You may have questioned whether being an accountant is the right job for you – many do second guess their careers and a mid-life career switch is not uncommon at all. Therefore, do not be worried – you are not alone. An accountant possesses a unique set of skills that is valuable in many places and accountants switching to non-accounting related jobs are common.
While your peers are slogging away in a Big Four and being underpaid for the next 3-5 years, you are already considering your options. Don’t worry! There will be many places that can give you a change of pace and a breathe of fresh air – different from the recycled air in your cubicle while you work at 4am and your manager shouts at you from his office.
This is a no brainer – an accountant’s dream (mostly pipe dreams – think of how many CFOs and how many accountants there are) is to be the CFO of a big MNC. As the CFO, he or she will not only be in charge of financial reporting and record-keeping, but also also be in charge of financial planning and data analysis. However, as mentioned earlier, there are numerous accountants but so a lot lesser CFOs. The number of positions available for CFO is just too little.
Surprisingly to others, Accountants can and do become bankers as well. An accountant’s experience with the financial statements as well as their keen sense of numbers, meticulous nature and analytical thinking place them in good stead to enter the banking world. Many accountants shift over to investment banking, corporate finance and many other divisions of banking. However, you may need to brush up on finance as sometimes the finance and accounting world are slightly different. CFA level 1 or your own specific reading is recommended.
One of the biggest problems faced by budding entrepreneurs is their accounting, cash management and financial projections. And who else does it better than you – the accountant! An accountant would have in depth knowledge of how the debit and credits work within the accounting systems, and will also be familiar with company taxes and laws and will be able to file your own taxes. At the same time, you will have better experience with your cash and projections, which gives you an advantage when your pitch your ideas to potential investors as well as to manage your company’s finances.
As you can see, being an accountant is only one of the many things that you can do with your accounting skills. If you feel that you are not fit for accounting or want to have a change in pace of life, try out these few possible routes.