Things I wish I Knew Before Becoming an Accountant

When you’re considering going back to school to pursue an accounting degree, it makes sense that you might want to know more about the life of an accountant. After all, you wouldn’t want to invest the time and money to get an accounting degree only to realize that you hate the job and loathe the responsibilities that an accountant has.

There’s no better way to decide if an accounting degree is for you than to learn from an experienced accountant. We’ve enlisted the help of a few accounting professionals who shared with us some of the things that they wish they would have known before becoming an accountant. Keep reading to learn more.

  1. Everyone has a niche that suits them.

“My university made it seem like there was a single path that graduating accounting majors had to follow. I soon realized that I didn’t have to take that path” claims Leah Hart-Fanta, the owner of Indie Accountants and an accounting teacher. “I took my own path. I started my own business and now I teach as I travel around the United States.” She put emphasis on the fact that the accounting field is vast and that there are different types of accountants.

While its popular to assume that all accountants are the same, the experts agree that there are a variety of career options for accountants. The fundamentals can be perfected and from there, you’re able to specialize.

  1. Relationships are important.

Despite accountants being portrayed as shut ins, relationships are important to the success of their career. “I enjoy interacting with and getting to know my clients, their situations, and their businesses” says Becky Hoffman who runs a home-based tax service. Fanta-Hart agrees, stating that her early connections within the field have helped pave her way to success. 

  1. Accounting jobs can be adjusted to your lifestyle

It’s uncommon to be able to drop responsibilities in order to start a 9-5 job. If people are dependent on your time, you might have hesitations about the regime of workweeks you have ahead of you. It can be different, though,

Hoffmann is happy that she is self-employed because it allows her to have free time to spend with family and friends. She has modified her career as she started a family, and her business has thrived thanks to relocations and the home schooling of her children.

“Certain jobs need you to be married to them, while others are balanced but don’t have any glamour” claims Rebecca Roddy, a senior cost analyst for Hormel Foods. She emphasizes her belief that it’s important to think about your life as an accountant.

  1. It’s worth it to prepare for the CPA exam.

The CPA exam is a 14-hour long test that’s made up of four sections. Not every company requires its accountants to pass this exam, and individual accountants can build their client list without this certification. Experts say that taking and passing the CPA exam can drastically improve an accountant’s salary and job pool.

  1. Learning on the job is normal.

Envision yourself working as an accountant and being tasked with your first audit. You panic and can’t recall learning about this part of auditing in college.

There is no need for the panic, according to Roddy, who, claims that 90 percent of her work had to be learned on site due to specifics in the industry or her role. Both Roddy and Hart-Fanta agree that college is a good place to start when it comes to learning accounting basics, however, you shouldn’t expect the learning to stop after you receive college diploma.

In addition, you’ll have to keep up with changing policies and techniques. So, if you’re willing to challenge yourself and take on the task of hands-on learning, accounting might be the right career for you.

With this in mind, it’s easy to earn an accounting degree online from Maryville University, and potential accountants are encouraged to look into the school’s program.