Why choose to be an accountant anyway?

ACCA SA Business Development Manager, Charléne Raiser, is an ACCA member. Passionate about the accounting profession, Charléne completed the ACCA Professional Qualification some years ago.

In an era where technology prevails and there are so many career paths to choose from, why would one choose a profession that has been around for as long as the human race began to trade?

Often, and surprisingly, in this day and age the word accountant is associated with the words and phrases boring, number-crunching, bean-counting, too serious and inflexible. Perhaps, this is because it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve the designation of a professional accountant.

Yes, a significant amount of commitment, discipline and hard work is required to enter this profession, but it also attracts the most dynamic and forward thinking people. Gone are the days when accountants were the people that sat behind wooden desks and balanced ledgers all day. Today, accountants are multifunctional and multifaceted individuals, some of whom rise up to become Chief Executive Officers of billion dollar corporations, or become leaders in the field of strategy and entrepreneurship.

Over the years the accounting profession has evolved and has become a more diverse and complex profession. This is widely reflected in the services that are commonly offered by accountants in practice, which range from general accounting services to corporate finance, risk advisory and strategy and innovation, to name but a few. Accounting has become the language of business.

So, to my mind, the modern accountant has to wear many hats and is an astute individual, who has to have the ability to tackle anything that is thrown at her, but not merely tackle things to get the job done as easily as possible, but tackle challenges with integrity from an ethical perspective that does not compromise herself, or any organisation involved. The role of the accountant can therefore, not be taken lightly: accountants are an important and essential component within any organisation and any economy.

Every year thousands of people choose to start a career in accounting or choose to change their career path by pursuing the accounting profession. So, what is the attraction?

• exposure to various aspects of business,
• the potential to progress in any direction beyond just the accounting profession,
• a career that is both financially rewarding and gratifying, and
• the ability to enjoy a variety of roles in different sectors, and the opportunity to gain broad experience.

In South Africa, the accounting profession is facing a shortage of qualified accountants to take on the various roles that are required by business. This is an opportunity for those deciding on their next career move. Accounting can provide a very rich and rewarding career and is more than worth considering for both those starting out, and those that want to make a career change. Go on, join the bandwagon.

Charléne Raiser
ACCA SA Business Development Manager

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