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What is the most challenging aspect of being an accountant?


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Heather’s Answer

As an auditor, I think the most challenging aspect of the job is the work life balance. The hours can be long during certain months of the year. Although not really avoidable during busy season, during non busy season, it is important to ensure you make time for your family and yourself. Whether that is booking a vacation, being home for family dinners or getting to the gym, you need to make time to do it. You will likely last longer in your career if you keep up with that and will be happier in general!


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Tony’s Answer

As with a lot of client service roles there are fair bit of demands on your time and some unpredictability in your schedule so will certainly create challenges with respect to managing your time and ensuring your priorities are clearly defined.


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David’s Answer

For me, the most challenging aspect of the profession is the constant updates and being able to stay on top of changes to accounting standards, practices, and incorporating technology into our work to help facilitate better/faster results. There's always going to be better ways to do things, and finding solutions to everyday problems is going to be a constant part of the job. It gets harder to find these solutions, however, as accounting standards change and you need to always be updated on what the correct treatment for a transaction/auditing procedure is, because you cannot find solutions if you aren't prepared and fully knowledgeable of the items you're dealing with.

David recommends the following next steps:

Learn technology. Office, tableau, alteryx, bots, anything.

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Hrishi’s Answer

Hey Adalberto! Great question. As most folks have mentioned, achieving work-life balance, and managing your time efficiently are definitely a challenge when you first start off on the accounting path. However, as a consultant within the accounting profession, I can tell you that managing expectations of your clients, superiors, as well as your peers also require constant effort. You will find that there will be multiple demands of you at any given moment, so prioritizing the more important work first, and letting others know of what they can realistically expect from you given your work load can be challenging at times. The solution to this is frequent and effective communication with your clients/team about where you are with their demand, so that you can proactively manage their expectations. Good luck!


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Joseph’s Answer

As an accountant, I think one of the more challenging aspects of the job is the ability to be accurate and thorough. It is very important for accountants to be accurate and precise because your job is essential to running the business. I can't eloquently describe the challenge of being accurate, but I'm sure you could imagine that after staring at spreadsheets and numbers all day everything starts coming at you sideways. Another thing I find challenging about being an accountant is that there are actually a lot of rules, guidance, or literature that gets put out on how to treat certain transactions from an accounting perspective. It's almost like being a lawyer, especially if you decide to become an public auditor.

I hope this gave you a sense of some challenges of being an accountant. (P.S. if you work in public accounting, you will end up working a lot of hours during busy season.)


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Alexandra’s Answer

Hi Vivian, let me start by saying that every profession has challenging and rewarding aspects. However, working as an accountant brings a lot of responsibility and requires a lot of attention because you have to follow very specific rules and stay up to date on any changes to them. It is a wonderful feeling when you have helped your client meet accounting requirements so they can keep running and growing their business. The most challenging aspect, in my experience at an accounting firm, is using the client data for your work. Sometimes clients may not have enough internal resources but they should give you information to start each project and if the information is not well-organized, you have to work longer and harder to provide the advice to the client. Another challenging aspect are the tight deadlines and time pressure to complete the work.


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Denise’s Answer

Hi Adalberto! I think the answer would vary depending on the context. If it was pertaining to school, I would say some classes such as intermediate/advanced accounting are rather challenging and heavy on numbers (but also the most interesting for me)! But regarding work, I think the more challenging aspect is how you interact with people (whether it is your team or client), ability to adapt and learn on the spot, and meeting deadlines. However, nothing is too hard or impossible as long as you have a good attitude and willingness to learn! I hope this helps and best of luck!

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Mike’s Answer

The challenge is making the transition for school work to profession. To be successful, I would encourage you to be patient with yourself and be open to receiving feedback and let others lead you. At the same time be willing to work with different ideas and managers. Also be flexible and willing to take on new things.

In my professional history, the challenge was trusting myself with what I was learning and not being afraid to ask questions. Try to learn and understand the larger picture. So many professionals get caught in the details that they neglect the "why" and the "what" is supposed to be accommplished. It is always more than the "how."

The sooner you can develop analytical skills and seeing how to improve and streamline the process to get to the same desired results, the better you will become as a valued professional.

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Chelsea’s Answer

One of the challenging aspects is that the hours may sometimes be long, and if there are unexpected deadlines that need to be met, you may have to adjust your schedule to fit the work in. On the flip side though, there are times during the year where there is not much going on, and it is easy to take vacation and disconnect.


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Danielle’s Answer

HI Adalberto,

I think the answer to this question will be different for everyone, depending on their own strengths and weaknesses. For some working with difficult clients may be hard, while others may thrive under the challenge. Others may find project management skills or technical accounting skills to be their biggest difficulty. Others may struggle with softer skills like leading a team. I think knowing yourself and where your strengths and weaknesses lie will help you to focus on strengthening your strengths and developing your weaker areas.

Best wishes on your journey!

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Dave’s Answer

The most challenging aspect is managing my schedule. Work/life balance can be achieve you just need to be proactive in managing your schedule.


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Vivian’s Answer

As a tax accountant, the most challenging aspect is that the tax law changes every so often. Also, the technology has more and more impacts. You have to follow what's coming up and stay up to date to new technology.


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Michelle’s Answer

Hi Adalberto,

I think the most difficult aspect of being an accountant is constantly learning on the job. Being an accountant compared to being a student studying accountancy is very different. In school, you are given the information in a more organized format and you likely know what you will be tested on. However, when you start your career as an accountant, a lot of the information is not laid out like that. Many times you have to learn on-the-spot and adapt to the various real-life scenarios. The situations on the job are not going to be as smooth or as clean as the example problems in class. The key to this is to always be willing to learn and practice.

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zach’s Answer

Addressing the risk of technology. The profession is constantly changing so you have to innovate or get left behind.

Advice: Stay up to date on current affairs and what is happening in the profession.



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Jonathan’s Answer

Being an accountant can be quite challenging as you have to constantly keep up with evolving standards. For example, ASC 606 had significant changes on the way that companies account for their revenue. The hours can be long as most companies have to close their financial data by performing reconciliations on a monthly cadence. As challenging as the role can be, there are benefits in that there is a huge industry and demand for accountants. All businesses require accountants and there is a huge reliance on the accounting team to hit timelines and report accurately.


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Christina’s Answer

The fast pace life of public accounting can be tough when balancing family, friends and your out of work interests.


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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi, I believe the most challenging aspect of being an accountant is learning. Accounting has many different aspects to it from tax to auditing to advisory and consulting. There is always something to learn, which can be a great thing. I work for a public accounting firm and I work in a very specific group which deals with regulated investment companies. I work on tax returns and reviewing workpapers. There are so many adjustments and different tax terms that come out of each aspect of my work and I am constantly learning.


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Lindsay’s Answer

 The msot challenging aspect of being an accountant is how time consuming it can be. Managing yor work-life balance can be very diffcult. Depending on the company you work for clients can take up alot of your time. Most companies have programs/ flexible schedules set in balance to help you achieve this balance.


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Marcelo’s Answer

Hi Adalberto , I have been working as an accountant for 8 years, specifically in public accounting. What I find most challenging is that you have to keep up with several specific rules for auditing and for accounting. It takes time and a lot of reading for you to make sure you got all the literature you need to solve/address your day-to-day issues. Good luck on your research.


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Kelly’s Answer

As a tax professional in a Big 4 firm, I would say some of the most challenging things about being an accountant are:

-Unpredictability of client needs - they keep me on my toes whenever they call to ask for some additional reports.

-Updates to supporting documents received - this can create additional changes to the work performed and typically the deadlines don't change hence creating longer hours towards the end of a project.

-Having to keep up with the new changes to the tax laws in recent years.


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Sarah’s Answer

Prior to even starting a job in accounting, I would say the hardest aspect is passing the CPA exams. Although you learn a great deal in college and through studying for the exams, each of the four exams are difficult and require time management and perseverance to complete.

Once you enter a career in accounting, the hardest part is probably the learning curve of on-the-job performance. There is a lot of information to take in and many coaching opportunities where you will be taught how to do certain tasks and parts of the work. It is definitely challenging but also rewarding once you look back and see how much you've learned!

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Anthony’s Answer

I'd say the most challenging aspect of being an accountant is having to keep up to date and apply the constantly changing accounting rules and regulations. You really need to stay on top of this in order to complete work that is correct and in high quality as possible. I also think that another accounting challenge is sometimes there are strict deadlines that need to be met that can be very difficult to meet without working a lot of overtime which negatively affects work/life balance. There is a lot of time management, strategic planning, and execution needing to be implemented and the job can get very demanding at times where sacrifices will need to be made more than just a typical 40 hours a week job to be as successful as possible.


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Ana Isla’s Answer

As an auditor feel the most challenging aspect is to be able to stay organized given you'll normally be working on several projects at the same time,.You must be able to handle all of them, communicate with the client, with your team, finish your work on time while staying updated with all new accounting rules.


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