Why Choose Accounting as a Major?

If you have a strong interest in business and finance, or especially an orientation toward numbers, a major in accounting may be the right choice for you. It’s a major that can lead you into a career field that includes high pay and a very visible position both in organizations and in the community.

Accounting can be a stepping stone into other fields

Accountants learn the nuts and bolts of business. They may be in a better position than anyone else to can know what’s really going on in a business. From that vantage point they are able to learn the skills and strategies that make them unique in the business world. It’s a sought after combination that can lead to positions beyond accounting itself.

An accountant is a very likely choice to become a company’s chief financial officer, which puts you into upper management. When you get that close to the top tier in a business, you can even become chief executive officer and run the whole company.

Closer to the ground, accountants are often put in charge of and entire departments. That gives the accountant exposure to management in addition to accounting. Once in management, new opportunities open.

Work in any industry

We just discussed how accountants can move up the corporate ladder. But equally important is the fact that as an accountant you can work in virtually any industry. If you are a chemical engineer, your employment options are limited to chemical companies for the most part. But since virtually every business, and in fact every organization, need accountants, the list of potential employers is limitless.

You can choose to work for a manufacturing concern, a mining company, an entertainment company, a university or a hotel chain. If you are an accountant, the choice will be yours.

You can also choose to work in the public sector. Demand for accountants in various levels of government is strong and it represents its own career specialization. Still another possibility is working for nonprofit agencies. This is another accounting specialty, but one which you can work in a field that provides strong personal satisfaction.

Once in a particular industry, you can eventually become an industry expert, and once you do you will be highly sought after by the various competitors in the field. You can fully expect your income to rise as a result

Become self-employed

Career in Accounting
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One of the biggest advantages to being an accountant, is that you will always have the option to become self-employed. Most career majors train you for work in a specific job and often even in a specific industry. But an accounting major trains you for that, in addition to self-employment. It’s just a natural part of the accounting profession.

You can become a chartered accountant (CA), and open up your own firm doing accounting work for various businesses. Or you could even open up a bookkeeping or consulting practice servicing individuals and small businesses.

Whatever career field you enter, having a self-employment option is always a desirable feature.

A pay range that‘s well above average

Accounting is one of the highest paying fields available, and this is especially true for CAs. Starting pay for a CA is over $67,000 per year. How well would that work if you have large student loan debts to payoff?

But gets even better.

Average salaries for experienced CAs are over $181,000 per year. There’s a bit of a regional bias in average pay levels to. The highest pay levels are in Alberta ($212,000 per year) and Ontario ($183,000 per year). At the opposite end of the pay range is Prince Edward Island, where average salaries are just under $100,000 per year.

Strong job security

Because of the diversification of industries that accountants work in, as well as the various specializations within the field, demand for accountants is also consistently strong. An accountant can almost always find work somewhere, and of course, there’s always the prospect of opening your own firm.

If you can interpret financial information and are comfortable with perpetual number crunching, accounting is definitely a major you should consider. The high rate of pay combined with the wide range of opportunities can provide a tremendous amount of career flexibility.

Even if you don’t intend to stay in accounting for your entire career, the experience you will gain will help you in nearly any type of business you want to go into.

Have you considered majoring in accounting?

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Although I do not have a degree in accounting, I became a CFO. I always had a love for numbers and money which fits very well with accounting. I recommend that you start in public accounting, get the certification/license and then go into private industry. One of my cousins by marriage was a CPA and was told he was not partner material. Instead he ended up CFO of a public pharmaceutical company. He did very well with stock and compensation. Hewent on to be president of a biotech company.

Wow, I wish I liked numbers more. I’m more of a marketing or problem solving guy myself. Looks like you can get to pretty nice positions

I wish I would have considered more seriously accounting as a major than I did. I hopped right into finance, and didn’t really have as much respect for accounting as I did then. Anyway, it’s a degree that is definitely very useful and very applicable to pretty much anything in business. Accounting and finance roles can be mixed at times, but I would say accounting is way more transferable. That is, I think an accountant would find it much easier to learn finance than someone with a finance degree would find it to learn accounting. Definitely a great degree to… Read more »

I agree JT, it will always be in demand. In fact, the tax code has only gotten more complicated over the past few decades, thus making the profession that much more important right?

Absolutely. I certainly wouldn’t bet against that trend, either. Accounting really helps on both ends. Someone with an understanding of accounting can often tell you much more about a business than someone who has 20 years of industry experience. There’s valuable data in every company’s financial reports, and unlocking it will always be a very good business to be in. Much respect for the boring accountants of the world. ;)

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