Accountancy? Cheque it out!
By Christina Matcham
Got your pocket protector? Check. Got your high wasted pants on? Check. Completely deleted your sense of humour? Check. Congratulations! You've just identified a completely inaccurate, yet well known stereotype of an accountant.
Accountancy is one of the most interesting and exciting careers around, with a range of different areas that you can specialize in. So if you like being challenged, learning new skills, and possibly earning large amounts of cash - accountancy could be the career for you!
Why should I become an accountant?
Firstly, it's a professional job, and a respected position. People trust accountants with personal financial information, so it's a career that is generally held in great esteem. Secondly, it's not boring - accountants can find themselves performing a range of services such as taxation, business accounts and budgeting, and in a variety of settings. Thirdly, accountancy is a lucrative career - you can earn a LOT of money. That shouldn't be why you go into a career, but wouldn't it be nice to earn a good salary doing something that you love?
What skills should I have?
Accountants need to have a range of skills:
Math-tastic: Yes, you need to be good at math. Most universities in Canada will require that you have good grades in high school math, and you'll find yourself taking a number of math related courses at University or College.
Get Organized: Have you even done your own taxes or watched your mom or dad do theirs? It's hard work and you need a lot of information. Now, imagine that you have ten to twenty clients' worth of taxes to do - or taxes for a multinational corporation! You need to have great organizational and memory retention skills to remember all of that key information.
Everybody's working for the weekend: Not accountants. While accountants can earn good salaries, they have to work hard for them. At busy times of year, you could be working up to 70 hours a week, which means evenings and weekends. You also need to be flexible. Your clients may need to talk to you in the evenings, or at weekends.
Can you keep a secret?: Accountants deal with a lot of sensitive information that needs to be treated with discretion and tact. People depend on accountants to be truthful and honest.
Talk the talk: You may be surprised to hear that accountants need to have great interpersonal and communication skills. Often accountants work with a number of clients, and give presentations. This isn't a job for a shy guy/gal.
What kind of careers can I go into?
Accountancy is a broad area, so you can use accountancy qualifications for a range of great careers. Accountants work for private corporations, governments, accountancy firms, or often by themselves. Careers in accountancy include:
Bookkeeping: A bookkeeper (or accounting clerk) is a person who keeps the books of an organization or company. This job involves writing up purchases, sales, receipts and payments. The bookkeeper is responsible for making sure that all transactions are recorded correctly and clearly, so that information