Many people ask is accounting hard? including being difficult to study,
hard in becoming an expert in, and complex as a career, but none of these ideas are necessarily true.
While accounting does require a complex set of skills and abilities and excellent attention to detail, it isn’t any more complicated than many of the other popular fields of study that lead to excellent lifelong career opportunities.
In fact, for some people, accounting may even be a much easier discipline than other potential options; it just depends on what you like and what you’re good at doing.
To help alleviate any concerns about accounting being too tricky, this post will explain why people people ask is accounting hard, What Are Accounting Classes Like, why you should think about getting into the field, the pros and cons of an accounting career, and what you’ll need to do to get an excellent job in the industry,
What Does an Accountant Do?
First, it’s essential to have a clear image of what an accountant does in order to stop the question is accounting hard. Your average, everyday accountant updates financial information for businesses, government groups, or individual clients. They carefully comb the balance sheets to make sure everything is correct and current. As an accountant, you would handle the numbers and paperwork that most clients lack the time or know-how to handle on their own. Some accountants are employed by large firms, while others are independent contractors. Some work full-time for one company, and some work part-time, putting in more hours during tax season or end-of-year budgeting. Becoming an accountant gives you many options, including the freedom to specialize in a specific area based on your interests. As you build a resume, you could soon get enough offers to pick and choose your work schedule.
What Are Accounting Classes Like
Knowing if you and accounting would make a good match is hearing about what the classes are like. As discussed, accounting tracks a company’s assets to ensure that what’s coming in and what’s going out are all balanced correctly. You’ll be logging transactions, making ledgers, and organizing items into different categories. There are expenses, revenue, liabilities, owner’s equity, and much more. As an accountant, you will understand various numbers and how they are meant to be calculated.
One of the reason people ask “is accounting hard”is that they assume it always involve complicated math. However, just because accountants work with numbers all day doesn’t mean accounting is full of complex equations. In reality, the math used in accounting is pretty simple, relying on essential addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, and a bit of algebra. Moreover, none of it goes beyond a high school level.
If you’re studying business, the calculus or statistics classes you’ll have to take will likely be harder than accounting. So if you aren’t skilled at math or dislike it as a subject, the accounting will be tolerable and not impossible to pass. Accounting gives you the ability to crunch numbers properly, regardless of your math skills.
The bulk of accounting is spent looking over balance sheets. This calls for close attention to detail and remembering all the rules you’re taught so you’ll be able to put the correct numbers in the right spots. Though accounting is based on numbers and a little math, good verbal and written communication skills are also required, as with many other majors. Your professors will take time teaching you how to write for business. Through various assignments as an accountant, you will ultimately become a better writer and communicator.
Why Do People Ask “Is Accounting Hard”
Every subject is considered “hard” by somebody because each subject has complex elements for certain people. But why do so many people seem to ask Is accounting hard? Let’s look at three common reasons for this misconception.
1. They Hate Math
Some ask “is accounting hard” because they think accounting is complicated because it requires math, and they don’t want to do any math. If you absolutely can’t stand math, then yes, you probably wouldn’t make a great accountant. You almost certainly won’t want to major in accounting, study it or try to launch a career in the field because there’s bound to be math involved in what you do on a day-to-day basis.
2. They’re Afraid of the CPA Exam
Other people ask “is accounting hard” because they’re worried about passing the CPA exam, which is notoriously tricky. But here’s the good news: not all accountants become CPAs, and the CPA exam is only one of many optional career paths for someone looking to launch a career in accounting. If fear of the CPA exam is the only thing holding you back from considering studying accounting, it’s time to reevaluate your concerns because accounting graduates have a whole series of excellent opportunities that they can pursue other than becoming a CPA
3. They Think Accounting is Just Number Crunching
Finally, others ask “is accounting hard” because they’ve been told that accounting work is just number crunching, like a human calculator. These people have the wrong idea about what accounting entails, but anyone who believes and continues asking “is accounting hard” and likes working with people would understandably think that accounting is complex since they wouldn’t want to do the work. Just like any other field, accountants are tasked with a variety of different responsibilities. Some accountants certainly will be responsible for doing nothing but number crunching (like entry-level bookkeepers). Still, most accounting professionals are going to be asked to do a variety of tasks. Many accountants spend most of their time ignoring numbers and instead end up dedicated to working with other people to collect information, build presentations, and advise senior leadership about the organization’s finances, using numbers that some other accountant has crunched for them.
Why You Should Think About Getting Into The Field
Here’s a list of several character traits that could help improve and find solution to the question “is accounting hard?”:
- You’re well organized: Being capable of keeping things organized will be an essential skill as an accountant, where you’ll be responsible for sorting through financial data, organizing it, and delivering insights about it.
- You’re a good planner: Accountants need to plan and project, thinking about the future and preparing their clients and the organizations that they work for to accomplish critical financial goals.
- You like working on a team: You’ll do some work alone as an accountant, but once the data has been compiled, it has to be presented to someone who can make decisions based on the findings. Nearly every accountant works in some team, either with other accountants or with organizational leaders who count on them for providing financial advice.
- You can clearly explain complex concepts: For example, reviewing a wealth of financial data and distilling it into a simple takeaway so that senior leadership can understand what they need to do in response to the data is a crucial skill for accountants. Many other traits would indicate you would be a great candidate for becoming an accountant, and none of these are necessary to succeed in the field. Still, if you match with several of them, you might find accounting far more straightforward than you initially thought.
Pros and Cons Of An Accounting Career
There’s a lot to love about a career in accounting. Here are the Pros and Cons of an accounting career
1. There is a clear career path
If you’re studying accounting, you’re learning practical skills about crunching numbers and analyzing costs that employers need. This gives you a much clearer solution to the question “is accounting hard?” than someone who chooses to study English or philosophy, where the potential career outcomes are harder to define. If you choose to pursue an accounting degree, you’ll have a pretty solid idea of where your career will take you. Though there are different types of accountants in the field, the duties you’ll have and skills you’ll use will generally be the same, meaning you know what you’re signing up for.
2. It’s a stable and growing job field
Accounting is not a profession that’s going away anytime soon. On the contrary, virtually every business needs an accountant or an entire accounting team, and even the average person has reasons to hire an accountant from time to time. The job prospects in accounting are projected to grow in the coming years. As long as people need help with taxes and as long as businesses exist, accountants will always be needed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in the accounting field will grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is faster than the national average rate for all occupations.1
3. You’ll have the potential for professional growth
After graduation, you might begin as an entry-level associate, but the growth potential can be significant. Many accounting graduates will start as staff accountants, junior auditors in public accounting, or assistants in the controller’s office in private accounting as they begin to plot their career paths. After getting established and gaining experience, career advancement can be achieved through on-the-job performance and additional education or certifications, like becoming a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA).
4. The earning potential is favorable
Like anyone asking the question “is accounting hard?”, If you want a career that allows you to provide for yourself and your family then accounting is the easiest solution. So how does an accounting career stack up? The median annual salary for an accountant in 2017 was $69,350, according to the BLS. In fact, the BLS reports that the top 10 percent of earners made upwards of $120,000. Against the national median salary of $37,040, that’s an impressive amount of upside. Additionally, many full-time accountants receive excellent healthcare, vacation time, retirement plans, and more. The BLS reports that most accountants work full-time, around or over 40 hours a week.
5. You can work where you want to work
Where would you like to live? West Coast, East Coast, or somewhere in between? Big city or small town? In a mountain range or by the ocean? With some career fields, you may need to uproot your life and move to an industry hub to find work. Accounting, however, tends to be everywhere. From farmers to government organizations to software development companies, seemingly everyone could use the services of an accountant. This gives accountants a fair amount of flexibility when choosing where they want to settle down and gives solution for the question “is accounting hard?”.
6. There is entrepreneurial potential
Starting your own business is the same option in every profession. It’s improbable that a pilot will ever launch their airline, but accountants establish their firms routinely. The dream of being your boss is alive and well in the profession of accounting. Starting an accounting firm could be a great way to advance your career if you have that entrepreneurial spirit. Like starting any business, starting an accounting firm has its risks and may not be for everyone, but it’s good to have this as an option and also helps people to know more about accounting instead of asking “is accounting hard?”.
7. The education is ongoing
If you become an accountant, the learning doesn’t stop once you’ve earned your degree. To progress in your career, you’ll need to plan on continuing education—at least to keep up with changes in the industry and essential certifications.
After getting started as an entry-level accountant, you should look at what type of certifications you might want to earn. There are different accounting credentials, including the CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CPA (Certified Professional Accountant), and CFA (Chartered Financial Accountant). These credentials will all take a significant amount of time and effort to obtain, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
8. The work can seem dull
How many world-famous accountants do you know of? If you’re struggling to think of one, there’s a reason for that—accounting isn’t usually seen as a “glamorous” field. But recognition and glitz aren’t everything. The day-to-day work requires a lot of investigating and math, which can be tedious but exciting to others.
what you’ll need to do to get an excellent job in the industry
To overcome the common challenges accountants face daily, you’re going to need to develop your skills and abilities so that you can do things like:
- Organize and maintain financial records.
- Identify ways to increase value, reduce costs, and improve the bottom line.
- Prepare, analyze, and confirm the accuracy of financial records and tax filings.
- Ensure that taxes are paid both properly and on time.
- You’ll also need to develop your capacity to provide these sorts of services to both individuals and organizations, as accountants may find themselves working with both types of clients.
- At some point, you may be able to decide which type of client you like best, and you can then specialize in one or the other. Still, as you’re learning the ropes and working on launching your career, it’ll be a good idea to understand how to work with both individuals and organizations.
- These tasks may not seem easy, but they’re not so tricky that you can’t learn to do them, and the best way to develop your capacity for them is to complete a degree program in the field.
What Advanced Accounting Skills Will You Need?
Getting your degree will provide you with the essential skills outlined above, but more importantly, it’s also important to know this advanced accounting skills:
- Apply accounting principles, standards, and practices to analyze financial data.
- Collaborate using automation tools, business intelligence, and data analytics to perform accounting business functions, communicate information, and create financial solutions.
- Analyze relevant ethical and regulatory trends that apply to both domestic and international accounting.
- Evaluate accounting processes, systems, and financial data to identify opportunities for improving business processes.
- Demonstrate accounting and leadership skills using automation, business intelligence, and data analytics.
And once you’ve learned to handle these complicated accounting duties, you’ll be able to apply that expertise in virtually any industry, making you a precious asset at nearly any organization.
Which Type of Degree Should You Get? Bachelor’s vs. Master’s Programs
You should enroll in the type of degree program best aligned with your professional needs and career aspirations. For most aspiring accountants, that will mean choosing between a bachelor’s or a master’s program, and the most effective way to decide which program would be best for you is to think about your:
- Current academic credentials.
- Experience in accounting.
- Long-term career goals.
If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, or you’re brand new to accounting and just trying to break into the field, then you will want to look into getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. However, if you already have a bachelor’s degree (in any field), you want to develop the skills and abilities that will allow you to pursue roles in leadership or management, a Master’s Degree in Accounting may be a better fit for you. Whichever program you choose, you can rest assured that it will help set you up for becoming a successful accountant. If you’ve got work or family responsibilities that will need attention while you’re studying accounting, then you should think about getting your degree online.