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Is the stress of being an accountant manageable?

I'm looking into going into accounting and finance, but don't have an idea of specifically what job I would want. When thinking about accounting, I think of sitting in an office all day and simply doing whatever it is you do for your company. Is the stress manageable or hard to handle?

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Celine’s Answer

Hey Isabella!

For me, handling stress is doable, but it really depends on how well someone can deal with it. In the world of public accounting, we have some months that are busier than others. So, I like to use the quieter months to relax and recharge my batteries. Plus, we usually know when the busy times are coming, which makes it simpler to get ready for the longer work hours.
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Harry’s Answer

Hi Isabella. Stress is what you make of it. Some get bogged down with it, others consider it just a challenge to overcome. Over time it just becomes something that you deal with. Accounting/Finance is a broad description. Each one can be broken down into many more specific areas. EG: Accounting branches to public or private. Public branches into being a CPA and Taxes, Auditing, Consulting, Small Business or International, (and other areas.) Private can include Service, Non-profit, Government, private equity, manufacturing, taxes or auditing (and other areas).

I suggest you Google the many different opportunities. You will find there are many options.

Remember, even though you may choose a profession, you never know where it may lead. My accounting career has led me to a number of rewarding, not-accounting experiences.
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Megan’s Answer

Hello!

A big question to ask yourself is what kind of person you are and how you handle stress? What is your limit? Work stress will be in addition to whatever personal stressors are already present in your life.

We generally think of working in accounting in two ways:
1) public accounting
2) industry

In public accounting, you are an asset to the company and you serve your clients on different projects. Generally these are either audit, tax, or advisory in nature. Busy seasons are cyclical based on internal, client, and regulatory deadlines but working hours have the potential to be long but flexible with more remote options.

In industry, you are a back-office expense helping keep the business' financials in check. These can be in a wide variety of roles depending on the size of the company and how it is structured. Busier times can vary based on month-end close and other deadlines but working hours are generally your 9-5 desk job.

Here's a good article I found for some additional perspective: https://www.picpa.org/articles/cpa-now-blog/cpa-now/2021/08/10/perspectives-on-working-in-public-accounting-vs-industry

For people who like the hustle and bustle and grind, I've found those people thrive in public accounting settings. For people who like a more routine work schedule, I've found these people thrive in industry settings in accounting/financial analyst type roles. This is a generalization, so I would recommend talking to recruiters and company representatives about how they manage their work-life balance and/or work-life integration.

Best of luck!
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Carrie’s Answer

Most accounting jobs run on a cycle. There are generally predictable busy and slow times. I recommend not applying at accounting firms if you are worried about the stress.
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Dirk’s Answer

Depends. Accountants in companies typically have an 8-5 job. Their stress level is manageable at most. BUT: there are deadlines that need to be met, rules that have to be followed (and accounting rules do change as well), and seasonable stress times - as there are with many jobs.

If you want to advance in your career, you have to get a CPA certification, which is not easy to pass.

Upside of being an Accountant: you have a stable job, and you are usually among the first ones to know if your company is at danger.
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Sarah’s Answer

Agree that it depends. Everyone's ability to handle stress varies and some people get stressed easier than others. There are also so many different accounting and finance jobs outside of being a public accountant!
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Marcos’s Answer

Hello!

To best answer your question, I would first like to say that it all depends on the individual and the type of accounting you are doing. For example, there are many different types of branches and I would argue that there are certain branches of accounting that have more stress then others as they may face more complex issues.

The level of stress is manageable if you prioritize your health first. I highly recommend that you first really look at what helps you cope with stress. I never thought this was something that would work for me but whenever I have a stressful assignment, I try to take everything step by step. If I come across a point where the amount of stress I have is prohibiting me from moving forward, I take a quick 15 minute break. That break is vital for me to regroup my thoughts, take a breath and then come back to the assignment with a fresh mind. After taking that small break, I come back and feel much better and normally can complete the assignment much more efficient than if I was multitasking and stressed about next steps.

Although my answer probably does not directly answer your question, I hope this gives you some information on how I try to reduce my stress levels at my job.
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David’s Answer

In Audit and Tax, you will be required to work LONG hours during busy seasons. So stress will be front and center with the demanding hours and tight deadline. Accounting relating consulting work is usually high profile projects dealing with issues that can impact your client's bottom by the millions. You will have to answer to the client and your responses need to be quick and accurate because they are paying top dollar for your consulting services. So being an accountant is definitely stressful, but some people perform better under stress.
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Celina’s Answer

Hey Sarah, the world of accounting is full of deadlines, but with excellent project management abilities and staying organized by prioritizing tasks, you can definitely reduce stress levels. Being a fantastic communicator and collaborating with your team members to finish your projects is equally important. Keep up the good work!
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Travis’s Answer

Hi Isabella. In my experience the stress of being an accountant is very manageable. As David mentioned, you will be required to work long hours during busy seasons. However, you have a good idea of when busy season will start and a relative idea of when it will end. Knowing this allows you to mentally prepare for the long hours along with planning out your days and weekends to properly destress.
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