What Are the Risks of an Accounting Career?


The accounting industry is a service industry that provides technical assistance to companies for recording and reporting financial information. The accounting industry is comprised of two specific fields: public and private accounting. Public accountants work in accounting firms and provide accounting services like auditing, assurance, tax planning and general accounting. Private accountants work directly for companies, completing tasks such as general accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable and corporate finance functions. Both accounting fields usually require professional licensing.

Career Risks

  • Accounting is a highly technical career and requires a great deal of education and on-the-job training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the accounting industry is expected to grow much faster than average employment growth from 2008 to 2018. This growth may create a lot of competition for accounting jobs among qualified candidates. Individuals who fail to meet certain job requirements or do not have a professional license may be overlooked for well-paying jobs.

    Although the BLS projects almost 280,000 new jobs in the accounting field in their 10-year analysis, the specific types of accounting jobs may differ from a candidate's qualifications. Shifts from public accounting jobs to private accounting jobs may also not be considered in this estimate.

Lifestyle Risks

  • Accountants may experience a difficult work-life balance. While most accounting jobs require only 40-hour work weeks, most accountants work extra hours during month-end close or tax season. These extra hours may not be included in certain pay plans in the accounting industry. Public accountants usually get overtime pay during tax season while private accountants may not get paid extra when closing out accounting periods. Extra time spent on the job means less time at home with family or loved ones.

    Accountants with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) license are usually required to enroll in continuing professional education (CPE) courses. CPE courses ensure that licensed accountants stay abreast of current accounting issues. However, time spent in these courses is usually not reimbursed by employers and takes away from the individual's private life.

Health Risks

  • Sedentary accounting jobs may create several types of physical ailments. Common injuries include back, neck, wrist and eye pain. These ailments usually start when individuals sit with poor posture in their cubicle or stare at computers and endless amounts of paperwork. JustCancer.org notes that men in sedentary jobs may be more prone to developing prostate cancer. Accountants must spend more time exercising and eating right to negate the effects of their sedentary work habits.

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