The Fascinating Careers of Accountants - No, Really.

It's widely acknowledged that compared to being a doctor or astronaut, accounting is not the most scintillating of careers.

On, a place for students to discuss classes and career direction, one forum, titled Does Accounting Ever Get Interesting, begins with this post: "Long story short I [expletive deleted] hate my accounting classes right now." As the students discuss the original poster's question — commiserating, berating, and offering advice — the only answer provided is that accounting is like every other job: Interesting at times, not so often at others.

But this depends on what area of accounting you're in, and there are several fascinating careers that can be pursued. For example, there's the world-traveling International Accountant who speaks a second language and helps companies with international mergers, or the Forensic Accountant who investigates corporate records for instances of white collar crime, or the coveted and well-paying position of a company's Chief Financial Officer (two more examples of exciting accounting careers, what education is required, and expected salary can be found here, and opportunities for Alberta accountant jobs are here).

As for accounting itself, part of the interest comes from an individual's personality. Accounting can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle, or a game like Sudoku, where all of the rules of the game and the information you're given have to be pieced together. It's the application of the analytical, combined with helping a client better their business that is the most rewarding. 

In an article for the UK's Guardian, writer Leo Benedictus explains how his interviewee, a chartered accountant, finds the most reward in her job. "For it is here that all her training and experience start to pay off, as she ensures her clients are making full use of their allowances, helps them to claim all the expenses to which they are entitled, and brings them up to date with any new incentives — such as tax-free company bicycles — which they might not know about. Though the details often seem arcane to non-accountants, this is subtle, complex work, which can make a real difference to her clients and requires all her ingenuity."

In summary, it's not wise to paint all accounting careers with the same monochrome stroke. If you're interested in an accounting career, contact a local accounting firm and ask to speak with one of the professionals for more information. If you're pursuing an accounting career in Alberta, Hawking's Epp Dumont would love to help inform you as to what the job is like. And we're always recruiting.

Just remember to study.

Tyler Vreeling