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"Less Compensation For Such Specific Classes...
Not as well paying as I expected. Less concentrated degree's such as office assistant pays as well without the specialized classes." (Cost Accounting Specialist; 2013)
"Accounting Jobs Vary Greatly Across Different Career Fields...
I was surprised by how little of "Accounting" I have done in my current job. Most of what I do is run reports and reconcile accounts. Some people are surprised by the different types of accounting jobs that are available for someone with an accounting degree. Some businesses require an accounting degree to work only accounts receivable or bookkeeping." (Accountant; 2014)
"Technology Changes Fast...
I was surprised that I was able to support my children to finish college with my salary alone." (Accountant; 2014)
"Working From Home Much Better Than Traditional Employment...
The most surprising thing about my profession as a customer account executive, is that there was an available position working from home! It really shocked me how quickly some of my co-workers moved up in the company also. There were so many opportunities and the job is proving to be a huge positive in my life." (Customer Account Executive/Customer Service Representative; 2013)
"Unknown Job Titles...
Most people are surprised at the amount of jobs available to accountants and finance professionals especially with the economy. But with an accounting degree you can do auditing, bookkeeping, taxes, payroll and number of other things." (Accountant; 2013)
"Large Work Loads...
I would say I was surprised mostly by the amount of work you have to do in accounting. I have seen 80 plus hours a week during the busy seasons. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you love to work hard, it is for you." (Staff Accountant; 2013)
I was surprised how accounting related to the research data I worked on during college." (Accounting; 2013)
"More Training Required Than Expected...
I was surprised about how many different directions you can go in accounting. I was surprised by how many hours of training you still need upon leaving school." (Accountant; 2014)
"Challenge And Room For Growth...
It's amazing how many places in business that accounting fits in. Manufacturing accounting has many interesting facets, especially when it comes to managing inventories." (Purchasing Manager; 2013)
"Slow-Paced Work Environment...
When people think of finance, they think of big dollar transactions and a fast-paced business environment. Unfortunately, that is not truly the case and a lot of mundane repetition is required in order to make sure that computations are accurate, the right decisions have been made, and the correct actions are taken." (Senior Corporate Accountant; 2013)
"Variety Of Tasks...
What surprised me most is the number of types of accountants, and how the types differ. I have been in accounting for over 15 years and have learned and done so much more than just crunch numbers. It's actually a lot more diverse and exciting than people think." (GL Accountant; 2013)
"People Skills Matter As Much As Accounting Knowhow...
Accounting is 25% technical knowledge and 75% working with people. You spend very little time doing journal entries and a lot of time implementing control functions, attending meetings, and advising other departments." (Accountant; 2013)
"Communication Between Departments In Extensive...
How much interaction you have with all departments of the business. The hours can be very long and most month-end closings are during the holidays." (Financial Planning And Analyst; 2013)
"Repetitive, But Stressful...
I was surprised by how boring and repetitive accounting can be. I was also surprised at how stressful it can be at times." (Accountant; 2013)
"Need To Connect With Clients...
Being an accountant you have to connect well with your customers. You need to gain skills through the relationships you encounter along the way." (Accountant; 2013)
"Work Load Is Variable...
I am most surprised by the amount of work that is involved. It is a feast or famine job. You are either waiting on reports or timing of doing a report or journal entry, or you are so busy that you have to work 10 hour days." (Cost Accountant; 2013)
I found being an accountant can be very tedious and requires a lot of problem solving. I do not feel as though being an accountant allows me to impact change or difference in my workplace." (Vendor Accounts; 2013)
"I was surprised at how quickly technology changed and my knowledge become obsolete. I had to update my skill sets continually to maintain my position." (General Accountant; 2013)
"I was surprised to find that as an accountant I need a lot of knowledge of computers and computer programs. The work we do is very important for our clients and can be pretty complicated. That being said, you don't really get to dig into some of the work until you've been in the organization for a short time. Until then, you are given lots of small tasks like putting together the bills, pushing through tons of changes on the final report, some administrative tasks, etc. I've learned so much about Microsoft programs like Excel, Word, PowerPoint to where I'm definitely proficient in them now and know way more than even partners at the firm." (Transactions And Restructuring Associate; 2013)
"I was surprised to find that being an accountant was not boring. My fellow accountants are all funny and lively, and we enjoy each others companies. Additionally, I was surprised at how positive it felt to know exactly how well I was doing on a daily basis - "did the accounts reconcile or not?" is a much more concrete question than "how many people did you say hello to?"" (Accountant; 2013)
"I was surprised with how little respect people in the work world can have for an accounting department. If you are to work in industry people are not very likely to comply with what you ask of them, and it's essentially your duty to be a police officer in tracking down necessities for reporting." (Staff Accountant; 2013)
"Difficulty Getting Work...
I had expected there would be many jobs available after my graduation, but it more or less coincided with the big economic crash. Things are starting to go better, but hiring people is not in the interest of companies, it's one of their biggest costs and detrimental to profit. Also, I am 58 years old." (Accounting; 2012)
"I was surprised how many clients had basic troubles with their accounting." (Accountant; 2012)
"I was surprised to find that being an accountant consists of very long and tiring hours. I was always taught to believe that being an accountant is a 9-5 job." (Accountant; 2012)
"I was surprised to learn that auditing required so much documentation paperwork. I was surprised that there was so much involved in taking the CPA exam that I am now studying to take." (Accountant; 2012)
"What surprised me about my career is that its not as simulating as I always thought it would be. My career consists of crunching numbers and sometimes it is very boring" (Accountant; 2012)
Senior Accountant: "The best part of this particular job is the people I work with. We have a small close knit group and everyone is aware of each other's responsibilities and roles, and we are all willing to help each other out. The worst part is that some tasks like data entry can get tedious and monotonous." (2011)
Senior Accountant - Financial Services: "There are good and bad parts of any job. For a senior accounting role generally work expectations are relatively high in terms of output. Significant overtime is often required and deadlines tend to be inflexible as typically your work product is going outside the company. On the positive side, there are a lot of opportunities to help other people/groups within the company. Often, a basic explanation of the financial matters behind a problem help to clarify and quantify issues for management." (2011)
Accountant: "The best part of my job is that it is never boring. All companies are different, so the work that we do for each company is different. I get to learn lots of things about many different companies and industries. The work can require quite a bit of complex thinking. This is great as long as you don't mind using your brain. The worst part of my job is probably the long hours sometimes, especailly during tax season. Companies have to have information for their taxes or need their taxes completed, so the hours can be very long during this time of year." (2011)
Project Accountant: "The best part of my career is the lifestyle it allows me to live. Because accountants are always in high demand, you can rest assured that you will have a good job and some flexibility in where you work. When I go home at night I can leave my work at work. I do not need to work on weekends or stay up late at night to finish projects (generally). The worst thing about my job is that it can get monotonous. I often have to do small, detail-oriented activities over and over which can be quite boring to me. Although I generally enjoy my work, there are some activities that I would rather not do over and over again." (2011)
Staff Accountant: "Everyday is a new learning experience for me. I love working directly with the staff and my superiors. This is the type of job where you have to be able to work independently. Some days can be mundane but we try to make the most of it. There are a lot of checks and balances of course and I love being able to solve a problem and come out with the solution." (2011)
Accountant: "The best part of my job is the enjoyment of helping others understand their financials and even more so educating the administrators and operations team to learn skills to succeed in the future. I also have some flexibility in my schedule because of the travel. I make my appointments based on when I am available. the worst part of my job is the week of the close. While, I am an accountant at heart, I do not enjoy the routine part of the monthly close. I find it the same every month and do not like to be stuck in one place." (2011)
Accounting Manager: "The best part of my job is that I make a good living and my family is able to enjoy some of the finer things in life. Although it requires long hours, it is definitely worth it since my fiance can now take time off from work to raise our wonderful kids. The worst part of it is that unfortunately I do not have a lot of time to be at home with the kids. Luckily I still have my weekends though to take them places such as the park, Disneyland, or anywhere where we can enjoy the beautiful days outside." (2011)
Accountant 2: "The best parts about my career are that my organization supports a worthwhile cause, there is variety in the assigned tasks, and opportunities for career advancement exist. Also, I get along well with the people that I work with, and we often say "How are you doing?" or "Have a good weekend." Basically, it is a friendly work environment. The worst parts of my career involve a lack of clear communication and the monotony of working on tasks that seem tedious and unnecessary. Working in my field involves a lot of patience and a "can do" attitude." (2011)
Staff Accountant: "The best part of the job is that it is different every day. Since I work with a variety of clients something new is always coming up. It makes the day go very quickly and keeps the job feeling fresh. It is very rewarding when I am able to help clients with a financial problem that caused them great stress. The worst part of the job is watching a business fail. Sometimes, no matter how much you try to help and advise the business just doesn't succeed. Also, there can be a significant amount of frustration with computer systems." (2010)
Accountant: "The best part of the job is working with numbers and making sure accounts balance. I enjoy overseeing the payroll and keeping track of finances. There are changes every year and many updates to computer software that make the job much easier. The worst part of the job is the annual audits performed by outside agencies for our union employees, any workers compensation audits, or any general liability audits. Keeping track of sales tax is also a challenge and one that I am learning to do better with." (2010)
General Ledger Accountant: "The best part of the job is working with the Oracle System. I get to create reports for many departments and sometimes it can be kind of a puzzle when you are trying to get the correct information for people. The bad part of my job is that sometimes I have too much to get done under tight deadlines and it can be hard multi-tasking all of the time." (2010)
Accountant: "The interesting part of this job is that you get to see various processes from beginning to end. However, if you are interested in a certain area, you could speak to the manager and he would make sure that your main responsibility included what you like to do best. Every claim and every case is different, and you are rarely stuck doing the same thing every day. The worst part for me is reading contract wording and legal briefs as I am not the fastest reader. I typically prefer to do more reconciliation and reporting stuff." (2010)
Accountant: "The best part of the job is developing an understanding of the complicated accounting required and setting up a process that creates the required information and then passing the work on to someone who is learning the job because the process makes it easier for the new person to understand. The worst part of the job is the constant change taking place within the company: changing management, changing work locations and the push for more information in a shorter time frame." (2010)
Senior Accountant: "The best and worst parts of the job are providing management with the necessary information to move the company forward. Analysis and investigation can uncover both problems and successes. Financial analysis helps management make better decisions and knowing which product lines are profitable and which are not (and why) is imperative to running a business, but time constraints and the accounting software limit the amount of analysis we can do. Indeed, the software system we employ for accounting is more than a decade old and a lot of our work on the monthly reports has to be completed off-line in Excel. Just assembling the reports takes several days, and analyzing the data they contain takes much longer." (2009)
"Lifetime Education And Training...
To be successful, you must have a good GPA when you graduate. You also must keep up with technology (e.g., take computer classes at community colleges continuously or take classes at work, if they are available)." (Accountant; 2014)
"Gain Experience Before You Choose...
In order to make sure that you choose the right accounting path for you, try to gain experience in your fields of consideration. This will help to make sure you are satisfied with your job. It will also help to ensure that accounting in general is something you want to do as a career." (Accountant; 2014)
"To CPA Or Not...
I would suggest anyone interested in accounting to consider which type of accounting they want to do. If you want more money and more time spent in the office, I suggest moving forward toward a CPA, however, if you are interested in the a stable long term easier job...managerial accounting or a similar field." (Accountant; 2014)
"Don't Limit Yourself...
Don't limit yourself to doing just one type of accounting. Try and get a lot of different experiences on your journey so you become more valuable and well rounded." (GL Accountant; 2013)
"Advance Your Career...
While you are in college, I would suggest to try to get your foot in the door somewhere working as an accounting assistant. Don't get too comfortable in a low paying accounting job. Try to advance your career." (Accountant; 2013)
"Explore Different Concentrations...
Finance is a broad field covering many business specialties. It's important to consider each specialty before deciding on a career path. Sometimes the best jobs are available in underexposed business specialties." (Senior Corporate Accountant; 2013)
"When You Find A Good One, Keep It...
Finding a great paying job is work, but the flexibility is well worth it. When you find one, hang with it!" (Cost Accounting Specialist; 2013)
"Hard Work Pays Off...
If you want to be successful in accounting, you need to get focused and ready to work to your absolute maximum effort. If you are not willing to do that, your career in accounting will go no where." (Staff Accountant; 2013)
"Advancement Very Attainable With Hard Work...
Businesses will always need accountants. If you are will to put in the hours the compensation and advancement are very rewarding." (Financial Planning And Analyst; 2013)
"Find Your Way...
Figure out what makes you happy. Money is not always the center of the world." (Purchasing Manager; 2013)
"Keep A Clean Track Record...
To be considered for a position like this, you usually have to have a few years of experience in customer service and it's also good to have a lengthy and positive work record with ONE company! The best advice I can offer is to keep a clean record and not take any job opportunity for granted because the job market changes everyday." (Customer Account Executive/Customer Service Representative; 2013)
"Get The Most Out Of A Four Year Degree...
I would concentrate on a major that didn't require a masters." (Accounting; 2013)
"Interning To Advance...
Intern while as much as possible. It counts towards those years of necessary experience for higher paying positions." (Accountant; 2013)
"Don't Let Hard Classes Turn You Off...
Having a hard time in a introductory accounting class should dissuade you from pursuing an accounting career. You have 2 years of college to get those basics down, and you rarely use the more advanced stuff. An average day consists of very little "accounting". Rather, you perform certain routine tasks and work with other functional areas to make sure everything is accounted for correctly. If you have people skills and want a good steady job, the pain of school may be well worth the pay off of a business accounting job." (Accountant; 2013)
"Initially Boring But It Gets Better...
Take courses focused on math and logic as well as general accounting courses. When you start out, there can be a lot of filing and data entry tasks that seem boring but you'll need to work through them to move further." (Senior Accountant; 2011)
"Keep Your Ego In Check...
Be conscious of the quality of experience you're getting, especially at your first job out of school. Your first role goes a long way toward defining what the rest of your career will look like. Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions. Odds are that if you are in a meeting and don't understand what is being presented then other people probably don't either. Take your job, but not yourself, seriously. The most effective and respected people are generally those without huge egos." (Senior Accountant - Financial Services; 2011)
"Purse Your CPA...
If you are going to go into the accounting field, take the test to get your CPA or other license. You will be more marketable and get better pay. The test is pretty grueling, but it is worth it in the end. Take as many accounting classes as you can and in as many varying areas of accounting as possible. The more you know the better off you will be. Try to get into a job before you get out of school that will help launch you into your career after graduation." (Accountant; 2011)
"You'll Love It...or Hate It...
Even though accounting classes can be a bit boring in school, they generally pay off more than other classes will. Pay attention in your statistics courses and learn how to apply the principles in everyday life. Look for internships in this field before beginning any career. Some people love accounting and other people hate it (more probably fit the later category). I recommend getting some experience in the field so that you know if this is a good job for your or not." (Project Accountant; 2011)
"Your First Job Isn't Your Last...
If you love working with numbers than this could be the job for you. There are so many facets of working in the field of accounting. You may find that you want to work in an office, or work as a CPA, work in Human Resource. It may take years to find where you fit in but in time you will find your niche. Don't always feel like your first job is your last job. Like what you are doing. Be happy to go to work everyday. Learn something new everyday to keep yourself fresh in the field of Accounting." (Staff Accountant; 2011)
"More Repetitive Than I Expected...
I went to college to be an accountant because when I was in high school, we were given a test which the result would be a recommendation of what job we would be good at. Since I was good at math, I excelled in the math section and the result was accountant. What I did not realize while I was in college was the routineness of the job. What I have done in my career which has helped me to be successful is to also align myself with other departments and take on jobs to help people as they become available." (Accountant; 2011)
"Be Thorough And Patient...
My advice for anyone getting a job in the Accounting field is to work hard and practice patience. There are so many times when you can't find the answer to a problem, or can't figure out why you are off by $100 in a $500,000 report. You'll learn that you will get it eventually, just take your time, be patient, and thoroughly double check your work. Practice makes perfect and there will always be situations that are new and you'll have to learn on the fly. But as long as you stay calm, cool, and collected, you'll figure out almost anything!" (Accounting Manager; 2011)
"CPA Credential To Propel Your Career...
Nowadays, to secure a job in the field of accounting, it is a must to have at minimum of a four-year Bachelor's degree in Accounting. Better yet, your employer will favor you more highly if you also have a Masters degree and/or a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). Having passed the CPA exam or furthering your education will show the company that you are willing to go above and beyond the absolute minimum for furthering your education and technical accounting skills. Accountants must be detail-oriented, organized, and must be able to meet deadlines. Sloppy and careless work will probably lead to poor job evaluations by your supervisor and will definitely hinder your opportunities for job promotion. Accounting careers pay well, but there is also a great deal of responsibility." (Accountant 2; 2011)
"How To Get Started On Your Own...
Consider taking on barter clients or low-paid accounts on the side when you are starting out. Look for small businesses that you can help out by keeping their books and managing their records. This will allow you to develop an organization technique that you are comfortable with. Try out a variety of computer software systems that are out there. Exposure to a variety of systems makes you more marketable to a prospective employer. Working with a large company at the beginning of your career helps to give you financial stability and teaches you how to work with corporate structures." (Staff Accountant; 2010)
"Slow And Steady...
Anyone interested in accounting has a lot of job opportunities and I would say that there is job security in the field. The constant challenge with numbers is something that needs to be given particular attention. "Slow and steady wins the race" could be the motto of accounting; sometimes you need to keep an eye on all angles and the only way to do that is to take your time and check your work." (Accountant; 2010)
"Attention To Detail...
Accounting can be a highly competitive field to get into if you want to work at a large company, so a college degree is helpful. You will need to be very detail-oriented and like working with other people." (General Ledger Accountant; 2010)
"Be Flexible When Choosing Your First Job...
Be open-minded about the jobs you get offered. Sometimes you think you like or dislike something and you only allow yourself to try the work you like. But you could be surprised if you tried other areas. Don't be unreasonable or rigid when it comes to your first job." (Accountant; 2010)
"Document Your Spreadsheets...
Understand the relationship between accounting transactions recorded on the balance sheet and income statement. When you reconcile a balance sheet account, you should know where the other side of the entries have been recorded. Think about the next user of your spreadsheets. Develop simple spreadsheets that provide the information required. If a spreadsheet is poorly documented or too complicated, it won't be useful to the next person. When you're involved in an accounting process, make check lists of things that need to be done and when they need to be done so nothing gets missed during a crunch time." (Accountant; 2010)
"Start With A Public Accounting Firm...
Once you get your Accounting degree, work for a public accounting firm for a couple of years and get your CPA. Even though you will have to work long hours during tax season, this will provide you with the best experience and knowledge of many different areas of accounting. Getting your CPA license is invaluable to your career, wherever you go in the future, no matter if you decide to work for a private company or open your own business." (Senior Accountant; 2009)