Counting on Change: Why Switching To A Career In Accounting Might Be Your Best Move

Posted by Albers School of Business and Economics on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 9:16 PM PDT

 

After this past year, change isn’t optional.

The working world has faced a massive upheaval, and adjustments, pivots, and lean principles have determined who would survive this survival-of-the-fittest shift in how we do business. In this altered landscape, the importance of being multifaceted in one’s role is clear, leading those in the workforce to consider a career change or add-on to leverage better cross-functionality to grow their business amidst uncertainty. And the C-Suite has come to the same conclusion. In a Deloitte survey of 3,600 executives, almost three-quarters of the participants identified “the ability of their people to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles” as what is most needed in order to navigate the future. Yet, only 17 percent went on to say that their employees were prepared to take the necessary actions to do so.

This doesn’t just impact the current workforce. Students’ preparing to enter the job market might look at their academic focus and evaluate whether they have positioned themselves in the best way possible to achieve their future career goals, especially in a competitive, post-pandemic job market.

But regardless of when, or why, one may be coming to the realization of this need for change, it does seem clear that those who are in the crossroads will be looking to make a move that will provide not only opportunities to advance, but also enough potential for long-term career satisfaction.

With this in mind, it’s worth taking a look at a career in accounting, or perhaps for some a second career in accounting, a critical business function with many applications and ways to utilize its skills across industries. The skills acquired from an accounting degree are always in demand, no matter the job market. Programs such as Master’s in Professional Accounting (MPAC) for non-accounting majors provide graduates with invaluable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and research analysis, as well as organization and time management. Enrolling in a MPAC program, like those available at Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics, is a practical choice that opens the doors to different career paths and vocational opportunities.

What Makes An Accounting Master’s Degree So Viable?

As you navigate the first steps in your career change (or future career change), it’s important to consider how this change to accounting would fulfill your needs and objectives. To help inform such career-related decisions, we’ve outlined a few benefits of choosing a second career in accounting. 

The Accounting Job Market Is Strong And Stable

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accounting graduates make up one of the largest workforces in the continental U.S. BLS also predicts that employment of accountants and auditors will grow 4 percent within the next decade, while unemployment rates of accountants remain significantly lower than overall unemployment rates, giving those with this degree a distinct advantage.

Essentially every business and industry relies on accountants to keep track of their financial data, analyze the information, and leverage the resulting insights to make sound financial decisions. And with an increasingly complex economy, with shifting business models and evolving regulations, the skills and knowledge accountants bring to the table are essential as businesses look to successfully steer through these growing intricacies.

Accounting Competency Is Well Compensated

A higher demand for accountants translates into competitive compensation and benefits. The median salary for accountants is approximately $71,000 per year, with earning potential increasing significantly alongside experience and or additional specialties. For example, managerial accounting positions can earn an average salary of $94,000 per year. Accountants with CPAs and advanced degrees are likely to make six-figure salaries, sometimes even after only a few years of experience.

And while these numbers are industry averages, and therefore can fluctuate depending on location, employer, and the overall job description, it is clear that businesses will continue to rely on accountants for their expertise and will compensate accordingly.

Accounting Career Options Are Vast

Knowledge in accounting goes beyond crunching numbers and filling in spreadsheets. Because accounting is a broad field, covering the recording, tracking, and analysis of financial transactions, along with ensuring the safety of this financial information, it allows for a diverse range of careers which are critical to business function. A cornerstone of accounting is problem-solving and impeccable communication skills, which helps companies make better, well-thought-out decisions. It is no wonder that some accountants become executives and C-Suite leaders, applying their skill sets to drive major corporations, while others go to work within government agencies or within the nonprofit sector, using their knowledge to improve a community or rally to a cause.

Some with accounting degrees move into advisory roles, such as consulting, where their analytical and business skills may be applied beyond financials and into other tactical business matters. As our economy evolves and "departmental silos" break down, cross-functionality is dominating work environments. As successful accountants use critical thinking and managerial skills to work across departments and juggle varying responsibilities, these invaluable employees are sought after in virtually every industry and vertical.

Stay At The Cutting Edge

Consider the growing number of startups that have saturated the market. In the past nine years, startups have seen an increase in funding of 1,000%. Nevertheless, startup success can be elusive (successful ones even being called "unicorns") and can be considered risky to invest in, leading investors to become increasingly selective when choosing where to supply startup capital. When employees or CEOs of these younger startups demonstrate a holistic understanding of their business and their role within it, investors are more likely to trust that business to understand their market, finances, and overall trajectory.

Finding this type of comprehensive talent can be a challenge. One VP of a cybersecurity company stated these "talent wars" are becoming a problem driving up costs, making scaling more difficult. By adopting skill sets afforded by accounting degrees, one can set themselves or their business apart by showcasing a more integrated understanding of an entire business model, mission, or direction.

How To Prepare For A Shift Into A Second Career In Accounting

As a non-accounting student, looking ahead at the future career trajectory made possible with this degree can be incentive enough to pursue a Master's in Accounting. For those already established in a career, there may be a multitude of other aspects to consider and weigh. But whether you are a student or professional, making the switch into accounting takes laying the foundation through the right education.

The best part is that, even without an accounting degree, there are top-rated programs that offer Master’s in Accounting students a world-class curriculum and flexibility. These programs are open to students from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and also provide important student support including job placement support, networking, and preparation services for other academic certifications that can accelerate your career and boost your earning potential. 

Need Help With Your Next Move?

Seattle University has made a name for itself transforming lives and sending visionaries into the world to disrupt the market via some of the most recognizable names in business success. Albers School of Business and Economics’ has two Master’s in Accounting programs with one track specifically dedicated to accounting for non-accounting majors or backgrounds, in order to establish the most solid foundation possible for a successful career. The primary focus of the program is to prepare individuals to grow into competent accounting professionals and to develop relevant skillsets so graduates can hit the ground running in an accounting profession.

Other benefits of Albers' Master’s in Accounting program include, but are not limited to, high CPA pass rates, high placement rates post-graduation, and access to Seattle University’s extensive alumni network and deep connections with Seattle's professional community.

If you have any questions regarding accounting programs for non-accounting majors or sitting for the CPA exam to change careers, we hope you’ll visit our website to learn more and reach out so we can help connect you with the best path forward towards your future career.