accountancy as a career path, then you’re probably the right fit. You just need to be willing to put hard work in!
This factor is all the more important right now, as we’re going through a period of time where people are losing their jobs in record numbers.
As an accountant, you have an in-demand skill which is needed regardless of an economic downturn. People need accountants whether the economy is good or bad, and sometimes they’re even more in demand when things are bad.
Even in the unfortunate event that the business you’re working for ceases to exist, you shouldn’t find it difficult to obtain a job elsewhere.
At the end of the day, your job is there to pay the bills, and if you can obtain a job where you have comfort of maintaining it during the bad times, that has to be a very big positive.
As we’re currently sitting in the Coronavirus Lockdown, as an accountant, I have the ability to work from home. It is a job which is protected in most scenarios.
Life Skill Lessons
I am confident that becoming an accountant will teach you some priceless life experiences when it comes to improving your way of life.
You will become infinitely better at handling your own finances.
You will become a hot comodity within your family to help them with their finances.
You’ll be better at submitting your taxes (and knowing when the tax office has messed up your taxes!)
You gain the skills to be able to run your own business effectively from a financial standpoint.
The list could go on. Being an accountant has an immeasurable amount of skills which benefit other areas of your life and career.
Good Salary Trajectory
This is the area many people care about most, and I was hesitant to put it in.
As an accountant, you will always earn a decent income, whatever your level. It doesn’t start off that high, but can have very good increases throughout your career.
The reason I was tempted not to put this here is that I think most people who are an “Accountant” as a job title, don’t have an overly high salary.
The people who are really making a large salary from their accounting career are the people who have become a qualified accountant, gained experience, and then utilised their experience in order to adapt into another leg of their career.
For example, a CEO who is a qualified Accountant, or someone who owns an accountancy firm. Someone who has become the CFO or Head of Finance in a business. These are examples of adaptation. A simple Accountant within the Accounting Team of a company will just be earning a slightly above average salary. If you want the ‘big bucks’, you need to adapt and utlise your accountancy foundations!