Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why Accounting?

Okay. I know this blog is all about being a CA (or an accounting graduate who is about to embark on an accounting career). But let me just step back a little bit in this post and write about taking up accounting as a course.

You see, over a month ago, I received an email from one of the readers asking me (or any of the other writers here) if he should go into accounting. He actually wanted to take another career path; however, he recognized that what he wanted will not be feasible so he is thinking of taking up accounting instead. He listed several of his reasons for considering accounting, as well as several pros and cons (at least on his side).

Let me just use this post to answer his email.

To start with, I can definitely sympathize with the sender. When I was choosing my career path, my first choice was a career in computers. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that was not to be my fate and I became an accountant instead.

So why accounting?

First of all, because of the availability of accounting jobs out there. Heck, even the smallest businesses need accountants to manage their books. Lots of jobs? Definitely.

What about stable jobs? I’d like to say yes but realistically speaking, it’s as stable as the company you are working for but then even the most stable companies (or so, you think) can sometimes go pfft (remember Enron?). Or, if you’re in an accounting firm or you have your own, it depends on the clients that you have (remember AA?).  

Second, it’s not only the availability of jobs out there but also the variety of jobs. You can go from an accounts payable / receivable clerk or head to a finance manager to a bank personnel to an external or internal auditor to a controller or to a GL supervisor. You can even put up your own accounting firm or join the marketing department. I can go on an on with the kinds of jobs available for an accounting graduate and I’m not even getting into those jobs that one can get if one gets his or her license.

Third, it’s a relatively well – paying job. Why do I say ‘relatively’? Because it depends on one’s level and where one works. If you’re just starting, don’t expect the pay to be that good, especially if you are working for an accounting firm. But once you get up the corporate ladder, the pay starts to get better and better. Of course that’s assuming you are working your @ss off and proving to your boss that you’re an asset to the company (but that’s another story better reserved for future posts).

Fourth reason – flexibility. Not only in terms of the kind of accounting job one can handle but also in terms of geography. Big cities, small cities – all of these need accountants. The current trend towards globalization plus the adoption of the IFRS worldwide increased our chances of going to work not only in other cities within the country but also outside the country as well. Right now, I have friends who are working in various countries in Europe and in Asia. They’re also in the U. S. and in Australia. Need I say more?

Lastly, because of the prestige. No matter how other people might perceive our profession, I almost always see some awe in the faces of the people I’m talking to whenever they hear I’m a licensed accountant. I’m pretty sure some of the readers will not agree with me but I’m also certain some accountants have also experienced this.

And those are my reasons for choosing accounting. For those who read my post and who are already accountants or CAs, please leave a note below on why you became an accountant.

Seriously, why?

And that's it. I hope whoever wrote that email (not going to mention his name) will get to read this post (and the readers' notes) and be encouraged to go ahead and take up accounting. Good luck and drop us a note, okay? Cheers!


  1. I am currently working in one of the Big 4 firms and will be qualifying for my CA in 10 months. I generally agree with the flexibility and stability of the profession. The money is also comparable (if not better) than the ordinary business analyst positions in the industry. Working in a big firm also gives you access to a vast network of professionals from a wide range of fields (tax/advisory/finance people and business owners). However, the network perk almost exclusively apply to people in big/medium sized firms. Also, if you are an individual who is motivated by intellectual challenge, you may find your job as an auditor unsatisfactory. For tax, there is room for creativity in your work once you break the junior (ie. tax compliance) level.

    I appreciate all the insight that the blog owner has been able to provide for the people interested in the profession. He has motivated me in starting my own accounting blog as well. I also want to provide my perspective on the profession. Please see
    (I apologize for making personal advertisement in your blog, haha)

    Readers: remember to do enough research before making a career move. Change is a double-edged sword, especially for something important like your career.

    However, I will not be posting until I finish with my CFA exam in June.

  2. Excellent post, and i can say that when i was choosing a career my dad guided my to being a CA. When i asked him "why dad?", his reply was essentially your entire post but in a much more detail since he is actually a CA and has actually done/been through all the things you mention in the post as a CA.

    Glad you mentioned the prestige. It will be hard for CAs or non CAs to gulp, but we are pretty smart people and it is not only be coincedence, 99% of CAs live financially and professionally rewarding lives.

  3. I have a random question that has nothing to do with the post. I'm curious, how many emails does a CA get per day?

  4. you just asked this question on LYFs blog, whats the point of your question?

  5. To Existence out of Scope thanks for your comment. Good luck in your CFA exam in June.

    To Anonymous (the second poster), all I can say is great minds think alike :). The financially and professionally rewarding lives may not be applicable for those who only starting out but if we stay true to our profession, then we will eventually get there.

  6. Availability of jobs - soooo, you're obviously not currently looking for employment in Vancouver, and haven't been for the last year or two? Because there is NO WAY you can say there's an availability of jobs. You're saying that because that's what you've been told, or that's what was true in the past. Life has changed in the last few years, it's not the same.

    Prestige - ahahahaha! Wait, are you serious? Because actually look at you in awe over...accounting? Yes, WE know how much blood, sweat and tears it took to get there. But most people really don't care. Or think we're bookkeepers. No one has any idea what we do, and they don't really care.

    Well paying - not for the first 4 years...

  7. Hmmm, maybe I should move to Vancouver. I mean where I am right now, I'm having trouble getting the people that I want. But I was talking in general here and even in these hard times, I know a lot of accountants who got laid off who found jobs within a short time. Some of them moved away to find jobs, others came back to find jobs but they found it all the same.

    On the prestige - let me get back to you on this. I think you just gave me a topic for my next post.

    Well - paying - I 100% agree :).

  8. nice, blog...anyways....
    sir/ma'am, i need your what are the key indicators why did you say "there are available jobs"?i'm a 4th year accounting major and currently working and worrying on my thesis...right now...pls answer my query as soon as possible...because i'll use your answer as the key indicator in my questionnaire...

  9. Thank you for the insight you have given, not only on this post, but all your other posts regarding the accounting profession as well.

    I am a first year Bcom Accounting student at the University of Pretoria. Although I started reading your posts as part of an assignment, I genuinely enjoy them and find them to be very informative. Although I did a lot of research about the profession before I decided to embark on this journey, it is refreshing to be informed by someone who has been through the process and understands what it means to be a CA and what oughts to motivate one to get there.

    Also, I have a question for anyone who might be interested in answering. I'm only doing my first year so I haven't yet been exposed to other core accounting modules such as tax and auditing... but for some reason I think I have a keen interest in Forensic Auditing. Many of those persuing or having achieved this qualification, who have more insight than I do, find auditing to be tedious and boring. I enjoy a challenge and would like to avoid a profession that does not challenge me intellectually... How different is Forensic Auditing from any other kind of auditing in terms of challenges, type of work, creative freedom and so forth?