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Should I pursue Accounting?

  • 27-01-2022 1:57am
    Registered Users Posts: 293 ✭✭

    I'm currently in the final year of my Business degree.

    I've inadvertently gone down the road of Marketing and HR, not because I've an interest but because, frankly, the required the least amount of effort on my behalf - I could just waffle.

    I'm now second guessing my choices and thinking I should have gone down the accountancy route.

    I want to (eventually) work in management, strategy, operations management - decision making.

    I feel an accounting qualification would be a good step in the right direction for me.

    I was fine with Accounting in the compulsory modules, better at Management than Financial, but again it's probably because I didn't make an effort. I didn't pick the accounting modules, not because I didn't enjoy them but because I didn't have to show up for Marketing and yet I managed to pull out 60%+ - It was an utter cop out.

    Am I right in saying an accounting qualification would be of benefit to me if I wanted to work my way into upper management?

    I think CIMA might be a better fit but I don't know if I'm pigeonholing myself a little bit.. I've heard most people say go for ACA, or something along the lines of ACCA rather than CIMA.

    I just feel like I'm going to be screwing myself over down the line if I don't get an accounting qualification under my belt now, plus there's no other area that's of any real interest (beyond say Management). A lecturer of mine (essentially) told me that, but also - do what you like.

    Assuming I was (currently am) pulling up my socks and putting in the effort, should I go into accounting? Following on from that, should I just go towards the more common Audit route (ACA, ACCA) or should I go with CIMA, why?

    Honestly, I regret not putting in more of an effort with my Business degree and I've been stupid to coast because ultimately pursuing accountancy now seems like the single most intelligent decision I could make, am I passionate about accounting? Nope, but I find it interesting and I think I could get on with it.

    I'm looking at following my degree with a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting with hopes of then getting a graduate job or potentially following it up with a masters, I'm not sure. I'm looking at the Diploma because I've missed a lot of the CAP1 Exemptions, and frankly I want to start from scratch to ensure I truly know what I'm doing. Plus I haven't much of a hope getting a graduate accountancy position as it stands.

    Any advice/suggestions?

    I've spoken to quite a few people, from Masters students to lecturers, those in graduate roles and a fella who left accounting to go back to teaching. I think I'm on the right track with accounting, but if I'm not I've no clue what else.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,281 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    The one thing that you have not mentioned is that you are actually interested in becoming an accountant. It’s going to take 3 to 5 years to become a competent accountant and it is going to require a study regime like you have never experienced before. Clients/employers pay accountants to get things right, not almost right, so the standards are high. If you have had a tendency to coast through college, then you needed to ask yourself if you have the motivation and the discipline to stick the course.

    People in senior management come from all kinds of backgrounds: finance, marketing, science, engineering and IT. Some have PhD and others apprenticeships. One of the recent CEOs of Nestle started out as an apprentice lorry driver, former heads at DB and UBS both started as clerks in banks and worked their way up. None of these three had a college education, but they had a few things in common: a certain amount of luck of being in the right place at the right time, people skills, political skills and bags of self confidence.

    An accounting qualification won’t hinder you from reaching the senior ranks, it won’t get you there either without a lot of other things coming together as well. And then again life happens, your expectations and objectives change and what is important to you today might be irrelevant in 10 years time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 293 ✭✭ifeelabreeze

    I think I am but I’m honestly not sure.

    I know I’ve no interest in a career in Marketing or HR, which is what my degree is gearing me towards.

    Sales - Maybe but I don’t know, I have my doubts.

    I’ve always preferred Accounting over Finance, never considered Economics.

    I think the only reason I stuck out the degree is because a lecturer in first year reeled me in, his lectures were on Competitive advantage, how McDonalds was a real estate company and Starbucks a bank.

    I’m interested in how companies tick, where they make their money, how, how they differentiate themselves and how they perform as efficiently as possible. Had I been naturally gifted at maths I would probably gone into Engineering.

    I was an apprentice electrician for awhile, hated that. I ended up hiding away doing safety checks, and I was delighted to do a full inventory check and cross reference for something like 260 pieces of kit.

    I have a good eye for detail, I’m good with numbers, not great at maths but I’ve never struggled to add and subtract!

    I could see myself in accounting, I couldn’t see myself working in recruitment. I could easily see myself putting in sustained and genuine effort if I saw it leading down the road I want to be on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,089 ✭✭✭DubCount

    An accounting qualification (ACA, ACCA, or CIMA) is a serious undertaking. They are all a significant step up from a business degree in terms of difficulty and required commitment. If you are looking to be an accountant or want to move into financial management, then its a great move. If finance and accounting is not "your thing" then my advice is to find a different track.

    If you are looking at general management, maybe you'd be better off doing a management programme with a large company. After 4/5 years, consider an MBA. That would leave you with a broader experience of different management disciplines, and ultimately better qualified for a CEO type role.

  • Registered Users Posts: 293 ✭✭ifeelabreeze

    I've spoken to a few who've gone on to do Accounting masters and some who've just recently passed their FAE's they've all said something along the lines of think long and hard about it.

    I think CIMA, or something leaning towards Management Accounting is going to be a better fit for me off the bat.

    I want to eventually make those strategic decisions, and that sounds well and good but I think getting a solid grasp of the financial underpinnings is the best step towards that (for me).

    I'd like to work in accountancy, at least compared to Marketing or HR but I say that having never worked in any of those areas!

    My options are Accounting, Consulting or a Management programme, I'm leaning towards Accounting and more towards Management Accounting as it stands. But I'm also seriously considering what I'll be signing myself up for because those around me are saying it's tough, and I know they're all very capable.