A career in accountancy is worth looking into. It is a solid profession to be in, with options to train without any directly related qualifications, it has opportunities away from pure numbers, and offers good rewards. It’s a good option, no matter what age or stage of your career or working life you’re at – whether still at school looking into, or already well into a different career.
So here are a few pointers if you’re looking into accountancy as a career:
1. You really need a nack for numbers. Sound obvious I know, but an important distinction to make at the start. We’re all wired-up different, so for some people they have to really strive for numbers to ‘make sense’, whereas say pictures and images can make complete sense. It’s not so much as a love for numbers, but rather a tolerance of them – you don’t mind them, you can work them, and the shear thought of them does not send you into panic attacks.
2. Be able to also think out of the numbers-box. So yes you need to get the numbers right, but the expertise is then being able to present, manipulate, communicate, and interpret them. To be able to see patterns, determine strategies, and help solve problems. The processing side of numbers is actually getting easier with technology and software, both in and out the ‘cloud’, therefore there is a greater need to be able to make sense of these and apply to real life situations.
3. Training can be flexible. Surprisingly you can easily accommodate training around other life happenings as well as traditional full-time study before employment. Infact I’d recommend gaining experience in actually doing accounting before you even decide to do training as the practice can be a lot different to the theory. You then can not only mould the training around your life through say distance learning or online means, but you know it has a purpose at the end of it with real work afterwards.
4. Get all kinds of experience under your belt. As above, gaining actual experience in accountancy early on is essential, as with any other profession. Here in the UK we’re geared to choose a career without this, spend years training for it before then actually doing it. Personally I’d do this the other way around – try it, decide you like it, then train for it. And milk every kind of experience possible – menial admin jobs in your local firm of accountants free of choice, shadowing other accountants, offering to help people with related tasks like book keeping and taxes, or go through a set of accounts and ask qualified people questions about it.
Just go for it.