Can I just say when I posted last week's Serious Question: Why Did You Become an Accountant? I had absolutely no idea so many of you would weigh in. Let's be real, I was hung over, I had to write something and have been meaning to ask that for a while so it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. I thought I'd get a few "for the money" and a handful of "for the bitches" but never did I expect the outpouring of honesty that came forth from you all. And somehow you managed to hit over 200 comments with just one (totally called-for) fight, no one getting banned and hardly any comments comparing the size of your respective dicks? I am beyond impressed and mean that.
If the original comment thread is TL;DR for you (it's TL;DR for me and I'm a narcissist who enjoys nit-picking comments on every article I've written as you know), let's sum up the common reasons why most of you got into this God-forsaken but well-paid profession.
One of my favorites:
Because accountant was listed first on the career list and I was too lazy to read the rest of the list.
Although that comes off as awfully fake, somehow I suspect for some of you that actually rings true. Another good one was, naturally:
I got into public accounting so I could read Going Concern at work and get paid for it.
As honored as we are to read that, it's pretty unlikely since we've only been around for 3 years but hey, thanks anyway.
But the real reason a lot of you took this path in life was pretty much obvious before I even asked the question: money. It pays better than being a philosopher, Occupy protestor, Greenpeace canvasser or crappy accounting tabloid writer for sure. Not a single one of you complained that the money was not what you thought it would be and a lot of you validated what I've known most of my adult life: people will put up with a lot of shit if the money's right. Many of you also offered a glimmer of hope to the youngsters who've just landed in this industry wondering just how long they'll have to put up with it, saying
Accounting isn't the end goal… and I think a lot of people who feel unhappy working in public accounting feel that way because they believe that they've reached their final career destination. That just isn't the case.
While that should be obvious to a lot of you, you remember being 24 and hopeless in your beginning years, no?
Also interesting to me, some responses were brutally honest without the slightest hint of sarcasm. Like:
Accounting is like a puzzle, and it's fun to put all the pieces in their place. Tackling a mess can be a hassle, but there's a certain satisfaction when you've got all your AJEs done and everything is neat and clean.
Even better, no one had anything to say about this, leaving this happy little puzzle solver to feel good about a job well done.
"Because I'm socially awkward and it was easier to be the 'cool kid' in accounting" was also a good one courtesy PwCASSociate who must not be that awkward or he'd be KPMGASSociate but I digress.
Now, here's why you didn't get into accounting. For starters, math. There is none. If there is, someone else does it for you:
I am shocked at the number of people who say they became CPA's because they are 'good with numbers' or 'good with math'. Do you people really think we work with challenging numbers? What we do is a joke when it comes to complexity of #'s. Before you jump to conclusions, I am B4 sr. associate, I audit a Fortune 100 bank, and I see a ton of complex math there, but all we do is farm it out to specialists. CPA's don't work with complex #'s… all we do is schmoze [sic] the client and find someone who really understands their shit and have them figure it out.
Another reason you didn't get into accounting? Tail. Sure some of you said that but it was quickly debunked, laughed at or otherwise called out. Now, when it comes to meaningless tail with your co-workers, that might be another story. Actually, ask your co-workers first.
All in all, if they weren't so packed with bad words and general shittiness, your comments could easily be included in some high school handbook on why you want to be an accountant. Though your candid responses won't be making a volume of career choices any time soon, I'm sure your honesty will be appreciated for years to come by 17 year old Googlers trying to figure out what to be when they grow up. You did good, kids. Really. Thanks for keeping it real.