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The Pros & Cons Of Pursuing A Career As A Chartered Accountant

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When choosing a career, job seekers have certain priorities which are used to evaluate potential choices. They range from salary to work-life balance, job benefits, progression and so on. For many, choosing a career path can be the one of the most important decisions they make in their lifetime, and therefore requires careful consideration.

A career as a chartered accountant is always an option for those who have an affinity for numbers and have the requisite academic qualifications. Highly valued and often in demand, working as a chartered accountant comes with numerous benefits and opportunities. 

Like any other job, there are also certain challenges and drawbacks. To help budding accountants make their decision, we have drawn up a list with the pros and cons of pursuing a career as a chartered accountant.

Pro: Remuneration

Chartered accountants often take home high salaries. As a key part of the financial services sector, chartered accountants play important roles in businesses and are compensated accordingly. 

Not only are starting salaries attractive, the earning potential of a chartered accountant remains strong throughout their careers. Experience paired with technical skills and accounting qualifications is a combination that is always well-sought after, ensuring that chartered accountants are able to draw higher than average salaries for years to come.

New hire getting handshake ICAEW Singapore

Pro: High Demand & Job Security

Accountants are universally required for businesses to function. Even non-profits, NGOs, and charity organisations require accountants to look through their yearly operating costs. Government accountants manage public funds, and perform financial statement audits to ensure that taxpayer money is handled responsibly.

The bottom line is that as an accountant, there are always employers that require your unique set of skills. In a competitive job market, employability and the job security that comes with it can be a big bonus. 

Pro: Growing and Changing Industry 

While the core aspects of being an accountant have stayed the same, the industry itself is constantly adapting to new business environments. For chartered accountants, this brings with it opportunities for employment mobility.

Chartered accountants, by the nature of their work, are well-informed on the fiscal side of business. They are then well-positioned to move on to more senior advisory roles further up the career ladder. They can also opt for positions with different responsibilities, with their accounting background providing a strong foundation.

Accountant working flexible on a plane

Pro: Work Where You Want

With high demand for their skills, chartered accountants enjoy a large degree of job mobility and have the luxury of choosing where they want to live and work. Moving overseas is an option that’s always on the books for accountants who wish to travel or migrate. 

Pro: Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Unlike other professions, accounting is a field that lends itself well to individuals starting their own companies. By building a strong network of clients over their careers, chartered accountants can, and routinely do, start their own business to become their own bosses.

Con: Ongoing Education

Qualifications and accounting certifications carry a lot of weight when it comes to a career as an accountant. You are expected to continue your education and constantly improve your skills. One such example is the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (BFP) designation, which demonstrates that you have up-to-date technical knowledge and are committed to continual professional development.

While it can be demanding, such qualifications increase employability and career earnings. In today’s fast-paced disruptive economy, it is also beneficial that you cultivate a habit of lifelong learning and stay abreast of new developments.

Con: Busy Periods

Any experienced chartered accountant can attest to the fact that there are times in the year when the workload increases substantially. These busy periods can be challenging to handle, and work-life balance might suffer as a result.

Good time-management can go a long way in mitigating these circumstances. Once you can identify when a deadline crunch is approaching, you can plan your work schedule to reduce overtime hours spent in the office.

Con: Stressful

Attention to detail and meticulousness are key attributes that all accountants have to possess. Mistakes are not tolerated lightly and this can pile on the pressure and stress. 

If however, you find that you can thrive in such environments then you can reap the many benefits that come with being a chartered accountant and can look ahead to a long and successful career.

For many who choose a career in accounting, the pros substantially outweigh the cons. It can be a challenging and stressful job at times, but it is also rewarding, full of new opportunities, and puts you in control of your career.

Looking to make the first steps into becoming a certified chartered accountant? Contact us to find out how you can begin your qualifications, and start your journey with ICAEW Singapore today.