Does anyone regret going into Accounting?

  • This topic has 38 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by Nate.
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  • #201527
    garnerr2
    Participant

    In college I didn't know what I wanted to do. My friends and father all said to just get an accounting degree. There will be good jobs available. So I got a bachelor's and master's degree in it. HUGE mistake.

    After serving tables for 7 years, I got my first auditing job. I was so excited to get my first “real” job as everyone called it. After a few months, I started to realize how pointless auditing really is. We nitpick stupid little things to make it look like we actually did something during the audit. Half of the time, we have no idea what the hell we are doing. We are really learning the process as we audit. We aren't helping anything and nobody wants us there. All they want is for the auditors to sign off so other people can think things are working correctly.

    Another thing, the arrogance of the Accounting profession is crazy. You would think the office is full of world renowned surgeons or people that are finding cures/solutions to actual problems in the world. I think everyone is told they have to act like their job matters and not to mention how pointless the audit actually is. The people that speak up are looked down on and won't survive. So everyone goes around smiling acting like their job matters and they are super smart.

    I recently passed the REG section and I am not any smarter nor do I even remember 95% of what I studied. The only thing different is everyone at work thinks I am a step closer to be included in the “club”. It's all a big joke.

    Funny how I wanted a “real” job when I was serving tables but it turns out that job was more real than my auditing job ever was. I actually affected people's days in a positive way. I worked with people that weren't arrogant just because they had some stupid Accounting degree or certification.

    I feel that most are scared to admit their job/career sucks because most people tie their self worth to their careers.

    Anyway, that is my rant. I could go on for hours. I just feel like the whole profession is just a big made up sham because of pointless regulations. We aren't actually doing anything of importance.

    Am I the only one who feels this way?

    #773467
    Martin
    Participant

    I live in Miami and 90% of all my colleagues hate accounting. I only got into Accounting because I was dirt poor, and I wanted a stable job where I could make over 25.00 per hour. I think you have to have a certain kind of personality to love Accounting. Im not going to say what type of personality you need to have because then some people will take it personal. I think I would have been better off becoming an Airlines pilot. I would be making over100K by now without having to learn all this BS I had to learn over the years to fight for a good job in corporate America.

    #773468
    jm962011
    Participant

    Just to play devil's advocate, I don't think being an airline pilot is as great as it used to be. Just like being a flight attendant isn't as glamorous as it used to be. A lot of careers are like that. Do I wish I was a CPA in the 90s or even early 2000s? Heck yes.

    Sure, not all of us are doing our dream jobs but accounting is a great way to a decent life, IMO. I grew up in a lower middle class, blue collar working family. It was right on the line of making too much money to receive financial aid for college but my parents didn't have any savings and definitely weren't going to take on student loans for me. Yeah, we went to the beach once a year but it wasn't anything crazy.

    Right now, I have a job that pays a nice salary ($63k with benefits.. I mean how many other college degrees can you get and be making that much 3 years out of undergrad?)

    #773469
    garnerr2
    Participant

    At least an airline pilot is a skill that most humans don't possess. I really think you could train an orangutan to audit.

    #773470
    jm962011
    Participant

    Don't planes have an auto pilot feature??? (Honestly, I have no clue). If they are trying to produce self driving cars, surely they are going to look into self flying planes. Of course, you need someone to sit there and press the button, right? Isn't that how subways work, and trams?

    #773471
    garnerr2
    Participant

    What happens when the autopilot feature fails? You need someone with a skill.

    What happens when an audit fails? I don't even know how to answer that one……I guess they point to the fact that the report says they don't give absolute assurance and they accept their check.

    Anyway, this wasn't my initial reason for posting. You are obviously someone who does not agree and thinks the profession is a good one. Not who I was trying to connect with.

    #773472
    Martin
    Participant

    jm962011, after passing the third part of the CPA exam, I got very depressed cause this process is taking me too long, so I started searching google to see what i have missed by not becoming a pilot. And they do make over 100K after about 12 years flying. You usually start flying very young (20) and for the first 10 years you make from 30K to 45K, but then you make the jump. I have been working in Accounting for over 10 years and still don't make 100K.

    #773473
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I actually hate accounting too. I often regret getting myself into this career. My undergrad is in business management, I worked as a cost accountant for about three years (hated it), decided to get my masters in accounting so I could fulfill the education requirements, and now I'm trying to finish up taking the exam. I hate accounting more and more every day. All I want to do is get my certification since I already put so much into it at this point. I'm sure I'll ultimately end up doing something totally unrelated to accounting, because it makes me absolutely miserable. Who knows, maybe my feelings will change once all of this studying and stress is behind me, but I doubt it. Ultimately I just want to do something that makes a difference in people's lives. I can't imagine being on my death bed and looking back saying “my career as a CPA was really worthwhile.” So I will finish this up and hopefully move on to something that truly makes me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #773474
    CPA2BEE
    Participant

    I think you hate auditing, maybe not accounting. Try moving to tax, it'll give you an opportunity to provide a helpful service to someone – since that is what seems to be important to you. I work in tax and actually really like it. I enjoy the mental stimulation and challenges the job presents, and I enjoy having opportunities to actually help my clients and make them happy.

    My roommate is an auditor and he hates it, I am always encouraging him to move to tax. But at the end of the day, for a couple of 25 year old we are both making good money and have plenty of room for growth in our firms. Remember you're not going to be counting boxes on shelves forever, that is if you stick with it. I am actually happy with my experience in accounting and am excited to see where I can go in the industry.

    CA CPA - est. Dec 2016
    #773475
    Missy
    Participant

    Just remember there are tons of paths to take in accounting depending on how you choose to spend half your waking life ๐Ÿ™‚

    For me personally I am a bit of a control freak with an incessant need to take care of others. Since the whole mom gig pays crap (but is rewarding) I am kind of the mom at work. Small manufacturer, ~6m revenue with 11 employees. I do everything from reconciliations, to payroll, to financial reporting to the parent company across the pond, to finding our next office to lease, to planning our 5 year growth, to hiring, and working with the external CPA who prepares our taxes for us. Its long hours but fairly flexible, if I need to get out to bring one of the kids somewhere its no big deal and I get to travel to the UK once a year. Reason I got my CPA is I knew this was what I wanted to do exactly, searched LinkedIn and found most people who have this position at this sized company are CPA's.

    I would loathe an accounting job that was the same old same old day in and day out (like billing, or strictly payables), am sure that either tax or audit would not be a good match for me. My hats off to anyone who takes another path but I was adament that my career be something that I take great pride in and find rewarding which I do very much.

    Old timer, ย A71'er since 2010. Licensed since 2012-non reporting MA CPA.

    Finance manager/HR manager

     

     

    #773476
    ABTX411
    Participant

    I don't know what exactly qualifies a job as “real”, but I can tell you for sure that waiting tables can be a super lucrative career if you play your cards right. I did it for 4 years in undergrad, and I have plenty of friends still who made careers out of it. Some of them here in Texas easily make $60-70k/yr, and my friends back in Miami who work in some of the top restaurants are pulling >$200k/yr easily. Not many accountants will see that kind of dough unless they work up to partner status or go to work for an investment firm.

    I've met plenty of accountants with “holier than thou” attitudes, but I've also met plenty of people outside of accounting who just as douchey. Any profession that requires as much training and testing as ours will have its issues (think doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, etc.)

    Do I regret it? Sometimes. I only went into accounting because I had no idea what I wanted to do, and accounting happened to be the undergraduate minor with the fewest number of required courses, freeing me up to take some random electives like yoga, intro to acting, and aerobic dance my senior year. My only regret is deciding too early that I didn't want to go to medical school because I wanted to be a mom instead of an unavailable asshole with a God complex like my dad. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #773477
    TheHoundThatRides
    Participant

    I love business and accounting is a good way to understand business. Studying accounting for the CPA is even enjoyable for me at times. (except for auditing which seems like a general waste of time for me as I never plan on being an auditor)

    I used my education to get a job in government and now I can marry the woman I love and have time for my other passions (reading, exercising). Most of the other people in my age group are still mooching off their parents. So I love that on top of me being good at accounting, it makes me money.

    I sometimes fantasize about trying out for the police but I think about their hours and the true nature of their work and I appreciate my stable career a little more.

    I also worked at a restaurant during college. It was absolutely dehumanizing to serve certain guests who treated you like a slave. I never want to go back to that. I would straight up dread my shifts and have nightmares about work.

    #773478
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I only went into accounting because it pays decent and you have potential to make a lot long term. Also, you don't have to go to school forever to make a decent living (for example, doctor and lawyer). I have been in public accounting for less than a year and already know I don't want to do this long term. When I first started I really hated it but I think it's mostly because I had no clue what I was doing. These days it isn't so bad but definitely don't really enjoy it…clients are always a mess and you don't have a stable schedule. I'm more of a 9-5 and don't take work home with you kinda person but it's hard to find a job like that…. that makes decent money anyways. So no your not alone don't worry!

    #773479
    Andyred04
    Participant

    “What happens when the autopilot feature fails? You need someone with a skill. What happens when an audit fails?”. Enron, WorldCom, etc. I'm sorry that you don't like the profession but don't come onto a CPA candidacy forum and insult it. Keep in mind there are a bunch of different jobs you can get with an accounting degree, you don't have to be an auditor.

    FAR 80
    REG 87
    BEC 87
    AUD 96

    Primarily Gleim, supplemented with Ninja Notes & Ninja MCQs

    Missouri CPA as of January, 2017

    #773480
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Being an auditor is kind of like being a dentist – regardless of whether what you're doing is good or bad, no one ever wants to see you! ๐Ÿ˜›

    To the OP, I would say that it sounds like auditing is definitely not your thing, but that there are other facets of accounting that may suit you very well. Personally I haven't encountered in the workforce the elitist accountants that you speak of. I've seen them on here, but not in the jobs I've had. I think that attitude is more common in large public accounting firms, Big 4/regional/etc., and still of course varies from office to office. The smaller public accounting firm I worked in didn't have that attitude and the auditors that we have now don't have it, either. So, I think the stench you're experiencing can be avoided by getting into a different environment, even while staying within accounting. As far as being able to help people, I think working with small businesses that need someone to help them understand the management accounting meaning of the random numbers on their bank statement would be fulfilling. The public accounting firm I worked at had many small business clients that we worked with on a weekly or monthly basis and we really provided them with insights into their business that they wouldn't have had otherwise. Helping someone realize their dreams is fulfilling. Likewise, being in a management accounting role in a business that's large enough to have accountants but still small enough to have decisions made without too much bureaucracy can be fulfilling. When you're helping make financial decisions that create or save jobs, that can bring a lot of stress with it, but also a feeling of accomplishment. To see someone's kid graduate college cause the job that your financial analysis created allowed the parent to put them through college, that gives you a small piece of helping that kid's future succeed.

    To the topic in general, I didn't realize when I got into accounting how long of hours were required in the field, and wish I'd realized to be able to take that factor into consideration. Work-life balance is very important to me, and by that I don't mean that I can leave work if needed and flex my 60+ hours around other obligations, but that I can be home and awake a couple hours at least on a workday. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I've put effort into finding accounting job options that have a better work-life balance and still maintain hope of finding a career that will be close to 40 hours on a regular basis (overtime for a week a month is OK, but more days than not is not OK!), but if I'd realized when I entered accounting that it was a career that would have the majority of jobs eliminated from my prospects due to the hours required, I might have reconsidered.

    However, overall, I'm pretty happy with accounting. I'm 25 and am well ahead of most people I know around my age when it comes to being established in my career and my life. I've had to work some long hours to get here, but I'm pretty happy where I am. I'm still trying to figure out the key to getting my hours in balance, but I'm already more well-to-do than my parents ever were (grew up on the edge of the poverty line in a single-income family with lots of kids), and I truly enjoy my work. It's different every day, my coworkers appreciate me (most of the time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), I've been able to earn the respect of those who report to me, of my peers, of my superiors, even of Board members. I feel like the accounting profession, and the part of it which I have gotten into, is a good fit with my skills and abilities, and therefore allows me to excel at what I do well.

    So, while I'd change the hours, overall I'm pretty happy with the profession. However, I've never done audit (I think I'd enjoy the Senior or Manager level and above, but getting there would half kill me ๐Ÿ˜ ), and tax really wasn't my cup o' tea, mostly due to the hours. I think finding one's niche in the profession is important, because “accounting” is extremely varied. People who are terrible at one part of it could be great at another part of it, and people who love one part will hate another part.

    #773481
    marqzho
    Participant

    you, the auditor, are important to people lives. Here is how:

    you are a junior and count boxes; you help your senior to finish his part of the audit; your senior help the manager / partner to give an opinion on the company F/S; With the auditor's opinion, SEC or some other govt regulatory will approve an IPO of the company; and regular people will be able to invest his saving in this company;

    If you fail,

    you don't count it correctly; your senior think the stock count is right; your manager/ partner will give a clean opinion on the company but in fact 99% inventories are fiction; SEC approve the company to be on the stock market; People invest $; Bubble bursts; company goes down; people lose his job; investors don't trust the stock market anymore; the economy collapses; people's home get foreclosure; and people start killing themselves.

    So you are so damn important to people lives ๐Ÿ™‚

    #773482
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    #773483
    SAO247
    Participant

    I agree with the above. On second thoughts, accounting probably isn't a field I would enter into if I could do it again. I would probably go into some sort of Engineering, given I didn't really discover what my true interests and passions were until I was in the middle of studying for the CPA exams. That said though, there are literally millions of ways your accounting skills can be used, and it is still a highly important and necessary field. If you understand accounting and finance, you understand about 90% of what it takes for businesses to be successful. (at least in my opinion)

    AUD - 81
    BEC - 89
    FAR - 88
    REG - 84
    ASO
    #773484
    the LAST Coffee
    Participant

    Only chose Accounting as a major because Computer Science wasn't something I could handle even with tutoring. Come on, practically 100% employment upon graduation, good starting pay, and career options? That's why most of us chose it, I know I did. I didn't choose it because I “liked” it, but I have to learn to deal with it.

    #773485
    Mayo
    Participant

    I hated my life as a Senior in the Big 4. But i loved the people I worked with. Once I left to industry I started liking my job again.

    #773486
    SaveBandit
    Participant

    Regret it every day.

    I work in corporate, but your comment about the arrogance in accounting is spot on. Lots of cocky nerds out there.

    Like ASUAlum, I want to get this certification behind me and move on with my life. I promised myself I will not be working in corporate accounting in five years. People get so caught up in the minutia of it all and I can't stand it. “Oh should we breakout holiday pay into a separate line item? Let's have a 30 minute meeting about it.” It's like wow, who the hell cares? It all rolls up into wages anyway. Gahhhhh

    AUD - 94
    BEC - 86
    FAR - 85
    REG - 90
    If you pray enough, you can turn yourself into a cat person.
    #773487
    ecg19
    Participant

    Worked for one of the big 4. I can't say I enjoyed it. I was totally regretting my decision but felt like I had to keep at it since I had “made it” in my own eyes.

    I ended up moving countries and now I work for a not for profit. Love it. I am a financial accountant which I never would have imagined before (I was a tax accountant as I have a law degree also) and it's seriously awesome. I have a lot more ability to change policies and it feels like I'm actually achieving something every day.

    Perhaps you just need a job/role change?

    #773488
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I want to hear more opinions so BUMP!

    #773489
    jessica8926
    Participant

    Do I like accounting? No but for me it was all about the stability and money. Growing up in a household where no one in my family went to college but me and seeing how much my mom struggled to support us made me really not want a life like that. So I chose accounting because I was decent at it and it was stable and would offer good money without having to go to school for 20 gagillion more years like a doctor or lawyer. I now make more money than anyone in my family including my mom who has been working since she was 16. I am 25 for christ sake and have more stability than anyone else I know who did not choose accounting. Thats the real reason I chose it. I do not HATE it as thats a little too strong of a word, but I am content in it. I would be a Vet or Zoo keeper if I followed my passion, but again too much schooling, not enough stability, and I sucked at anything science related. It is also a rewarding career in the sense that if you do things right, listen to your bosses, and take initiative on things you can easily get promoted. I don't have to win a bunch of super difficult cases in court or open my own vet practice or fly a plane for 12 years before making decent money etc. Now that is not to say I am lazy and took the easy way out. Accounting is not easy you still have to put in the time for school and clearly the time for this test if you want to get a decent paying job etc, but it is an acceptable amount of effort for an acceptable amount of money and reward.

    I think a lot of people would say they chose accounting because it was a stable industry. I have never met someone who can say they LOVE accounting.

    AUD - 77
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 75
    REG - 81
    Illinois Certified Public Accountant 2016
    #773490
    FrostywantstobeaCPA
    Participant

    I love accounting, but I'm also not sitting here thinking I'm somebody special. I grew up with my mom working at small accounting practices and to this day she regrets never getting her CPA. I work in industry and love my job and it's not boring. I've worked my way up from an AP clerk to where I am now. I'm the administrator on our accounting systems and I get to do accounting for our US and international offices. By no means is it boring (at least to me). Sure, the fact that I make good money is nice, especially because I made enough to cover us when my husband lost his job last year, but I'm not in it for the money. Had I not gone for accounting, I would've been a neurologist, and I certainly didn't have the money or the patience to go into medicine, so here I am.

    If you're that unhappy in auditing, try changing to industry or another role in accounting, not everything is horrible.

    #773491
    mtaylo24
    Participant

    I like Accounting and the challenges and rewards that it provides. I just don't have the personality for it. I'm too laid back, and most of my Accounting superiors have been tight asses, so we always end up butting heads.

    CPA

    A: 60, 61, 61, 78
    R: 55, 69, 74, 75
    B: 71, 72, 73, 76
    F: 52, 54, 72, 71, 77!

    CMA

    P1: 220, 380

    P2: 360

    #773492
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I chose accounting because I was decent at it, I knew I could get a job coming out of school, and it was good money…PLUS I didn't really know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and my mom was really pushing for accounting.

    Am I passionate about this JOB, nope – but it's a JOB and I don't think I have to be passionate about it. I work and then I go do the things I am passionate about. I do not HATE it and I like the people I work with. I've landed myself in a pretty good spot and I'd say it's fairly unique in that I am not at the tail end of the business (e.g. not preparing returns for the previous year's activity (anymore) nor am I doing journal entries for something that already happened). For a majority of my projects I am at the front end of the process and trying to figure out what the tax impact would be if we did A, B or C or what happens if a state changes their law.

    If I could do it all over again and it offered the same stability and money – I'd definitely without a doubt do something with animals. Or I probably should've considered something in IT – however, anyone I know in IT is kind of in the same boat as me, so maybe it'd the same thing just a different topic. Either way, that's now how life works and it seems like a shame to throw all that schooling away, so for now my goal is to let the job I have now pay off my mortgage so I can eliminate my housing expense and put a bunch away in savings. Then I can go do the work my heart is drawn to without worrying about needing to be paid a certain amount to be able to pay my bills. What's the stupid Dave Ramsey quote? “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else”

    #773493
    gennatay
    Participant

    I don't hate accounting, but I don't love it either. Right now I'm working as an Internal Auditor. I like problem solving and researching. I'm an Internal Auditor now. I love problem solving and researching. I'm currently trying to find my way into forensic accounting or investigator/inspector general.

    #773494
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I don't know if i love accounting. But I do love to help people, and I do that on a day to day basis. Our clients depend on us for advice of all kinds. We are a tax firm that does only a handful of compilations and reviews. No Audits.

    I also have worked in retail, banking and mortgage industries. I went back and got my accounting hours and CPA license at the urging of my wife and family. I don't regret the decision but I empathize your view. Try to find your strength and run with it. Don't let the other idiots derail you and put your fire out.

    #773495
    Mae
    Participant

    There seemed to be a wide range of opinions on this matter.

    I can't say I regret going into Accounting. I think who you work with and your environment makes a major difference in whether or not you love your job. I have great co-workers and we do what we can to keep ourselves sane during the rough times.

    That being said, I don't think I was a normal Accounting Major in college anyway. Accounting was the practical route. I minored in Anthropology and, when everyone else was applying for summer internships, I was in study abroad taking Anthro classes. I have often wondered if my views would be different if I was an intern but, this is where life has led me and I'd like to see where it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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