December 15, 2018

Switching Careers? Building the One You Have? Why Accounting is the Answer

career switch to accounting

Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to switch to a new career. Or maybe you just need to upgrade within your current company or industry. Either way, you’re looking to make a move that will provide you with opportunities to advance and enough potential to keep you satisfied.

>> Download our guide “The Career Switcher’s Checklist” for helpful tips and suggestions.

A career switch to accounting might be the best path for you professionally and personally. And here’s why:

The job market is strong

All organizations — from government agencies and nonprofits to small businesses and multinational corporations — need accountants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that the number of accountants will grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. And unemployment rates for accountants are significantly lower than the overall unemployment rates. In other words, there are plenty of jobs out there for those bold enough to pull the trigger on a career switch to accounting.

Due to evolving regulations and tax laws in the U.S. and around the world, the global economy is growing more complex. Accountants, and those with deep accounting skills and knowledge, are essential to helping organizations of all types successfully navigate these burgeoning financial intricacies.

The pay is solid

Along with higher demand, a career switch to accounting also offers strong compensation and benefits. According to the BLS, the median pay for accountants is nearly $70,000 per year, but more qualified accountants can make significantly more. The average forensic accountant or accounting manager earns about $90,000 per year, for example. Many accountants, especially those with CPAs and advanced degrees, can earn six-figure salaries–sometimes after just a few years of work experience.

The career paths are varied

Strong employment and high pay are great, but they’re not the best things about a career switch to accounting.

If you think of accountants as people who spend their days bent over adding machines or manipulating spreadsheets, it’s time for an update. While crunching the numbers and analyzing financial data is an essential part of accounting, the profession also requires problem solving, creativity, and strong communication skills.

Accountants help organizations make better decisions — and help society function more effectively. Accountants provide fiscal insight, which in turn helps companies know when to launch new products, move into new markets, or avoid money-losing ventures.

Accountants are also the guardians of financial accuracy across the economy. They help protect against fraud, measure the impact of corporate environmental initiatives, and find ways to reduce wasteful spending.

If you decide to further your education in your career switch to accounting, a graduate accounting degree prepares you for many paths. Some accountants become top corporate executives, including chief financial officers and even CEOs. Others work in nonprofits or for government agencies, helping an organization fulfill an important societal mission.

And it’s not just accounting jobs. A graduate accounting degree is great preparation for jobs in finance, business forecasting, business analytics, and more. That’s because accounting provides the financial, analytical, and problem-solving skills essential in the 21st century economy.

You can work with purpose

Many accountants find fulfilling careers doing auditing, tax, or consulting work for public accounting firms–jobs that require plenty of teamwork and frequently bring opportunities for travel. And accountants with an entrepreneurial bent often find success starting their own firms or working in a startup.

Maybe the best thing about a career switch to accounting is that your previous work experiences, in whatever fields they may be, will help you develop your new accounting role. If you were a teacher, for example, you’ll still have opportunities to explain accounting concepts to people you work with as an accountant. Or if you’ve spent a few years working the phone and meeting prospects in a sales role, an accounting degree could help you forecast sales for the entire company — and even set goals for your former colleagues. In fact, combining accounting knowledge with a background in another field can make you more qualified and competitive for some job opportunities.

High school teacher and online MAC student Mark Loyd transferred from the classroom to the boardroom, starting a new career at PwC in Charlotte.

How to prepare for a career switch to accounting

What does it take to switch into accounting? The right kind of education, of course. Good news: even if you don’t have a degree in business or accounting, you can leap into a new career in accounting in as little as one year.

Many Master of Accounting (MAC) programs are open to people with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees, from finance to English literature. And online degrees allow students to continue to work while taking classes.

Once you’ve completed your degree, top MAC programs will also provide job placement support and access to a robust professional network with other alumni across the country. And MAC graduates are prepared for the CPA exam, which provides a unique, in-demand professional credential that boosts your earning potential.

Want some helpful advice from our experts?

Download our guide, “The Career Switcher’s Checklist”, for some great tips and suggestions.

What’s your next career move?  Consider the #1-ranked online Master of Accounting degree from the University of North Carolina. With flexible schedules, evening courses delivered by world-class faculty, and a career services team dedicated to the needs of working professionals, the program can give your career the boost it needs.

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Give It Up Tax Protesters, You’re Just Screwing Yourselves

Of the adherents of strange and puzzling belief systems – 9/11 Truthers, Fed groupies, Cubs fans – few work so hard to screw themselves as tax protesters.

By their own account,”>spend “thousands of hours” reading their arcane tracts, expanding on theories of why the 16th Amendment is a figment of our imagination, or why a gold-fringed flag means you’re in an admiralty court, which somehow undoes the income tax.

Or why the federal tax law only covers the District of Columbia and federal forts, or why Section 861 says U.S. source income isn’t taxable. The result? They still owe the taxes, penalties, and maybe $25,000 idiot fees from the tax court – and that’s if things go well. If they go badly, they go very badly.

Every year the IRS updates its handy debunking of tax protester arguments. It does little good. You can spend hours trying to talk tax protesters out of their ideas, but they move effortlessly from one gold-fringed bad idea to another, and they can almost sound like they make sense, until you get outside and get some fresh air. But there is one common problem in all of these “Tax Honesty” arguments: they don’t work.

No matter how convinced you are that Irwin Schiff’s theories of the income tax are true, that there is no income tax, all of the federal judges think there is one. So does the IRS, the Federal Marshals Service, and pretty much everyone in the Bureau of Prisons. What they say trumps what Irwin says, which is why the poor man is likely to die in jail.

But what about the glorious courtroom triumphs of Lloyd Long, Vernice Kuglin and Tom Cryer? They were acquitted by juries! Yes, these guys beat criminal charges. Why the juries voted the way they did, we’ll never really know. Maybe they were nullifiers, striking a blow against the income tax. Maybe they decided that the defendants really believed their schtick, so they didn’t “willfully” fail to pay their taxes. But these acquittals debunk the income tax only if the O.J. acquittal debunks California’s murder statute. Even though these guys didn’t go to jail (unlike many, including their pied piper, Irwin Schiff), they still have to pay their taxes.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “Of course he says that. He does taxes for a living. He’s in on the conspiracy!” If so, come on. If this stuff actually worked, I wouldn’t grind my way through every tax season pretending there is an income tax. If it worked, I would just talk to a few of my wealthiest clients, work out a deal to take 5% of their income for the next 10 years in return for making their taxes go away, wave my wand, and spend March in Mesa.

But here I am, grinding out those returns. That no more makes me “pro-tax” than believing in germ theory makes a doctor “pro-bacteria.” Still, if you really want to ruin your financial life, you’re welcome to choose your poison. But first ask yourself: are all of these big companies and rich guys who pay taxes crazy or stupid? Or is it just you?