One of the most common questions that accounting graduates ask is: what type of accountant should I be?
Yet, the answer to this simple question is not so straightforward. It is crucial to understand the different types of accountancy and their specific features to choose the type of accountant that goes well with who you are. The guide below has 5 different types and career paths within accountancy to choose as a new graduate. Let’s roll.
This is the most common and the broadest field. As a Practice Accountant, you work as a bookkeeper, auditor, consultant, and anything that is required by clients. Practice Accountants deal with different projects and work closely with businesses. One month you could be working as an auditor with one business and the next you will be working as a tax advisor for another business in a different niche.
If you love doing the same kind of job over and over again for the rest of your life, be a Public Accountant. If you like any (or all) of the following, being a Practice Accountant is a good choice for you:
- Change and diversity.
- Doing different things and tasks.
- Getting paid well for all the hard work you do.
- Love to socialise and meet new people.
- Love travelling and visiting new places.
- Don’t mind sitting late in your office sometimes.
- Hard work doesn’t bother you.
- Like unpredictability.
- Passionate about your career.
- And importantly, you get on with people.
A Corporate Accountant works with a single company and is responsible for managing the company’s accounts. The role often goes by the name of Internal Auditor. As a Corporate Accountant, you deal with financial statements, business activities, risk management, fraud detection, and all types of internal auditing. You will not just deal with the accounts, but you will also provide higher management with financial analysis for the business.
Corporate accountancy is best for you if you:
- Love to master one thing.
- Hate unpredictability.
- Like to follow a routine and stick to the plan.
- Love working with the same company and same people.
- Don’t like socialising so much or meeting new people.
- Love a secure job.
- Do not like traveling much.
- Love having dinner with your family every single day.
Cost Accountants are also known as Management Accountants or Managerial Accountants. These are the people who are linked more closely with higher management. Their primary job is to manage cost. Cost Accountants also develop budgets, manage inventory, and counsel on increasing the company’s efficiency.
Cost Accountants differ from Internal Auditors in several ways. The former deal specifically with cost and budgeting, and are involved in decision-making. In contrast, Internal Auditors handle all the company’s finances and are not normally involved in management and/or decision-making.
Becoming a Cost Accountant requires further training. Therefore, throughout your career, you need to continue to train and equip yourself with the latest information in accountancy and cost management.
A Cost Accountant is the best career if you:
- Love dealing with costs and budgeting.
- Like to be an expert at one thing.
- Like to work with a large company (often in manufacturing).
- Love job security.
- Enjoy continual study.
- Like data analysis and reporting.
- Love working with businesses where you can contribute something noteworthy and improves efficiency.
Would you love being part of the Civil Service? If so, become a Government Accountant or Local Government Accountant. You can become a Capital Accountant, a Financial Analyst or even work for Customs and Excise to specialise in tax. As a Government employee, you will also evaluate Government institutes and private businesses to ensure compliance.
Government accountancy jobs are perfect for those who:
- Love working in public service.
- Like a safe and secure job.
- Are not as motivated by money.
- Love a predictable job and life.
- Do not mind progressing slowly in their career.
If you prefer independence, you can start your own business such as a consultancy firm or a business advisor. As a business owner, you need to choose a specific niche that you plan to serve and gain relevant experience at the same time. It is the best career if you:
- Have the resources and experience to start a new business.
- Love freedom and flexibility.
- Like being your own boss.
- Love working with new people and on new projects.
What is best for you?
You are the only one who can decide which career is right for you. Choose the option based on your interests, strengths, likes, and dislikes. Do what you love to do and become very good at it.
All the types of accountancy discussed above offer a different career and life. Explore what type of life you want and expect, and then choose a career that offers it.
Thanks for this post go to our friend Leslie Gilmour of accountancy firm Gilmour & Co. Initially, he trained as an accountant, and then found his passion lay in marketing and accountancy software.