What does it really mean to be an accountant and is it worth it?

When it comes to professional stereotypes, accounting is often associated with negative epithets. You must have heard that being an accountant is boring, that the job is tedious, monotonous and involves preparing tax returns and mathematical equations.

Many people find accounting careers satisfying, both personally and financially. However, these “rewards” come with hard work. Working long hours, the work-life balance is often lost. According to a number of studies, around 40% of accountants check their emails after hours or work while sick. And 60% admit that work has ruined their relationship because they have no time for their loved ones, let alone a hobby or sport. Sometimes stress levels motivate us, but if they are too high they drain us and reduce productivity. When you have responsibility for an organisation’s finances, there will always be some pressure and it is inevitable. The more clients you have and the more paperwork you work with, the more tension you will face at work. But whether this pressure leads to negative stress levels depends entirely on your attitude.

To be a good accountant, it’s not enough to be stress-resistant. You need to be adaptable, diligent, dedicated and pay close attention to detail. Working in high-stress situations and meeting strict and demanding deadlines requires you to have good organisational skills. Accountants communicate with a wide range of people, so you need to be friendly, which helps establish trust with clients and other stakeholders.

So looking so far we’ve only listed the things that an accounting career could take away and you’re probably asking yourself, is it even worth it?

There is tremendous potential for career advancement in the accounting field. Most people and every company in every industry need an accountant, so there can be no lack of diversity in the line of work. You don’t have to work in an accountancy firm – if you have an interest in sport, for example, you could work as an accountant for a sports organisation. There are also different levels of accountants that are required – partner or chief financial officer of a company, which are very important and respectable positions.

Also, the work is extremely varied. One day you’ll be preparing various reports and analyses for the board regarding the company’s financial position and performance, the next you may be assessing the tax impact of high-level transactions proposed by the management team. Always working closely with the finance team and other key stakeholders in the business.

Accounting enables you to get involved in the business and understand its strategy, while providing useful information and analysis to help make financial decisions. And the stress? If you are motivated and balanced enough you will absolutely forget about it.

Author: Ana Petrova