Friday, May 28, 2010

Why Accounting...Not!

Why Accounting, Part II

Okay, let it not be said that I am completely biased towards my profession. In my previous post, I wrote about why one should take accounting. In this post, I’ll talk about why you should NOT take up accounting.


For several reasons.

First is, of course, I just want to warn whoever is reading this and is contemplating taking up accounting as his / her course.

Second, as with any other thing in this world, there are positive sides and there are negative sides to taking up and practicing accounting and, related to this…

Third, I don’t want to be remiss in my duty to lay out these negative sides after I have already written about the positive sides.

So why not accounting?

It’s not all about math. Some people, whenever they find out that I’m an accountant, would always comment that I’m good in math. Well, I’m not. If you’re one of those people who are good in math, you might be tempted to take up accounting because of this (mis?)conception. So sorry but this is simply not true. Accounting revolves around the basic operations of math (addition, subtraction, etc.) but there’s no complex math involved (unless you’re also doing statistics and those kind of things). So please do not take up accounting if you’re good in math because I would definitely say you’re going into it with a wrong reason.

Overtime, overtime, overtime. I’ve never seen an accountant not doing any overtime at all. If you’re going in an accounting firm, especially a big one, doing overtime (sometimes even overnight) is a fact of life. If you’re in a private firm, working in the finance or accounting department, you will also do overtime, especially during the monthly, quarterly or annual closing of the books. If you’re going into business and plan to use your accounting skills, the more you will do overtime as the owner of the business who wants to see his / her business succeed. And if you’re going to have your own accounting firm? Take it from me, you will do overtime because of all the above reasons I just stated.

Mind – boggling changes. Right now, we’re in the midst of a lot of changes in accounting and auditing standards, as well as the regulatory requirements. And sometimes, really, just trying to keep up with these changes can zap one’s strength and mind (that’s why I’m writing a post here instead of studying these changes J). College students who are in the midst of studying these changes are lucky, they will get to apply them first before going out into the real world. But what about us who have long graduated from college? It’s a scramble just to learn all these new stuff and sometimes, just sometimes, I just want to throw my diploma and license into the fire and just forget that I’m an accountant.

The sometimes-not-so-good pay. Sometimes I get the feeling that we accountants are oftentimes underpaid. I mean we go to college, study accounting, get our license then we end up working for a salary that’s below what other professionals are being paid. Yes, I know this is not true all of the time but I’ve seen and heard enough to know that there are a lot of underpaid accountants out there.

The bad rep…especially during times when there’s a corporate scandal brewing or blowing up in all our faces. Try to read the news when the scandal breaks out, what do you see? The accountants and the auditors being blamed side by side with the CEOs, the Presidents and the other officers. If you read a certain post here, there’s even a commenter who said (and I quote) that “the accounting business is nothing but a joke!”

And don’t let me get into people who think that accountants are just number – crunching machines with no brains who have no idea what is really happening in the business world and who will never get rich because they have no idea what is really happening in the business world.

And that ends my rant…er sorry. That ends my post on why one should not take up accounting. I hope I did not disillusion anybody. I never regretted the fact that I ended up becoming an accountant (and I’m sure that I’m speaking for a lot of accountants out there) but I’m not blind to the disadvantages of this profession either. And, I think, knowing these disadvantages will help us become better accountants (I hope). So, I hope you don’t feel discouraged in taking up accounting and again, good luck!


  1. Great post. I commented on the last post, and i feel this is an excellent counter to the pros of being a CA.

    I would however tend to disagree with the bad rep point. I mean yea sure in Enron type scandals, we get a bad rep, but thats not necessarily a micro phenomenon for CAs, it more at a macro level. Its like how right now every hates CEO's whereas 5 years ago when the RRSPs were going great, no one had any issues.

    Anyone that says accountants are jokers, trust me without auditors and CAs, Enron would just be one of many scandals. We do serve a purpose, a very very important one. It just gets lost in the little details i feel.

    Keep up the solid work!

  2. Hey Anonymous, thanks for commenting again in my post.

    You're right, accountants play an important role. However, it's sometimes hard not to let myself down with regards to this profession when I go to a meeting with the client and all they could talk about was this or that accounting firm getting embroiled in this or that corporate scandal. And the bad rep is not all about scandals, but sometimes, a low opinion on accountants.

    But hey, if I encounter more people like you, I will definitely be grateful. Thanks for the great and encouraging words in your comment!

  3. Your reference to 'low' pay and overtime are often referred to as a single phenomenon: "Hell years".

    That, coupled with the negatives of tedious repetitive manual work, mean clients, and stress of meeting impossible budgets round it out.

    Although the perverse upside is the joy from surviving your hell years. ;)

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