Math vs. Accounting
I took an Accounting class during my senior year in high school because I loved math and that’s what I thought it was all about. Although balancing debits and credits is the foundation of the profession, there is much more to the field then just numbers. This is a common misconception. Yes, there is math involved but logic is of higher importance. There are software tools that do most of the math. Your job tends to be more about making the right decision of where the numbers belong or explaining why they are what they are. These decisions are based on widely accepted rules such as “General Accepted Accounting Principles” (GAAP).
Small vs. Big
In a corporate setting, your focus may be narrowed to a specific part of accounting. For example, I worked for a time doing the accounting for inventory in a large retail company. I also spent time in another group explaining variances. The information from these smaller groups is gathered and input into informative reports for the owners and executives to review. Based on this information, they make decisions on their next business move. With smaller companies, you will actually see more of the big picture rather than focusing on a finite part of it. This could be a little more work, but many like it better because they can see how all parts of the business are connected. In my opinion and experience, it’s much easier to do your job when you can connect all of the dots. When I understand the impact something will have on the company, I can make better decisions about how to fix an error or oddity.
When I first started working, I was often sent home at a decent time or early. As I gained more expertise, the hours became longer. This is something people should consider before entering this field. There are certain times of each month, quarter, and year that an Accountant expects to stay later than usual. This can be a frustrating part of the job if you have more important or interesting things to attend to at home or elsewhere.
In many cases, there is a lot of writing involved. I am actually strong in that area as I am used to proofreading and checking for grammatical errors. Much of the writing explains variances to various criteria (last year, financials, plan, etc.).
In summary, Accounting can be challenging but also rewarding if you enjoy understanding the inter-workings of a business and contributing to the direction executives decide take it.