My Personal Journey of Pursuing a Career in Accounting

I don’t necessarily remember if my mom or dad said that at Target, I’m pretty sure both scolded me about buying unnecessary toys plenty of times. Ever since I can remember – four years old – I was addicted to all things Pokémon. So like most kids, I looked for ways to get those green pieces of paper for the next Target run. Naturally, I started collecting change around the house.

Then a few years later I moved onto cleaning my house for some money. I started to make more money; excited about the newfound riches, I made a colorful cylinder paper bank to hold my tickets to more Pokemon cards. I put all my money in it and I’m pretty sure I had at least $50 before the maid stole it. I believe that was the first time in my life I was truly sad and frustrated. Months of work went down the drain. I was in a sobby mood for days, but I matured and moved on. After all, Pokemon cards can’t be bought with tears.

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When I was 9, I got into the eBay business. The first item I sold was Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for Wii, which I received two copies of in the form of Christmas presents. It sold for $26.52. This was an eye opener; not only could I make money by doing manual labor, but I could also make money by clicking a few buttons online! I continue my eBay adventures by selling rare Pokémon cards I got in packs, mostly because I gave up on becoming a professional Pokémon trainer. Starting at age 10, I only bought Pokémon booster packs for the rush and the nice, shiny tin. There was also a slim chance of a return on investment with a single rare Pokémon card. It was great, and I continued my endeavors until I was 13.

As I grew older, I learned that the real money was made through other methods. One process was completing offers for small change. It seems like time consuming work, which it was, but after a few years I easily hit $12 on average an hour and $30 per week. For a middle school kid, this was a good sum of money. Eventually I saved up enough money on that site to buy an iPod Touch. (Most of that money came from a $100 bonus I won in a contest for doing the most offers in a month out of all their users.)

At the end of 8th grade, I bought an Acer Timeline (a laptop) with my combined online earnings from a multitude of different sites. I was living the dream; I was able to buy essentially anything I wanted. “No Matt you can’t buy… you don’t even have any money.” was nothing but a relic of the past.

Those experiences collectively grew my interest in the field of business. I was blessed; I looked into business it and it was something I wanted to do. Personally, I think the most enticing aspect of this major is the large salaries: looking at my dad and interviewee’s salaries, I could tell that anybody successful in business will make an extremely solid living. Another aspect – the second most important in my opinion – is the plethora of sick days and paid vacation that a businessman can earn when he gets higher into the ranks.

Personally I wanted to take a look into accounting for it’s solid salary and its seemingly growing field. So, I started reading, and I found that Cal State Long Beach had a lot of information about accounting on its website. The first line that stood out to me was: “The reason accounting may be the best route to a successful business career is because accounting has always been considered as the language and basic tool of business.” This is exactly what I was looking for in a career: guarantee that I would have a job in the future While niche jobs such as a professional video gaming were originally enticing to me as a child, the extremely competitive atmosphere, which demands the highest level game play at all times, was something I couldn’t produce.

In the game World Of Tanks I was a part of the elite players from 2013 to Early 2015. But during my time in the top 10 clans, my skills slowly deteriorated. The sudden changes metagame caused my more conservative playstyle to slowly become obsolete. The new introduction of tanks also caused large shifts in strategy as well as the ever changing game physics; I couldn’t keep up. Combined with prize pools below one million dollars, becoming a professional was clearly not worth the time or effort.

Another enticing aspect of the field of accounting would be the ease of obtaining a job and career “straight out of college” (Lisa); accountants have instant access to jobs in the field. She also notes that entry level jobs are the easiest to find work for, but it helps most if you take accounting courses. “Being technology savvy also helps,” (Lisa) which is a huge advantage that I hold because of my technological know-how. Accounting is beautifully unlike the medical field, because it doesn’t require excessive amounts of schooling is required; all you need in the accounting field is a bachelor’s degree. I believe this is a great trait to have in a career, as for college is expensive and the debt you will accumulate by the time you graduate with your PHD is not appealing.

Generally, accounting is extremely dependent on the economy of the civilization utilizing it. The case study in Romania also helped in showing the importance of an accountant’s work. It is especially important for accountants to take into consideration the economic stability of the country, “The managers’ motivations… become more complicated, taking into account the evolutions of the social and economic environment, in general, and of the company, in particular, which enhance the role of management accounting. In order to be useful, it must be able to assess the economic consequences of the decision regarding the operating conditions, emphasizing the economic and managerial dimension of the informational system.” (Grosu 545).Accountants such as my interviewee must constantly deal with government regulations on their spending.

When the economy is good, the government will allows banks and other financial institutions to take larger risks. On the other hand, when the economy is weaker, the government will crack down on banks in order to attempt to prevent bank failures. For example, when the recession hit America in 2008 to 2011, many banks had to close down because they loaned out money and couldn’t pay it back.

Before 2008, the last bank failure in America was in 1992 (FDIC). This was due to banks lending and investing large sums of money that they didn’t have, then when the economy dropped, money couldn’t be withdrawn from many of the smaller banks. This caused the government to intervene, giving each person who was affected by the bank’s failure at least $250,000. This resulted in huge problems for people who deposited more than that safety refund in their accounts, because the money was unrecoverable. This is why the job of an accountant is extremely important and why the government now demands quarterly reports from the banks.

Another demanding aspect of the accounting is the fact the job is speeding up. Bosses see how technology is shrinking the amount of time it takes to complete tasks, therefore increasing the workload. From my interviewee, “Some the challenges I face by management is asking for reports to be done faster and faster with shrinking or tighter deadlines,” (Lisa), we can see that the efficiency of workers is what makes or breaks a career. But, to offset this, the social factor in the workplace is not as tense. According to my interviewee, younger workers will often go off to lunch together. Another reassuring factor in the job is the lack of competition for work as you rise in the ranks.

When it comes to work hours, according to my interviewee and other sources, the average accountant can expect a five day work week with a 9am to 4pm work day. The hours you do work, as stated before, are extremely work intensive with tight deadlines and little to no margins for error. Luckily, while my interviewee did not wish to disclose the amount of weeks off she gets for vacation and sick days, she assured me it was above 3 weeks total when added together. This is a lot less than what my dad gets, but still a decent amount. Reasonable work hours and generous fringe benefits are more alluring aspects of a career in accounting.

Then of course my biggest concern, which was salary, is not a huge issue in this field. While the summer job you might get as a clerk does not earn much, 30,000 according to my interviewee, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door as you work your way up the rankings. The pay scale according to my interviewee at her location is: “seniors making up to $90,000. Supervisors can earn greater than $90,000. Managers earn more than $100,000” (Lisa). Which is solid amount of money, and considering she does not work at a big bank, more is to be made at better locations; which are the financial centers of the USA such as: New York, LA, and San Francisco.

When it comes to rising up the ranks, “it is easy to switch positions and earn promotions in accounting… Finish off the projects well. Learn as much as possible from the job. Ask questions to understand how things work” (Lisa). Something else I noticed was that once you are a senior accountant you keep your position in the event that you need to transfer jobs. My interviewee has been in the industry for 20 years and when she did transfer jobs, she did not have to start from the bottom. You will remain around the same position of which you left.

Some traits that would help expedite the amount of time it normally takes to rise up the ranks would be perseverance, good problem solving skills, and time management abilities. When you’re given tight deadlines and challenging work, these skills are necessary to excel. Especially with the ever changing regulation by both the banks and the governments, you need to be able to plan out how much time you spend on each project. Sometimes you might even have to transfer your project over to another co-worker if the load is too difficult. This is where social skills come in; you need to make connections in the workplace. Working together as a team is crucial in all jobs, but especially accounting. To work efficiently, it’s mandatory that everyone works together and work toward the same goal.

The problem for myself when it comes to this job is the requirement of organization skills. Organization has never been my strong suit, and yet it’s absolutely mandatory for successful accountants when it comes to projects with tight deadlines. Luckily, with advancements and more integration of technology in the workplace, disorganization will become less of a problem in the future.

Luckily accounting is one of the jobs that lacks much physical exertion, which allows people to work well into their 60’s if need be. According to my interviewee, who is currently in her 50’s, “I hope to last another 10 years in the bank.” So while, young recruits are in high demand, those who are experienced are currently able to fend off the new workers from stealing their job.

A large problem presenting itself in the accounting field is the ever increasing development of technology. Ever since the turn of the millennia, technology has repeatedly shown its ability to replace humans in the workplace – “Humans Need Not Apply (Cgp Grey)” – The concept that technology will eventually replace the need for humans in the workplace has been the reality in accounting ever since the invention of the computer. Before 1980 and the introduction of IBM’s PC’s into the workplace, accountants had to manually create drafts of the year’s finances. The introduction of more powerful computers, allowing spreadsheet programs to run, replaced the need for multiple accountants to recheck drafts of a final finance report. This was the first cut of accountants need in the workforce.

In the recent years cheaper computers with more processing power and widespread access to the internet has both cut down the need for accountants and the amount of money that could be made. Jobs are starting to get outsourced to Asian countries and “I see this field moving towards more automation” (Lisa). The growth of accounting is poised to slow down due to the gradually steady integration of technology that can input data for accountants. As for the outsourcing of work, it’s inevitable. What was once just a problem for labor intensive work, is now a problem for skilled workers. Because education in 3rd world countries is becoming more accessible, the scarcity of jobs in countries such as China the average accountant will gross $220 a month on average (World Salaries).

Meanwhile the US counterpart will on average gross $5500 a month (US News). Simple math tells us that you can get 11 accountants in China for every accountant you can get in the US. This is where supply and demand kicks in: agree to work for less, or be replaced by your exponentially cheaper counterpart across the sea. Luckily, according to my interviewee, “there will always be a need for accountants to interpret data for the bosses” (Lisa). Accounting is a field that can never be fully replaced by automation; the relay of double checked data to the boss and the government will always require a human’s touch.

In conclusion accounting is solid career with a decent amount of break days. The amount of schooling required is also reasonable, and with the ability to start working right out of college is equally enticing. The starting salary for accountants is around $50,000 which is on par with entry level careers for engineers, some lower tier professional tennis players, etc.

The pay will double when you become a senior accountant or a manager which is desirable and will help you live in the upper middle class. It’s also around the same amount of income as an average engineer without graduate schooling. Personally, I would want more vacation and sick days, but according to my dad, they’re negotiable. This is where your social skills come in and you hope you have a nice boss. While striving for my dad’s 2 months off vacation + sick days is optimal, realistically I can see 1 month off within 5 years if I fight hard for the days off.

Then when it comes to skills, I do have the necessary traits for the job, even if my organization are somewhat under par. The lack of organization, I believe will not be that large of a problem in the future because of the integration of technology. But, that leads to the bigger problem: with the integration of technology, the growth of the field will eventually slow down. Less accountants will be needed because there will be more computers doing the work. Then of course there is the outsourcing of jobs to 3rd world countries, especially those in Asia.

I also believe that the average salary in the US for accountants will dip, causing accounting to be a less desireable field. I believe accounting is nearing its, “carrying capacity,” and possibly nearing the end of the career in general – Human’s need not apply. But, as for my own future, I do see this as a viable option for at least my early adulthood. I do not believe it is something I can do forever; like my dad I need to do something new to keep my productivity high. In mid-adulthood I’ll hopefully be able to transfer to another business career such as marketing. But, those years are far ahead of me, and I’ll just have to see where life takes me.

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My Personal Journey of Pursuing a Career in Accounting. (2023, Jan 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/my-personal-journey-of-pursuing-a-career-in-accounting/