A young student approaches you for your insight about career options. Her question: “What paths would allow me to use my role and skills to help people?” You think through the obvious choices: healthcare workers, nonprofit leaders and of course, teachers. But do accountants cross your mind?
If you’re picturing an office building with fluorescent lighting, calculators and stacks of spreadsheets, you may be surprised at the idea of accounting being a compassionate and purposeful profession. But technology, automation and connectivity advancements have launched public accounting into a dynamic, modern reality that provides an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. So, is “accounting” really an answer to the student’s question above? Absolutely. Here are three reasons why:
EVERY BUSINESS IS IN THE BUSINESS OF ACCOUNTING.
Accounting allows professionals to specialize in serving particular types of organizations. I’ve built my career (working with colleges, universities and nonprofits) because I love helping build their mission through being their advisor. Your young contacts may be interested in equipping healthcare organizations to make better financial and operational decisions so they can help more patients. Or they may want to help manufacturing companies identify new ways to innovate efficiently. All of these and more are possible as a public accountant.
TODAY’S ACCOUNTING IS PROBLEM-SOLVING FOR TOMORROW.
Gone are the days of just recording transactions with a pencil and paper. While accountants still file taxes and perform audits, we’re also strategic business advisors, providing insight and financial guidance to drive an organization’s success. Young people with an eye for problem solving can thrive in this role, technology advancements have reduced bean-counting, so more time is spent troubleshooting and providing results for clients at a higher level.
ACCOUNTING EMBRACES THE PERSPECTIVES AND GOALS OF OTHERS.
The modern accounting profession has adapted to the changing work landscape, allowing for a hybrid of remote work and collaborating in the office with coworkers and clients. This means that young professionals have the advantage of being boots-on-the-ground learners. Modern accountants invest significantly in learning about what’s important to their clients and communities so that they can work towards seeing those things become reality.
Today’s accountants aren’t just looking at debits and credits; they’re guiding long-term financial plans of organizations, which in turn builds stronger communities and better quality of life for everyone. Today’s young people want to use their careers to make a difference for our future. Those of us who work with colleges and universities can let them know they can do that in public accounting.
Rick Blanton, CPA
Rick Blanton, CPA, is a Senior Manager in Warren Averett’s Audit Division in Montgomery. He specializes in planning and conducting audits for higher educational institutions, nonprofits and governmental entities.