What I wish I knew before becoming an accountant

I became an accountant. Here’s what I wish I knew before taking on years of study and hard work.

Relationships sometimes actually matter more than the work, and no matter how good you are at the technical stuff, your people and networking skills are the ones to open doors.

Client, team, wider firm. Navigating the corporate world needs a book – there’s definitely a way of living and networking within these bigger firms, and things like mentorships, sponsorships, coaches, ‘coffees’ are hugely important to your career development and future opportunities. knowing this beforehand, or at least knowing that your job wasn’t just to log on, get the work done and log off.

You don’t have to be super brainy, really into maths, statistics or financial number crunching.

The numbers are just the main language you use all day, but a lot of the work is done by analysis and evaluation of those numbers.

You have to focus on your posture, doing yoga and stretching.

Accounting is unfortunately a job that relies totally on you being in front of a screen for atleast 8 hours a day, and not just that but focussing on lots of data and spreadsheets. Having a good system in regards to your mental and physical health is literally vital.

Accounting doesn’t have to be “boring” and I hate that the stereotype of an accountant (yes, the first accountant was apparently a white dude likely with vision impairments).

But is that why I wanted this career? No! It’s really SUCH a wide industry: there’s audit, financial controller roles, working in smaller companies v bigger companies, focussing on controls v financial functions, tax. What i really like about accounting is how deeply you can understand businesses because of it.

Work-life balance is a struggle, but it’s what you make of it.

Working in audit has biased my opinion here but the balance isn’t handed to you on a silver platter. It is what you make of it. And it’s never just, it’s probably the whole department and your team that have to find a balance but still meet deadlines and get the work done. I’m in my 20s, have no real other commitments so it’s not really impacting me negatively  (I find I manage my mental health quite well alongside this) but it’s definitely something that’s specific to certain niches within accounting.

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