Even though many go for a chartered accounting career due to the perks and privileges of the profession, successful sailing is not easy. You must endeavor and keep yourself motivated in this technical and monotonous profession. First of all, passing the exam is one of the biggest challenges. And once you fulfill all the prerequisites, the real battle starts right from the get-go. It requires excellent analytical and technical skills to play with numbers without losing focus. Accounting is also evolving with the rapid intervention of technology, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Human involvement is becoming obsolete over time. But do not only look at the downside of the profession.
Continuous learning, expanding your expertise, and adjustment can help you stay relevant. It’s an immensely rewarding profession, and chartered accountants are highly sought-after professionals in the business sector. Once you get through the preliminary hurdles and understand the complexities of the career, it’s easy to keep your grounds firm and ensure survival.
The following sections further discuss what challenges you may face as a chartered accountant.
Satisfying prerequisites of the profession
Establishing a career in accounting requires getting through several checkpoints successfully. The foremost challenge is passing the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. It’s among the most daunting standardized examinations for CPA professionals. Though aspirants can find credible preparation sources like Wiley, many cannot make it in one go. And once you clear the exam with the required percentage, you have to fight against hundreds of candidates for a job position.
Previously, chartered accountancy was the career choice of a few people. But now, many focus on the benefits of overcoming entry-level challenges. As a result, the exam certifies thousands of aspirants for a few vacant positions yearly. Apart from qualifications, all of them are hard-willed, ambitious, and persistent individuals like you, so you have to wade through extensive competition and prove yourself. Until you gain hands-on experience, refine your skills, and make your mark, the early days of your career will remain challenging.
Continuous engagement for professional growth and learning
Passing a CPA exam is not the end of the story. CPA qualification only opens up opportunities, ensuring a successful journey requires a constant struggle for betterment. Like every profession, chartered accountants must upgrade and expand their knowledge and expertise to serve better. But the endeavor is demanding and costly. Accountants already deal with mounting workload and pressure. They already keep sacrificing their joy and family time for professional responsibilities. And sparing time for learning while working is challenging, even if you are passionate and ambitious about growth.
Multitasking, meeting deadlines, and ensuring faultless performance are not easy to master without effort. In addition, accounting relies heavily on technology and its applications. And technology keeps evolving since better versions of accounting software enter the market every other day. Hence, you cannot help but familiarize yourself with emerging tools and software to perform complex bookkeeping tasks.
Adjust to the unpredictable circumstances of the financial sector
The financial sector keeps evolving every single day. And evolutions can be demanding for chartered accountants. For instance, unforeseen highs and lows in exchange rates of even fractions can turn upside down the entire landscape of the financial world. Socio-political ups and downs can instantly create chaos for professionals associated with the financial sector. Changes in legislation and regulations around taxation also create uncertainty for employees and extend their work burden.
In addition, upgrades in technology are replacing workers with mundane accounting tasks. Employees are struggling with job security and obstacles to further growth. In short, accommodating diverse and rapid transformations is not easy. Thus, you must stay alert for every unpredictable event and adapt while managing your routine responsibilities.
Work and personal life clash
Work and life clash is part of almost every individual’s professional journey. But work and life balance is challenging in professions with higher commitments. The impressive perks and privileges of the chartered accountancy profession do not come without pain and demands. Chartered accountants spend more time in their offices, behind computers, and in client interaction than looking after their homes and family members. Usually, their duties extend beyond standard work hours, so they keep postponing and skipping their family responsibilities.
In short, their schedule is preoccupied with professional commitments all the time. And extensive professional engagement and overwork have negative consequences for accounting professionals. For instance, they cannot associate with their family members at gatherings and festivities when work calls. They miss out on their children’s developmental achievements while responding to clients or sorting out piled-up paperwork. The career requires sacrifices all the time. So, learn strategies to manage both aspects of your life with equal attention.
Stress and fatigue
Every professional field involves struggle and competition, and accounting is no exception. Chartered accountants are always alert and on their toes to fulfill professional responsibilities. Their job requires undivided attention. However, extensive mental engagement, work pressure, overwork, and deadlines in routine continue to overstretch their flexibility. And they have less time to refresh and recuperate themselves. As a result, they experience stress and fatigue in routine, which gradually adds to their well-being challenges. They cannot look after their health or spare time for regular exercise in such a busy schedule.
Some research observations reveal that 37% of accounting professionals associate work-related responsibilities as the significant cause of their stress. Stress and fatigue can lead to burning out where workers succumb to challenges. In addition, repetition with little excitement or newness in routine also undermines the psychological well-being of accounting professionals. Hence, equip yourself with coping strategies to succeed in the daunting profession.
Deal with online data breach threats
Data security is crucial in accounting activities. But today’s financial transactions and activities are prone to online and offline threats. For instance, reliance on software and the internet for bookkeeping has created several gaps for cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity attacks are rampant in the accounting profession. Hackers have countless ways to temper data that lead to financial losses. They can sneak in via email communication, internet surfing, software installations, and website logins. Thus, your ability to secure data is as essential as your accounting skills.
And for that, bookkeeping and accounting skills are not enough to sail you through professional challenges. You should also acquire multidisciplinary know-how and digital skills to perform accounting tasks and ensure data security. You have to be cautious of emerging cybersecurity threats and hacking techniques.
Accounting is a progressive career with ranging rewards and achievements. But remember that it requires sacrifices. And sometimes, passion, ambition, and hard work can fall short in achieving satisfaction in life. So, make your career choices wisely. Knowing the hardships and requirements of the profession well in advance can help you decide for your future. And the journey becomes easy once you’re sure of your choices. A career in accounting will not disappoint you if you learn to enjoy your life alongside professional commitments.