Accounting. The excitement or allure the word evokes falls somewhere between watching paint dry and having a root canal. So, why do so many people of every stripe choose it as a career? Considering the general perception of the job the answers given will surprise you.
The top reason accountants give for liking their job is the problem-solving aspect. They love using their analytical skills to first figure out what the issue is and then formulate a solution for it. They also get satisfaction from the manifestation of their work in the real world – seeing the impact on the balance sheet, getting their client a big tax refund, or helping a business secure a loan.
You wouldn’t normally think that numbers on financial statements can tell a story but they really can. As Tarek Aljasem wrote in his recent blog post A Simple Reason Why I Love Accounting:
“I love accounting because it tells us a story. The language of accounting (yes, it is a language) tells me so much about how you started your business; it tells me your history and where your business is coming from. It gives me a look at where you are right now and what you have achieved.”
Deciphering the numbers to see if there’s a story to be told can be the key to solving a problem. In fact, there is a branch of accounting specializing in this. Forensic accountants are the detectives of the accounting world. They use their skills to audit and analyze financial statements in cases of fraud and embezzlement to solve the mystery of what happened in order to help prosecute offenders. And when is solving a mystery not exciting?
Hey, It’s Your Decision
As we’ve discussed before in this blog, the field of accounting needs to, and is, rethinking itself as more of a consultancy, if you will. And another thing that accountants say they love about their job is the ability to use their financial expertise to contribute to and have an impact on decisions that determine a company’s overall strategy as opposed to simply minding the numbers.
Few other fields have been affected by new technology as much and as positively as accounting. So, it’s no wonder that one of the reasons given for job satisfaction is the chance to learn new software and adopt new technologies as they are so likely to make their work more efficient and free them up for higher-level tasks.
The profession, depending on position and where you work, offers flexibility with regard to working style. Some accountants like the solitary nature of the job and like being left to their own devices. But more and more they have the chance to collaborate with others and other departments to solve problems because the energy and creativity that can come from working within a team can be invigorating. As accounting and accountants take on more strategic roles the opportunities for this will increase.