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Common Myths About the Accounting Profession

Jason Weber
Tue, Mar 1, 2016

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Many of you probably believe that accounting is a boring career; dominated by socially inept male mathematicians who are well versed at doing your income taxes, offering limited strategic insight, and lacking any form of general charisma.

If you truly believe this, then you probably don’t know much about the industry.

Aside from these stereotypes and misconceptions, they do not reflect the reality of what it’s like to be an accountant in today’s business world. After 16 years of experience in the accounting search industry, I've viewed most accounting professionals to be personable, compassionate, strategic, and generally a pleasure to be around. 

In an effort to disqualify many of the misconceptions surrounding the accounting industry, check out the following list of the most popular myths:

Accountant are Good at Math.
  • This might be the biggest delusion regarding accountants. Guess who’s great at math? That’s right Mathematicians.
  • Accountants work within controlling regulations and act more as lawyers who utilize figures and records. Although being good at addition, subtraction, and basic algebra is essential for accounting, unfortunately not all accountants are good at math.
  • Being able to analyze numbers is integral, but there's more to accounting than numbers. For example, writing skills are also quite essential.
Every Accountant Knows How to do Your Taxes.
  • Accountants are not the same as auditors and auditors are not the same as tax accountants.
  • While there is a general understanding of accounting principles, most accountants are by no means qualified to offer any form of tax advice or have an in depth conversation regarding tax compliance.
Accountants Don't Make Important Strategic Decisions.
  • Accountants are increasingly becoming one of the most strategic business partners for their respective companies.
  • Accountants can not only interpret the financials of the company but they’re also able to guide key decision makers on growth opportunities which could impact the overall direction of the company and maximize profit.
 Accounting is a Male Dominated Field.
  • 60% of all accountants and auditors in the US are female and 50% in Canada. However, that number declines significantly when it comes to partners at public accounting firms, where women only represent 18% of the total partners in the US.
 Accountants are Introverts.
  • The myth that accountants are introverts lacking social skills is false. The profession requires individuals to be more than just friendly with coworkers in the accounting department.
  • Accountants are expected to be able to communicate effectively with cross functional teams, customers, and professionals at varying levels.
  • Teaching is a big component of accounting, as you may need to explain matters to customers, key decision makers, train staff, and educate coworkers. 
Accountants are Boring.

If you really believe  accountants are boring, think again. Check out this list of people who studied accounting or were actually accountants:

Making generalizations about any professional field is unwise and self-defeating. To paint every accountant with a single brush does a disservice to the many accountants who are doing exciting, multi-faceted work and the innovation that is unfolding within the profession. Don’t be fooled by the myths.

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