Math Matters: Should You Be an Accountant? Ask Yourself These 9 Questions First

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Mar 6, 2019

Mar 6, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you know the number of accountants and their staff is forecasted to rise to 3.44 million in 2022?

It's no wonder that going to school for accounting has become more popular. Are you ready for a worthwhile career? Are you great at math?

Have you ever asked yourself, "Should I be an accountant?"

Keep reading for 9 things you want to consider first.

Should I Be an Accountant? Ask Yourself These 9 Questions First

To be an accountant there are a few things you have to enjoy in order to be successful and not burn out. When asking yourself should I be an accountant? Make sure that you enjoy working with people, dealing with changing technology and love numbers.

1. Am I a Good Communicator?

Yes, accounting is mainly thought of as a numbers career but you also have to be able to deal with real-world business problems. You have to be good with words, a good oral and written communicator, and a careful reader. 

What you read and do you have to be able to present and explain to your clients when they have questions. Some clients will have a million questions as to why you did what you did which is where being a good communicator will become a must.

2. Will It Be Enough to Cover My Expenses?

You want to make sure that you're able to afford the lifestyle that you're used to or want to live. There's no sense in picking a career that won't be enough for your needs.

There are accountants that master their craft and grow their practice through word of mouth or work with well-known companies that keep them super busy and an income of over $120,000.

3. Am I Detailed Oriented?

When it comes to accounting you have to be somewhat of a perfectionist. There is a lot of precision and accuracy that goes into accounting. You're responsible for someone else's information which means you have to be very careful and not rush through work.

4. Am I Fine with Being in the Hot Seat Sometimes?

When hired by a large company or any business for that matter the numbers questions will come back to you. You have to be prepared to answer any questions that come your way. A company's leader might come to ask you why something went right or why it went wrong as far as numbers for the year, month or the quarter.

5. Am I Fine with a Busy Season?

There is an intense busy season for accountants which normally runs from the beginning of the year until the tax deadline April 15. You will have long work days, weekend work, and possibly all-nighters if you're super busy.

After the busy season, you go back to normal work hours which for accountants tends to be 9-5 kind of schedule. Some accountants do bookkeeping when it's not the busy season and the schedule tends to be flexible where you get to pick the hours and days you work.

6. Do I Value Integrity and Honesty?

As an accountant, you have serious responsibility with being in charge of an organization or persons financial records. You have access to sensitive information that can ruin an organization or person if it's leaked. It's vital, to be honest, and truthful in all circumstances to protect your clients and yourself.

7. Am I Fine with Dealing with Stress?

Accounting can be stressful so you have to be prepared to deal with high stress mainly during the busy season. Being responsible for someone else or an organization is stressful enough and for multiple accounts, it means more stress. 

How do you deal with stress? Are you calm and collect, or are you anxious and frazzled? Accounting might not be the right career for you if you tend to be anxious or frazzled when you're in a stressful situation.

8. Am I Fine with My Education Never Ending?

Learning in an accounting career is never-ending. Laws are always changing, technology is rapidly changing too. You have to stay on top of your education so you don't fall behind and people stop trusting you.

You want to be the go-to accountant because you know what's going on with new laws and new technology. This will give you a great reputation and increase clientele through word of mouth.

After you become an entry-level accountant there are several certifications you can earn afterward. Those certifications will take effort and time but will put you ahead of others who opted out of the extra education.

You also have to be fine with always learning about new technology. There is a major change happening right now where artificial intelligence is alleviating manual tasks. There are accountants that are embracing this change and working with outsourced accounting services

9. Am I Inquisitive?

Are you the type of person that questions everything? You have to be willing to dig in and research if there's a discrepancy. If you're in charge of an organization you want to safeguard their assets.

If you're inquisitive this will bring value to anyone that you work for. They will appreciate that you go the extra mile to make sure everything is correct. They will also trust you to catch something that's not right.

Do You Have What It Takes?

The question now is do you have what it takes? Hopefully doing some self-reflection with the questions above will help you answer the question "should I be an accountant?" Take time to evaluate each question and be honest because it's your career choice.

Curious about what it takes to become a certified accountant? Check out our post with all the steps you have to take.