A girl doing paperwork smiles as people with different occupations stand in the background

Pros and Cons of Being an Accountant

If you’re enrolling in college soon, you are probably anxious about choosing a major. If you’re considering a career in business, you might be interested in becoming an accountant. Before you make a final decision, you should become familiar with a few pros and cons of entering this profession.

Pro: Job Security
One of the most promising benefits of a career in accounting is job security. Most businesses and virtually all government agencies require the assistance of an accountant regularly. This fact combined with ever changing tax codes and government regulations keep thousands of accountants employed. 

Con: Educational Requirements
For some people, a negative aspect about becoming an accountant is educational requirements. Most employers look for job candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. However, in most states, a minimum of a master’s degree is required to become eligible for a certified public accounting license. 

Pro: Job Diversity
In addition to job security, an accounting career offers the opportunity for job diversity. One may choose a career in public accounting, governmental accounting, managerial accounting, or forensic accounting. Public accountants complete tasks like filing taxes. Governmental accountants meet various government agencies’ bookkeeping requirements. Managerial accountants are employed by businesses such as manufacturing concerns. They keep track of items like inventory and business expenses. Forensic accountants work with criminal investigators and prosecutors. They may even provide expert testimony about computer programs or stolen funds during a criminal trial.

Con: Isolation
Some people view isolation as another con of becoming an accountant. Accountants often work long hours preparing financial statements, computing taxes, or completing other analytical assignments alone. Some accountants may sit in a tiny cubicle for several hours each day. This type of work environment might not be suited for a sociable person who enjoys conversing with others regularly.

Pro: Competitive Salary
If you have ambition, you can achieve a great standard of living as an accountant. Most entry-level positions start in the $40,000-$50,000 range. However, many chief financial officers have accounting backgrounds. These individuals can earn hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars each year.

Con: Sedentary 
Many accounting jobs are sedentary. They require you to sit at a computer for extended periods of time throughout the day. Therefore, if you like to move around a lot, accounting might not be the best profession for you. While accountants can’t change their work environment, they can look for ways to be less sedentary on the job. For example, workers can sit on medicine balls instead of in a desk chair, lift free weights during break time in their offices, and opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. 

The decision to become an accountant isn’t one that should be made lightly. While there are significant benefits of an accounting career, downsides exist as well. By considering the aforementioned pros and cons of being an accountant, you will be able to make the best decision for you.

Last Updated: April 15, 2015