Accountants are an integral component of any economy. They are expert number crunchers, tax savers, and budget decision-makers. Without them, both businesses and families would fail.
Because of this, any accountant that has been doing their job for years would tell you that it can be one of the most rewarding professions on the planet. Saving people money and putting more food on everyone’s table is an incredibly satisfying position to be in at work. Still, like any job, there are some pitfalls.
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Accountant Work Can Be Boring and Monotonous
The most famous and fun accountants in the world are the accountants that get showcased at the Academy Awards every year, and that is approximately 5 minutes of their life. The rest of the year is spent at desks crunching numbers, answering for the numbers, talking about numbers, or just looking at numbers and wondering what to do about them. It’s not an exciting life in the everyday grind.
Even accountants that serve the rich or famous, and that is what many of them do, don’t have fun lives. The field of accounting is one driven by rules, policy, and big decisions. Every big decision requires hours of staring at columns of Google Sheets and Excel and wondering how to make sense of it all.
There is monotony here as well. Every day can look the same but for peak periods such as tax season. There are few days where interesting things happen, and those days typically aren’t good ones.
The Work-Life Balance Can Suffer
Accountants are frequently made fun of for being boring, but the work-life balance can suffer. One accountant at Career Village speaks of the “demands on time” that are unpredictable and create challenges. Accountants are professional time managers, but their home life and personal life could suffer because it is their job to manage their employer’s financial lives first.
The hours of accountants are typically very predictable. This is usually a 9-5 type job experience with weekends off. However, it is not uncommon for high-level accountants to be busy all night long and get calls on weekends about a crisis.
It is part of the job. Managing other people’s money comes with the responsibility of making the decision that your work-life balance will suffer sometimes.
It is a High-Pressure Job
The layperson does not understand how competitive and high-pressure the field of accounting is. It is a job where intelligence and reason are required, and the demand is there. With that demand in this field comes competition.
In addition to that pressure comes the pressure of dealing with bad news and big decisions. The tax season can be the most wonderful time of year for accountants, but usually only when it is over. Once the tax season ends, accountants spend every day after that until the next season preparing for the next one.
Complaining about taxes is something everybody does. Accountants bring relief for this, and every other financial change that happens to many people. The job is high-pressure, and they feel it.
It is a Regulated Profession
Again, the layperson does not see everything involved with the regulations that surround an accountant’s profession. This is a professional position with many laws around that, and those laws are always changing. The more certified or credentialed an accountant is, the easier it is for them to get jobs, and keep them.
Still, it is not keeping the job that worries accountants the most, as much as it is worrying about how to deal with the changes that come every year. During the pandemic, the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was 2,214 pages long. To the taxpayers, it was called the Covid Stimulus Bill.
This is not a corporate memo on lunchroom changes. This kind of day is a little bit of a headache for accountants. They don’t get to decide whether or not they follow the rules, they have to know what they need from them.
It is a Deadline Oriented Profession
Many jobs are not deadline-oriented, and this brings some flexibility and freedom into the every day for the worker. You show up and you go home. Accountants can do that too, but all day every day they look at the calendar.
What needs to be paid now, what money is going out today, what money is coming in today, and what money should be here today? When does this form need to be filed and paid for, and what is the last day that we can do this.
There are few deadlines in the accounting profession that are negotiable. Some people that may crave the boredom of a cubicle with numbers all day can not handle this kind of position. Deadlines are not for everybody.
There is nothing wrong with not liking deadlines. But if you don’t like them, accounting won’t be the field for you.
Embrace the Positive Parts of this Job
If you are considering becoming an accountant, there are many rewarding aspects to this field. You get to see people making money every day. You can enjoy the satisfaction that comes with helping people pay bills on time, and watching businesses excel as a result.
You may also bear witness to sad decisions bringing a business to the ground. You may not have a life at tax time. You may have thousands of pages of new regulations to follow every year.
If you can take it, embrace the positive parts of this job, and you will find yourself in a rewarding career for as long as you want to be there.