Five Nontraditional Jobs for Accountants
While a career in accounting can be the perfect path for some, it isn’t unusual for professionals to explore different paths. Luckily for accountants, experience in accounting can be one of the most beneficial assets for exploring different career opportunities.
Experienced accounting professionals and those graduating with a degree in the profession are in high demand. In fact, a 2015 study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the top two in-demand bachelor’s degrees are finance and accounting – with 56 percent of respondents planning to hire a candidate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Below are five examples of nontraditional careers for accountants looking for a change.
1. Business Analyst
As an accountant, you’re constantly working with company data – such as profits and losses. These metrics, however, are just one piece of a larger puzzle. For organizations to be successful, they need to be able to see the forest and the trees.
This is where business analysts come in. Business analysts are responsible for synthesizing data from multiple sources to help the organization see how different initiatives fit together.
Those looking to transition into this field will want to learn at least one programming language, such as Python, and hone statistical skills.
Accountants are exposed to many different situations, clients, and business needs. Throughout your experience, you may start to see gaps for products or services needed that don’t exist yet. One of those gaps may just lead to your next job.
Entrepreneurs should have a strong understanding of the financial implications starting your own business can have. You will need to take stock of your assets to figure out how much you can risk and how long you can afford to go without making a profit. This is where an accounting background becomes invaluable.
To ensure a successful transition to an entrepreneur or business owner, you will need a compelling business idea, a market for your service, and enough savings to sustain you while you get your new venture up and running.
3. Investor Relations Specialist
Investor relations specialists help bridge the communications gap between the organization and its investors, shareholders, and analysts. They also play a key role in creating financial materials, such as annual reports and earnings releases.
Your background in accounting and finance will help you to quickly understand and strategically communicate all elements of the organization’s business to key stakeholders. Additionally, similar to accounting departments, investor relations specialists typically report to the organization’s CFO.
Superior analytical, reporting, and communications skills are crucial for this career path. Those interested in this field should also be articulate as they are required to share the company’s stories with key stakeholders, as well as the media.
4. Business Manager
Business managers oversee the day-to-day operations of several departments within the organization, such as marketing, sales, and/or production. They also oversee the activities of workers, including the hiring, training, and evaluation of new employees.
As a business manager, you will be responsible for preparing reports for senior management, developing and implementing budgets, and ensuring the organization is on track to meet its financial goals.
Business managers must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, in addition to problem-solving and management skills, which will help them to overcome obstacles that may prevent the departments or organization from reaching their financial goals.
5. IT Specialist
Accounting has changed over time thanks to many technological advancements. Software and information systems now play a major role in the industry and are main drivers for efficiency. As a result, there is a large push for companies to integrate business/finance and IT within their business.
Your experience in accounting and knowledge of these IT systems give you valuable insight into what is needed from this technology to make your work even more efficient – making you the perfect candidate to create it. As an IT specialist, you will also advise your organization on its IT choices, allowing you to have a significant impact on the business by helping it run more efficiently.
If you’re interested in taking on more of a technological role, educational programs and courses in computer programming and software development are recommended.
If you’re unsure about the current road you’re on, test out alternative career paths. Shadowing coworkers in other departments of your company can give you an idea of what the day-to-day in another position looks like. Your degree and experience in accounting is an invaluable asset – use it to help you venture beyond your comfort zone and explore other opportunities.
Kathy Gans is senior vice president at Accounting Principals, a recruitment service for accounting, finance and banking professionals.