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As the go-to professionals who have a knack for making and managing money and doing taxes by heart—and have earned an Accounting degree and other education or training for it—accountants are well-respected business advisors and decision-makers. From assisting individuals and small businesses manage their money to helping Fortune 500 companies and celebrities avoid bankruptcy, accountants do it all!
Like any other job, however, deciding to change careers from accounting to others directly or indirectly similar careers is a seemingly associated concept that allows for change and growth.
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Why Accountants Consider Career Changes
Accounting is generally lucrative and highly rewarding, but some accountants still tread different professional paths. Let’s explore the common reasons for an accounting career change:
Low Job Satisfaction
Spending more than a decade at a job can become too much of a routine, especially without a solid long-term plan in place. This reality applies to accountants, too, prompting them to consider an alternative career that offers excitement, presents a new challenge, and promises professional growth.
While accountants are generally paid better than other professionals, they aren’t all smiles when it comes to their working conditions and work culture, causing them to lose interest in their job.
Working long hours can take a toll on a professional’s overall well-being—and accountants are no exception! A study revealed that 99% of accountants in accounting firms have reported experiencing burnout, particularly during the tax season, disrupting their professional and personal lives.
A study by the International Federation of Accountants found that accountants across several specializations have been put under immense to act contrary to ethical principles or accounting legislation. These situations lead them to question their valuable skills and doubt their worth in the profession.
Significant changes, including acquisitions or mergers among accounting firms, are meant to, among other things, add professional talent for company growth. However, the consequent restructuring or change in management can make the staff feel uncertain about their future in the company, prompting them to consider other career options.
Behind all that expertise, however, is an unhappy and frustrated professional on the brink of walking away—if the studies are to be believed. The “greener pasture” narrative is a conversation starter for most professionals. Like other workers, accountants may leave a company for a higher offer, better work-life balance, and more benefits elsewhere.
Today’s Best Career Changes for Accountants
Leaving your accounting career soon? The following alternative careers are ideal for you because of your financial skills and technical knowledge:
Finance and Insurance Manager
A finance and insurance manager manages the financial and insurance operations in real estate, retail, automotive, and other sectors that work closely with customers, helping them secure insurance and financing for their purchases.
The job specifically entails the following:
- analyzing financial data,
- developing and implementing financial and insurance policies and procedures,
- recommending strategies that improve the company’s financial performance, and
- identifying customers’ financing and insurance needs and making appropriate recommendations.
Finance and insurance managers negotiate with insurance firms, banks, and other financial institutions to help an organization and its customers seek the best terms and rates. They monitor and manage the organization’s financial and insurance portfolios while complying with relevant laws.
Financial Technical Writer
Do you have a way with words while technically adept in the different areas of accounting? Becoming a financial technical writer should be in your career change plans. This role requires creating written materials that communicate complex financial information. These include white papers, blog posts, reports, and other forms of content that make financial information, such as market analysis and investment strategies, less complicated for most people.
Aside from having strong communication and technical skills, you will also need to have a deep understanding of investment and finance concepts to be a financial technical writer. You must know how to interpret complex financial information in straightforward, concise, and engaging content.
Project managers in the finance industry are responsible for planning, executing, and closing projects within an organization. Their role involves coordinating resources, managing budgets, and communicating with stakeholders to ensure that projects are completed on time within scope and budget.
You will create detailed project plans and manage the financial allocation for the said project to ensure that the work is completed without going overboard. Project management also involves sourcing out the personnel, equipment, and materials.
While being on top of all these, project managers are expected to communicate with all stakeholders, including personnel, vendors, and clients.
Financial controllers oversee an organization’s financial operations and strategy. They are responsible for managing the company’s accounting and financial reporting functions, as well as providing financial analysis and guidance to senior management.
Taking on a critical role in the organization’s budgeting and forecasting processes, financial controllers work closely with senior management. Their strengths include financial analysis, risk management, internal control, and people management.
Financial controllers must produce accurate and timely financial reports, too!
Chief Financial Officer
A CFO is responsible for managing an organization’s financial operations and developing its financial strategy. Working closely with the CEO and the executive team to reach profitability, growth, and other business objectives, CFOs have insights into market trends and are experts in the competitive landscape.
The role also involves risk management, investor relations, and people management. As a senior executive, the job also entails ensuring the accuracy and legislative compliance of the organization’s financial affairs.
A forensic accountant specializes in using accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to examine financial records and transactions to uncover any potential fraud or financial crimes.
Working as a forensic accountant means that you will often be called upon to provide expert witness testimony in legal proceedings and can assist in investigations related to various financial matters, including business valuations, divorce settlements, tax evasion, insurance fraud, bankruptcy, embezzlement, money laundering, securities fraud, and corporate fraud.
You may work for government agencies, accounting firms, law firms, law enforcement, or as an independent consultant.
Known for their strong analytical and problem-solving skills, business analysts ultimately address business needs. In doing so, they gather and analyze business data, identify improvement opportunities, and create implementation plans.
Business analysis also usually entails researching market trends and opportunities, developing project plans, and managing project timelines, in close coordination with stakeholders.
Accounting professionals are ideal for this type of work, and a strong business foundation is advantageous.
A financial consultant provides financial advice and assistance to individuals and businesses. The financial services usually include financial planning, retirement planning, tax planning, risk management, and management of client investments, including bonds, mutual funds, stocks, and other financial products.
Financial consultants meet with clients to assess their financial situation and goals as they develop and implement financial plans for them. Notably, financial consultants help clients minimize tax liabilities, making accounting professionals the ideal fit for this career path.
Financial forecasters utilize data analysis, navigate financial models, and track economic indicators, such as GDP growth, inflation rates, and interest rates, to predict future financial market trends.
Professionals making financial forecasts are often employed by government agencies, financial institutions, or private firms, assisting them with strategy planning, risk management, and investment decisions.
The principles of, and practices in, Accounting are heavily used in financial forecasting. Professionals with a background in Economics are most likely to thrive in this job, too!
Financial IT Technician
Financial IT technicians must have expert knowledge of financial systems and regulations—which accountants have a knack for. A bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, or any related field is also often a requirement.
Financial IT technicians must obtain certifications to qualify for the work, including:
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
As a financial IT technician, you will provide technical support and services to banks, insurance firms, investment firms, and other financial institutions, ensuring that their software, hardware, and network systems function correctly and securely.
As the go-to tech experts in Finance, they also:
- troubleshoot technical issues and resolve system errors,
- implement security protocols,
- ensure technical compliance with industry regulations,
- develop and maintain disaster recovery plans, and
- collaborate with other IT personnel to identify and implement system improvements.
A financial planner provides comprehensive financial planning services to individuals, businesses, and families. They are skilled in formulating personalized financial plans, considering their current financial situations, long-term objectives, and risk tolerance.
Financial planners use their numbers and financial forecasting skills to manage their client’s investments. Expectedly, financial planners hold a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, or any related field, as well as professional certifications, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
National Candidate Database (NCD) Coordinator
The country’s National Association of State Boards of Accountancy defines the National Candidate Database or NCD as “a database of CPA candidate information” used by the NASBA-National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, the AICPA-American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and CPA testing centers.
An NCD Coordinator supports the administration of the Uniform CPA Examination in the United States. The key responsibilities include:
- managing and maintaining NCD data,
- verifying and updating candidate information,
- processing candidate applications, and
- monitoring candidate progress through testing.
NCD Coordinators also provide client support and services to accountancy candidates, boards, and other stakeholders. They also ensure the NCD’s compliance with laws, policies, and regulations related to the Uniform CPA Examination.
In the financial world, a reconciliation specialist is an expert in reconciling financial accounts. They ensure that all transactions are recorded up-to-date and reconciled accurately and safely.
Reconciliation specialists also investigate discrepancies or errors, where their Accounting and Finance expertise comes in handy. They also communicate with stakeholders to resolve issues and ensure accurate reporting.
Financial Records Keeper
Working as a Financial Records Keeper means organizing an individual’s or organization’s financial records and managing or maintaining software and systems for financial statements. The job also entails keeping a close eye on financial transactions and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Financial records keepers are also tasked to prepare and present financial records—including balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements—to help businesses understand their current financial status.
Finance or Accounting Professor
What better way to put your accounting expertise to the test than by imparting it and soon producing the best professionals in the field?
Accounting or Finance professors teach students pursuing degrees in these disciplines. They design and deliver lectures, seminars, and practical coursework that meet academic standards at the undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate level. They also mentor students in their research projects and become their career coaches as they navigate their career possibilities.
Finance and Accounting professors also conduct research and publish scholarly articles. As such, they engage in continuing education activities to stay on top of accounting principles, financial industry trends, technologies, and teaching methods.
If you’re an accountant considering jumping ship, assess your situation carefully. What makes your professional life difficult could be a phase, but it may also be your hint to move on to the next best thing: a new career.
Consider switching careers with your transferable skills in Accounting intact, and continue to put them to good use! With adequate accounting professional experience under your belt, you can always make a successful career change that makes you happy and fulfilled without putting your education to waste or giving up your expertise altogether.