What Can Accountants do Besides Accounting? 6 Career Options

Accounting seems a lot more glamorous in college until you get out into the real world and work 60-100s a week in a big 4 busy season. Then you might be rethinking why exactly you chose to become an accountant.

Luckily an accounting background opens the doors to many other fields. If you are ever feeling like you want out of accounting, don’t worry, we have some great career options for accountants that you can transition into.

6 career options for accountants

Why Accountants Leave Accounting?

Is it the hours? The pay? The team members? There are quite a few reasons accountants leave accounting and sometimes it is hard to pinpoint the reason. Plenty of accountants cite the long hours but others say, “just pay me more and I’ll stay.” 

Whatever the reason, an accounting office can start to crumble like a house of cards when turnover starts to pile up. Work trickles downhill and accountants start to look outside accounting as they hear of jobs that don’t have a busy season. 

What Can Accountants do Besides Accounting?

Fortunately, accountants have a great base skill set. They learn how to manage time, people and jobs. Working in a big 4 environment and being able to handle the stress and pressure for a few years certainly jumpstarts any young accountant’s career. 

If burnout begins to set in, all hope isn’t lost. You don’t need to stick to just accounting with an accounting degree. Instead, there are a lot of other avenues to try and some can be more lucrative than accounting itself.

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You’ll benefit well having the fundamentals of accounting but won’t be heavy in the debits and credits. Advisory often helps in implementing systems, controls or remediating regulating findings for companies.

Another benefit is having a more consistent workflow than being in audit or tax.  There isn’t really a busy season in advisory even though projects can get busy. That said, advisory generally works fewer hours than audit or tax.

Learning Directors

learning directors office space

One of the most laid-back jobs in the big 4 is the learning and development director. Usually, they come from an accounting background but are responsible for all of the firm members are meeting their mandatory training.

Much of this is tracked by software so it isn’t as tedious as it sounds. Instead, the learning directors often have to deal with ad hoc queries, plan new training materials and implement them. You’ll still have your foot in the door with larger firms or the big 4 and don’t get stuck in the bush season.

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Go Into Investments

Accountants can make and easily switch into investments from accounting. From analyst roles to manager roles, there are plenty of opportunities in investments that don’t ever call for a debit or credit.

One way to make a full transition into a career in investments is to try to pass the CFA. Often it is regarded as harder than the CPA but it unlocks valuation, analyst, trader and portfolio manager roles. Accounting rules and principles can take a backseat if you make investments in the front seat.

Be a Financial Advisor

becoming a financial advisor

 Similar to going into investments, you can switch to a career as a financial advisor. Try getting a CFP. A certified financial planner is often a go-to for retirement planning, estate planning, saving, budgeting and even investing.

Instead of meeting accounting deadlines, you can help clients meet their financial objectives. You’ll still need a passion for client service but you be doing something completely different than technical accounting.

Try Banking

You probably passed a bank recently that has a job you can get into. We’re not talking about being a teller but instead getting into commercial lending or high-net-worth banking.

Banks regularly look for individuals with an accounting background and ones that have a good understanding of the financial system. Accountants can make an easy transition to banking and work their way up in a successful career path when coming out of the big 4.

Set a career alert and put banking jobs on your radar.

Run Your Own Business

Plenty of well-known entrepreneurs started their journeys as accountants. Will you be the next? An accounting background is perfect for venturing out into your own, starting a startup and being able to manage the finances.

Many accountants that get tired of the big 4 lifestyle in busy season go out and start their own businesses. With all of the experience you can get from a few years in public accounting, you’ll be ahead of most entrepreneurs when it comes to finances.

What Can Accountants do Besides Accounting? Final Thoughts

An accounting degree is just the start for accountants. Getting a degree in accounting doesn’t mean you are stuck in accounting. Explore some of the other finance options you can get into, build a career and you may not have to do technical accounting ever again!

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