We’re Not All Bean Counters: The Biggest Myths of Accounting Busted

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Everyone has certain preconceived notions about accountants. In fact, we have them for just about everything such as the belief that all IT professionals are computer geeks. But these stereotypes are only true until they’re not. Some of the biggest misconceptions about accountants and the accounting industry are not what people expect at all. Here are four of the prevailing myths and the truth about accounting.

  • All accountants are introverts. Probably the number one misconception when it comes to accounting is that everyone involved is a shy wallflower more interested in staying behind the scenes. While it is true for some, it is an old stereotype that is not valid across the board. Plenty of extroverted people are successful in the field of accounting. In fact, companies often need their accountants to be customer facing so they must be comfortable talking to others. Don’t feel like you need to avoid accounting if you’re outgoing. It isn’t just for the quiet nerds.
  • Accounting is just about numbers. While numbers play a very important part in this industry it isn’t the only thing an accountant can do with their time. A professional accountant should also be able to effectively communicate and write. Also, as economists Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner proved in their 2005 book Freakonomics, there is another side of numbers that average people don’t take into account when considering jobs in finance, accounting, or economics.
  • Accounting will take up all of your time. Tax season gives people the perception that accounting is a 24/7 job. While it is true that some accounting specialties will work around the clock during some specific times of the year it doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice a proper work/life balance. It isn’t the industry that causes people to lose themselves in their jobs but personal choices. If you stay organized and make time for your family or social life, you should be just fine.
  • You can’t do anything but taxes. The first thing most people think of when it comes to accounting is taxes. While taxes are a big part of the annual, and quarterly, accounting cycle it isn’t the only specialization available. Auditing is also common and there are a variety of ways you can work as an analyst. There is actually quite a bit of diversity in what CPAs can do in their careers. Check out this list from Monster.com.

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