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Accounting your Opportunities

Chuck Lidell, Janet Jackson, Walter Diemer (the inventor of bubble gum; thank you.), and 1,400 agents in the FBI.  They all have something in common.  Do I have your attention?  Good.  If you guessed that they are “richer than I am,” then 100% true but the wrong answer.  The other obvious and correct answer is that they all have accounting degrees.  What is my point?  Accounting rules…and only with this degree can you become these magnificent people.

Ok, so maybe I exaggerated a bit.  But if you have a desire to become the Iceman of the UFC or aspire to have a globally witnessed wardrobe malfunction, or even become the most respectable inventor who ever lived (sorry, not sorry Edison), then maybe accounting is the right place to start.  In reality, there are few professions that provide a greater avenue to different careers than this one.  It may seem not seem like a good thing to start a career that is known for being a stepping stone to other professions, but in the constantly moving world where careers change so frequently, that may be exactly the right recipe for success.

So who, other than the people mentioned above, can you become and what can you do with an accounting degree?  Instead of rambling through a list of every other profession on the face of the earth (since clearly all are within reach), let’s go through a few of the best options. 

The first opportunity is to work in a multitude of different industries.  While industries differ greatly in their accounting treatment, the basics of accounting are easily transferable, particularly in the early stages of a career.  So if you think you don’t like accounting, try switching industries and you may have just found the sweet spot!  Of course, if you start off in the field of public accounting, namely in a smaller regional firm, you will have much greater exposure to different industries at once for you to sample from.  This is much like the variety of lunches at your fingertips if you’ve ever been to a Costco on a weekend afternoon.

Second, start your own business.  With the entrepreneurial craze we are going through, having a background in accounting and financial management is a great way to step into the small business world.  The knowledge you gain from working in public accounting for even just a few years can save thousands in startup capital that is so critical to the success of businesses starting out.  At some point, the need for a full time accountant will be evident, but this is one arena in which an accounting degree can prove to be invaluable. 

Third, teach your newly gained accounting knowledge to all those horrid decision makers known as accounting majors.  Well, someone’s got to do it right?  And who better than you to shape the next generation of bean counters.  Just pray that none of your students become the next pinnacle of a pyramid scheme who flees the country or tries to sell their valuables to relatives to hide assets.  I suppose that’s how professors at Hogwarts in the magical world of Harry Potter felt after Voldemort graduated.  It may not sound like the most exciting or desirable job, but just think about those summers off.  If that doesn’t get you excited then please refer back to paragraph 1.

Of course, you may just discover that public, private, or government accounting is exactly where you want to be.  You make your own decisions and you dig your own grave, the choice is yours!  The point is, whether you want to teach accounting, work for bloodthirsty businesspeople in public accounting, or become Chuck Lidell, accounting is the place for you.  So make the wrong decision and choose accounting.  You won’t regret it!