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Old 06-13-2010, 07:01 PM
 
125 posts, read 664,467 times
Reputation: 134

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I see all these posts about everyone switching careers to accounting and thinking about taking the CPA exam. Well think twice before you head down that road and the opportunity costs of doing so.

Now granted, there ARE jobs in the accounting field. An accounting education is a good background for a lot of different sectors. However, they really don't pay much for the amount of education, time, and hard work involved.

About 20% of accounting grads will end up working in public accounting for one of the big 4/top ten firms making $45-$50k in their first year. Not everyone switching to accounting will get these jobs. You need to have AT LEAST a 3.5 gpa, internship experience, and have gone to a feeder school that firms recruit from.

The other 80% will be lucky if they will make more than $18/hour after 3 years. Accounting is starting to become like law school, if you cant get into a Tier 1 firm then you probably shouldn't even major in accounting. There are much easier ways to make $18/hour.

IMHO, it is pretty difficult to get an entry level job in accounting without any experience or software knowledge. So think hard about switching to the accounting field. I advice you to look at some of the job postings and see what skills they are looking for. And ask yourself if there are better career choices than accounting.

below are some typical job postings for accountants:

Our client is looking for a staff accountant to start immediately
Duties:
- Reviewing general ledger accounts and preparing and adjusting journal entries
- Performing accounting analysis and reconciliation, including bank statement and intercompany general ledger accounts
- Maintaining the general ledger chart of accounts
- Assisting with Month end close and preparation of financial statements.
- Other duties as required by the accounting manager
The staff accountant must possess attention to detail and solid communication abilities. Candidates must have a bachelorís degree and 4+ years of general ledger accounting experience is required Experience with Great Plains or another ERP software is required. This position pays up to $18 per hour depending on experience. For immediate consideration, please email your resume



Tax Associate ( Financial District)


Tax consulting firm in financial district is seeking a qualified candidate with the following:
Entry level tax associate 1 to 2 years of corporate tax experience.
∑ Prepare tax returns for more complex corporation
∑ Utilize tax-related software to prepare and process returns and research tax matters.
∑ Respond to inquiries from the IRS and other tax authorities


Location: Financial District
Compensation: $29,500 to $35,000


These job postings are typical. Accounting isn't the holy grail everyone thinks it is.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Spokane via Sydney,Australia
6,608 posts, read 6,966,626 times
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Another sign of the times is the number of degreed accountants competing for Full charge Bookkeeping positions.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:08 PM
 
25,169 posts, read 34,385,244 times
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My friend has a master's degree in accounting. She does accounting work. She told me she hates it because she has to do all of the financial junk work that nobody else wants to do. And it's incredibly repetitious. She lives comfortably in a moderate sized home though.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:18 PM
 
2,071 posts, read 1,853,926 times
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accounting is becoming popular b/c it's one of the few degrees at today's universities that's tangible.

accounting
computer science
and a handfull of others but that's it


in a day and age where so many have degrees and the employment situation like it is people are re-thinking the whole "liberal arts" type degree and plan.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
1,968 posts, read 4,492,448 times
Reputation: 2554
That has not been my experience at all. First of all, an accounting degree allows you to do so much more than just accounting. The CPA opens even more doors---way beyond public accounting. I've used my accounting degree for everything from working in the healthcare industry to financial analysis to taxes to financial planning.

My accounting degree has allowed me to change careers several times and that alone is worth the price I paid for college. BTW, never worked for a big 4, went to a public school, and my GPA is 3.5. My pay has always allowed me to live comfortably--not rich, but have a house and savings.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:48 PM
 
125 posts, read 664,467 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by bande1102 View Post
That has not been my experience at all. First of all, an accounting degree allows you to do so much more than just accounting. The CPA opens even more doors---way beyond public accounting. I've used my accounting degree for everything from working in the healthcare industry to financial analysis to taxes to financial planning.

My accounting degree has allowed me to change careers several times and that alone is worth the price I paid for college. BTW, never worked for a big 4, went to a public school, and my GPA is 3.5. My pay has always allowed me to live comfortably--not rich, but have a house and savings.
What year did you graduate with a degree in accounting?

I ask because I'm talking about the accounting field TODAY. Things have changed a lot with the past 5 years. In TODAY's marketing getting a lucrative entry level job is hard.

people you graduated a decade ago and have years of experience obviously have it a little easier. BUT in TODAY's market employers want years of experience, high gpa, and software knowledge for low ball salaries.

Also, how many years experience do you have and how much do you make?
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:32 PM
 
Location: NYC
305 posts, read 632,353 times
Reputation: 143
I have worked in accounting for the past 25 years, in fact I started out doing Bookkeeping in high school.

Several times people expect me to go back to school for my degree in accounting, in fact most employers know I am in school but dont even realize that my major is not accounting. Here is why, most of the time I am finding out the jobs were you can really make money like 90k -100k has so much competition, and with today's market most employers ARE hiring Full Charge Bookkeeper and working them like they are CPA

In fact I have seen position for Bookkeepers in which the employer is looking for the ideal candiate to have a CPA or looking to obtain one.

My question is, is the employer going to pay you for the work and money you put into that CPA most likely not.

I can't tell you how many times in my career I have worked 60+ hours per week while only being paid for 40, due to being salary.

Most of the time these employers dont want to pay accountants overtime but they want you to work overtime.

I dont know if I can say that the career has changed or is it simply my expectation has changed. I have decided to move forward into the medical field. I love working with people and making a difference, I also like it when I work past 40 hours and actually get paid time and a half for it.

Once I complete my degree and get a job in the medical field this will be the first time I every received overtime in 25 years
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:39 PM
 
243 posts, read 995,828 times
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thanks for the thread misc.random, i'm going to drop out of my accounting program tomorrow because of this...btw...did you major in Accounting or are you just making this thread for fun???
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
2,367 posts, read 3,627,408 times
Reputation: 6106
Quote:
Originally Posted by misc.random View Post
. . . The other 80% will be lucky if they will make more than $18/hour after 3 years. Accounting is starting to become like law school, if you cant get into a Tier 1 firm then you probably shouldn't even major in accounting. There are much easier ways to make $18/hour. . .
Gee, making $18/hour sounds pretty good right now, since I was laid off from my job last November. I was only making $13.88 after 5 years, and haven't been able to find another one since. Think I'll stick with my Accounting degree program. Thanks for the heads up though!
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:23 PM
 
43,177 posts, read 47,049,205 times
Reputation: 13668
The CPA has always been the key to accountants degrees.Without one you might as well have a general business degree.
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