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Making a career change to accounting - need advice

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 21st, 2020 1:13 pm
[OP]
Member
Feb 1, 2020
220 posts
79 upvotes

Making a career change to accounting - need advice

I am in my late 20s from Canada. I studied engineering in undergrad and for the last 5 years ive been working in supply chain. I kind of just fell onto that path because of my first internship. I am really shy and introverted.

I am on my third job out of university. Worked at first company for 4 years, second company for 3 months before quitting and now been 3 months on my third company. Really feeling burned out of this career. I dont have the creativity to constantly come up with process improvement initiative.There is also a lot of ambiguity at my current job which i hate.

I always said if i didnt go into engineering i would have gone into accounting. I took accounting in high school and it came really easily to me. Of course that was a high school level course.

I feel i would be good at accounting as from what i understand a lot of it is following rules.

I have come across a Masters in Accounting program which is 16 months. Been thinking of applying for next year but scared of committing and the realizing i do nit like accounting.

What advice do you have? Do you recommend a career switch to accounting at this age? Would i have a hard time finding a job with my background? Also what are the pros and cons of accounting in your opinion?

Thanks
5 replies
Sr. Member
May 24, 2007
547 posts
205 upvotes
Hi, shy and introverted people aren't very suited for the accounting profession in general.
The accounting profession at the higher level is about communicating/translating financial information into useful actionable information for senior management. Not to mention most accountants start out a public firm doing mostly client facing work.

If you are only interested in crunching numbers in a back office type of role and never getting past the processing type of work, you can obviously do that... But that's not where the money is at and it is not very fulfilling.

Check out this accounting podcast. Lots of good info for students and I wish I had access to before I dived headfirst into Accounting. https://anchor.fm/adrianlaw
Sr. Member
May 4, 2006
667 posts
381 upvotes
Mississauga
Great advice by Jokkon, i find this stereotype of "accountants" being straight up number crunchers, no personality, sitting in a corner working alone to come up so often. Dont get me wrong, ran into so many accountants who fit that description, but as jokkon indicated, if you want to move up the ladder and obtain a salary that can be comparable to an engineer, generally you will need to have good communication skills.

How shy are you? If your just not the type to be proactive but can communicate when needed, that should not a problem. But if you generally like to avoid speaking to people, that might be an issue. Although, i have seen people who have communication issues, mostly due to English being their 2nd language and they are in management positions, it all depends.

Do keep in mind, its a very saturated field, dont know much about the engineering job market, but i always got the impression from a friend whos an engineer, it was easy to find a high paying job.

IMO, i wouldnt change to accounting just because it came easy to you in high school, do it because you are interested in it. Especially since your getting a 2nd chance at something else, do something you would love doing.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 2, 2013
5617 posts
1478 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
scamit wrote: Great advice by Jokkon, i find this stereotype of "accountants" being straight up number crunchers, no personality, sitting in a corner working alone to come up so often. Dont get me wrong, ran into so many accountants who fit that description, but as jokkon indicated, if you want to move up the ladder and obtain a salary that can be comparable to an engineer, generally you will need to have good communication skills.

How shy are you? If your just not the type to be proactive but can communicate when needed, that should not a problem. But if you generally like to avoid speaking to people, that might be an issue. Although, i have seen people who have communication issues, mostly due to English being their 2nd language and they are in management positions, it all depends.

Do keep in mind, its a very saturated field, dont know much about the engineering job market, but i always got the impression from a friend whos an engineer, it was easy to find a high paying job.

IMO, i wouldnt change to accounting just because it came easy to you in high school, do it because you are interested in it. Especially since your getting a 2nd chance at something else, do something you would love doing.
"Accounting" is very broad. What sector are you working in? Or, are you even an accountant - or just using the knowledge and experience in one, in another role?

I too have been an introvert. I'm almost fearless and am not afraid of risk, meeting new people, and I have a high need for socializing. But the constant interaction with people and becoming involved, tires me out.
So much of my experience has been working in small teams or individually; I was mostly in advising/consulting roles, and before that, operating equipment and trucks (blue collar) in O&G and construction.
Growing up, I was the "shy" type who rarely spoke to anyone. I naturally am not a trusting person.

Certain people perform at certain things, and not so much others. There is actually work that performance is lower with extroverts.

For example, where jobs of a highly analytical nature with low job interdependence (i.e. jobs within the same team or company are not highly dependent on each other), these roles actually prefer introverts, since they generally:
- stay focused better;
- are less adversely affected by social pressures, unfavorable workplace forms, environmental factors, etc.

Introverts also tend to be more creative - as they have lower need for social acceptance - which is favorable for certain roles as well.

But, extroversion is obviously more favorable for some jobs like sales, executives, etc. where you are to be a "face" of the company, or your performance is tied at how well you WOW people based on charisma. It is also favored in environments where "fitting in", molding into a certain corporate or social culture is desirable (an area I fail in). When I used to look over a few employees, I'd draft the whole plan, strategy, presentation, etc. for the team to take to a client/potential client. Then I'd let the people best at talking, do the talk.

I am not an expert in Accounting as I have more of an advisor/consulting background - and like yourself - I went back to school for Accounting (am almost complete). But, usually people who come to me are those looking to have a messy problem solved, to squeeze extra money out of places, or have a very difficult job that most people do not want to do, or lack the persistence to.
Last edited by FirstGear on Jul 21st, 2020 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Accountant (Public Practice)
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Sr. Member
May 4, 2006
667 posts
381 upvotes
Mississauga
Currently with one of the big 4 accounting firms.

Yes your right, it is broad, but what i was trying to get at is people have this view of accountants as just number crunchers behind a desk, and this would lead to limited interaction with others. I had the same view getting into the profession, since i was also a bit shy and introverted. I found out this is not the case in the profession, and there are many roles that require good communication skills, especially once you get into the consulting side or reporting directly to stakeholders.
FirstGear wrote: "Accounting" is very broad. What sector are you working in? Or, are you even an accountant - or just using the knowledge and experience in one, in another role?

I too have been an introvert. I'm almost fearless and am not afraid of risk, meeting new people, and I have a high need for socializing. But the socialization wears me out and I get tired of talking/dealing with people. So much of my experience has been working in small teams or individually; I was mostly in advising/consulting roles, and before that, operating equipment and trucks (blue collar) in O&G and construction.
Growing up, I was the "shy" type who rarely spoke to anyone. I naturally am not a trusting person.

Certain people perform at certain things, and not so much others. There is actually work that performance is lower with extroverts.

For example, where jobs of a highly analytical nature with low job interdependence (i.e. jobs within the same team or company are not highly dependent on each other), these roles actually prefer introverts, since they generally:
- stay focused better;
- are less adversely affected by social pressures, unfavorable workplace forms, environmental factors, etc.

Introverts also tend to be more creative - as they have lower need for social acceptance - which is favorable for certain roles as well.

But, extroversion is obviously more favorable for some jobs like sales, executives, etc. where you are to be a "face" of the company, or your performance is tied at how well you WOW people based on charisma.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 2, 2013
5617 posts
1478 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
scamit wrote: Currently with one of the big 4 accounting firms.

Yes your right, it is broad, but what i was trying to get at is people have this view of accountants as just number crunchers behind a desk, and this would lead to limited interaction with others. I had the same view getting into the profession, since i was also a bit shy and introverted. I found out this is not the case in the profession, and there are many roles that require good communication skills, especially once you get into the consulting side or reporting directly to stakeholders.
Funny you mention that, as I come mostly from a consulting/advising background - very different than number crunching behind a desk. Communication I found is key, as well as relating to people. This varies upon industry. I've found it extremely difficult to break out of O&G for this reason - where we more so deal based on word of mouth, reputation, and results. We typically spend minimal effort trying to WOW or tell stakeholders what they want to hear, and showing them what they want to see.

There are a lot less interpersonal skills and communication skills involved compared to other sectors. It has been easy to connect and work with these people, but otherwise, those from other sectors who prefer more 'soft skills' approaches, not so much.

This also surfaces a lot when presenting information, or in persuasion. The techniques employed can be very different depending on the audience. Introversion tends to work against the presenter. In many companies, thats why they hire attractive women to deliver such presentations, after acquiring information from the "brains".

I noticed that those who are shy, quiet, and just stay behind a desk, fit particular fixated roles very well that involve taking some X input and converting it to Y output, and not much else. But they don't move from them much. Examples are maintenance and IT developers/technicians, operations manager, bookkeepers, analysts, administrators and their assistants, etc. Those particular roles may require reporting to a supervisor regularly, but otherwise, social interaction is limited, as they are discouraged from being distracted or deviating from particular procedures. Someone with a strong opinion does not make a good long-term candidate. Advancement is limited as they perform well at what they do, and the bosses prefer them to continue to do so (apart from performance incentives).
Accountant (Public Practice)
  • Oilfield & Industrial Services, Environmental Services
  • Road Construction
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Tax & Financial Analysis
  • In the Western Canadian Oilfield since 2013

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