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Old 07-26-2009, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Tampa
3,975 posts, read 6,820,116 times
Reputation: 1110
Default Accounting Today

Can anyone give me some info on what the career is like today?

Hours, conditions, salaries, etc?

And for those of you in the field, would you do it again if you had to do it all over again?


Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Edwardsville, IL
1,815 posts, read 1,129,335 times
Reputation: 1472
I am entering my 15th year as an accounting professional (specifically, a Controller) and I will say that the industry is facing its greatest challenges ever with Sarbanes-Oxley and heightened scrunity after the fallout of the phony bubbles (Enron, WorldCom, ad nauseum).
As more companies are trying to do more with less, contemporary accountants of a senior level or above can expect longer hours, particularly around key dates (closing cycles, 10K/SEC filing, taxation events for public, etc.). Audits always suck, internal or external.
Accountants will never make the most money in an organization, nor will they be the most popular individuals (particularly when communicating unfavorable financial information to shareholders/owners). But, the longest I have ever gone with employment is three days. I liken accounting to nursing - it is a very demanding profession, but it is more stable than most and there is usually an opporunity for employment, given some degree of flexibility within the candidate. You won't get weathly - unless your corrupt, but you're also going to get caught - but you can have a stable, happy living.

If I had to do it all over again, I would. I started college pursing a Criminal Justice degree (wanted to be a cop), and I'm glad I made my choice as an accountant.

I hope this answers your question. Good luck in your endeavors!
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:36 PM
 
Location: O-H
170 posts, read 368,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marksman84 View Post
Accountants will never make the most money in an organization, nor will they be the most popular individuals (particularly when communicating unfavorable financial information to shareholders/owners).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marksman84 View Post
You won't get weathly - unless your corrupt, but you're also going to get caught - but you can have a stable, happy living.
I agree with everything else (hours, changing regulation), but I don't necessarily agree with this.

Are accountants venture capitalist, investment banker, or corporate attorney wealthy? No, of course not, but they still make a very nice living, especially when they continue to climb the corporate ladder (VP's of Finance, CFO's are often accountants).

New hires right out of college at the Big Four are starting at $50k a year right now, one of the most generous for a four year degree. Accounting Managers with four to five years of experience and a CPA often make well into the upper five figures, and Corporate Controllers at larger corporations can touch six figures.

Although it takes a lot of hard work to get there, I would stick my neck out and and say that most working class people would consider a six figure salary to be on the wealthy side.

However, if we are talking about the person that wants to remain a staff accountant for their entire career, for whatever reason, now that's a different story.

Last edited by Rumble; 07-26-2009 at 02:45 PM..
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:22 PM
 
Location: On our boat!
5,676 posts, read 10,214,239 times
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Rumble: However, if we are talking about the person that wants to remain a staff accountant for their entire career, for whatever reason, now that's a different story.

My wife is a Staff Accountant (w/a Bachelor's Degree + other training) and she just told me, after me reading the above to her....."yea, we don't want the headaches or the hours!"
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Edwardsville, IL
1,815 posts, read 1,129,335 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBoating View Post
\
My wife is a Staff Accountant (w/a Bachelor's Degree + other training) and she just told me, after me reading the above to her....."yea, we don't want the headaches or the hours!"



Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner, folks! That is why I want no part of the CFO level, travelling around with the executives and smooching their behinds while pretending that I subscribe to the veracity of their business acumen. I've had a taste of that and I just do not have the lack of moral character to be a corporate ass-kissing clown.

Rumble - once you hit a certain point on the corporate ladder (executive level), it becomes tiresome and loathesome. And $50K a year out of college for the big four means taking/traveling to dogsh*t audit/write-up assignments in less-than-appealing environments. I don't wish to repeat some of the audit engagement horror stories I've heard over the course of my career. If you smile all the time and kiss enough booty, you MAY get a promotion after 5-10 years. I've been in this gig for 15 years, I think I know what I'm talking about.

I enjoy my life as a Controller at a smaller organization and get free barbecue/cake on the side for doing friends' taxes - my wife and I couldn't be happier!
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:10 PM
 
Location: O-H
170 posts, read 368,077 times
Reputation: 217
The intent of my post was to present to Crystalblue (original poster) the potential salary level of various accounting positions, which was one of his/her original inquiries. I simply wanted to show that if one is hungry enough, the opportunities are there.

Enduring politics, longs hours, and hard work is generally a necessary evil in most every position with an escalated salary, it is not just limited to accountants.

Last edited by Rumble; 07-26-2009 at 09:19 PM..
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Tampa
3,975 posts, read 6,820,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumble View Post
The intent of my post was to present to Crystalblue (original poster) the potential salary level of various accounting positions, which was one of his/her original inquiries. I simply wanted to show that if one is hungry enough, the opportunities are there.

Politics, longs hours, and hard work are necessary in most every position with an escalated salary, and are not just limited to accountants.
So true. I doubt there are many/any jobs with six figure salaries and 40 hour workweeks.

Additional questions -

Are some areas of accounting more interesting than others? ( I know thats subjective, but in general?)

Better places to work? Govt, big 4, corporate, solo, etc?

What would you need you to do if you were interested in auditing internationally?

Is your CPA license good in all states? Or is it more like a JD?

And, if you do tax work, what do you do outside of tax season?!?!

thanks!
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:42 PM
 
Location: NW San Antonio
2,519 posts, read 5,452,534 times
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Taxes are not just for IRS time, Jan thru April. If you are a company accountant, then you have to keep up with that company's taxes all year round, Payroll, sales, property, personal, just to name a few. The taxes that you are speaking of are the one's that the individual consumer deals with on a yearly basis. A good Audit person, accountant especially with an IT background is a good two-fer. You will find in the upcoming years that the major amount of mismanagement is only going to be thru computers. If you haven't finished with your education, put computer auditing on your schedule of training. Numbers may not match, but the first thing that will happen is, Why don't they match? Where did the money go? How? If you can't give them a valid answer as to how it happened, or could have, then you aren't really a good auditor. I've been doing this for over 20 years and in the last 10 I've seen more IT auditing problems than accounting.
Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Edwardsville, IL
1,815 posts, read 1,129,335 times
Reputation: 1472
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumble View Post
The intent of my post was to present to Crystalblue (original poster) the potential salary level of various accounting positions, which was one of his/her original inquiries. I simply wanted to show that if one is hungry enough, the opportunities are there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumble View Post

Enduring politics, longs hours, and hard work is generally a necessary evil in most every position with an escalated salary, it is not just limited to accountants.


Well put, and I would add "kissing the @ss of a technically inferior supervisor" to aid in acquiring promotional opportunities."
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:14 PM
 
25 posts, read 51,865 times
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I have been in the accounting field for 6 years and I have a BS in business administration. I have been UNABLE to find a accounting job in VA for going on 8 months. I guess its me??? I have been told I am a job hopper and have had a string of bad luck. What do I do next? Any advice?
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