Becoming an accountant has a lot of perks. You get paid well, you get to dress pretty snazzily, and your friends always want your advice. While accounting isn’t the easiest field to go into, it’s still one that could lead to a very lucrative career managing finances.
If you’re considering becoming an accountant, then there are a few things that you should know about before hitting the books. Knowing what to expect gives you a leg-up over your classmates and prepares you for possible trials that may lie ahead. Continue reading to get tips to help you prepare for your future in accounting.
You’re going to have to learn a ton of math.
If you’re not a fan of math, then you shouldn’t even consider becoming an accountant, because that’s pretty much all you’re going to do. As an accountant, you’re expected to come in with at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in your field, and you’re going to have to be a math wiz to accomplish that.
As an accountant, you’ll be responsible for monitoring the spending, revenue, tax liability, and other financial duties of people and companies. Individuals and companies will be coming to you relying on your mathematical powers to solve their financial problems, so you’re going to have to be sharp.
You’re going to have to play dress up.
One thing about accountants is that they tend to dress sharply—it’s part of their dress code. Like lawyers and politicians, accountants are “suit and tie” people. Pin-striped suits and dressy blouses with pencil skirts are the norms around accounting firms. You’re going to have to learn how to bargain shop for attire worthy of the office early in your career because you’ll need to dress to impress every day.
You will have to put your name on almost everything.
If you go on to own your own accounting firm, then you’re going to learn the value of marketing very quickly. If you haven’t noticed, financial institutions and law offices love to put their names on everything. Guess what? If you open an accounting firm, then you’re going to have to become one of those people who puts your name on everything.
You can also put the name of affiliates on office supplies. For instance, if you’re certified by Intuit to handle their customers’ taxes, then you should purchase office supplies with the Intuit name and logo on it so people will know who you’re affiliated with. Something as simple as Intuit envelopes and pens could signal to customers that they can trust you because Intuit does.
You’ll be a confidant.
As an accountant, people will be trusting you with some of their most sacred information in the form of the intimate details of their finances. You’ll be closely acquainted with their finances, so some people may even come to see you as a confidant.
Whether or not you develop a personal relationship with your clients, it’s key to be loyal to them and maintain your integrity. Accountants are on the same list with lawyers and car salespersons as being people that others are just naturally skeptical about. It’s important that you work diligently to maintain a track record for excellence and integrity.
Your friends and family will want free advice.
Before you become an accountant, you need to be aware that your friends and family will be frequently tapping you for financial advice. It’s kind of like having a mechanic in your family—everyone wants your services, but no one wants to pay for them.
There’s nothing wrong with helping out a family member or friend every once in a while, but you have to draw the line somewhere. If you give away your services for free, then you’re wasting the thousands of dollars you took on in debt to get that knowledge. You’re also taking away from the value of the services you provide.
You have to be able to find a balance between giving friendly advice and maintaining the value of your expertise. If a friend asks you for some valuable advice, then give them a layman’s answer and invite them to come to your office for a consultation.