Accountancy is an age-old profession that can be traced back to ancient civilizations like that of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Over the years accounting careers have evolved considerably advanced techniques and features now in its inventory.
For something which has been around for centuries, stereotypes and myths are bound to seep in. Many of us probably believe that accounting careers have hit a dead-end and lack the razzle-dazzle of other professions. This can even discourage interested candidates to take up accounts training.
In this piece, we have tried to debunk the top 8 myths about accountancy. We hope that accounting aspirants willing to take up an accounts course or any kind of accounts training would no more be misled by the volumes of speculation.
Myth #1: Accounting is Monotonous
Yes, and the sun rises in the west! Jokes apart, accounting jobs are a far cry from what is actually portrayed by naysayers. Accounting is as challenging as any other profession because accounting has to constantly evolve in order to keep pace with the recent developments in the financial space. With changing taxation laws like GST, accountants had to keep themselves updated about it and work accordingly. Accountants are also required to interpret the proper meanings of all the financial laws and act accordingly. It’s all exciting!
Myth #2: Accountants Need To Be Mathe-magicians
People generally associate accountancy with complex calculations, digits and formulae-filled spreadsheets and what not! But no, accountancy needs just basic numeracy skills where even non-commerce background students can pursue this as a profession. With the use of advanced accounting software like Tally ERP.9 and Zoho, even that is becoming increasingly less important. Cool, isn’t it?
Myth #3: Accountancy Requires Relevant University Degrees
Yes, this has been the norm traditionally – hence this myth has come into being. If this was the norm why did we call it a “myth”? News flash – this is no longer the case in the 21st Century. These days most forward-thinking organizations require the right skills and not big fat degrees. As I’ve already said, anyone from any academic background can make it big as an Accountant.
Myth #4: Only Men Make it Big in Accountancy
Is that even a thing? While there is an apparent gender gap prevalent in the professional world, it is highly inappropriate to state that Accountancy is a man’s job. Accountancy certainly does not need “masculine” traits to succeed. History is replete with examples of famous female accountants such as Isobel Guthrie, Sasha Romanovitch and Sarah Churchman as your instances – and we are just scratching the surface here.
Myth #5: Accountants have ONLY Taxation Expertise
While taxation remains a considerable area of expertise among many accountants, this is certainly not the case among ALL the accountants. Tax is just one of many key avenues of expertise among accountants. If you want to take up accounts training but not a fan of GST (for example) – you can always work in auditing, financial accounting, cost accounting, forensic accounting or budgeting and when you start practicing your profession.
Myth #6: Accounting Contributes Little to Society Outside of the Organization
This is as untrue as it gets. Yes, the majority of accountants work in a firm for the firm. But there are emerging accounting careers like forensic accounting, which, especially in the Government sector help to prevent and mitigate or at the very least investigate organized financial crimes in the country. For example, in recent days a lot of NPA (Non-Performing Asset) cases have come up where financial fugitives avail illegitimate loans and then refuse to repay them, in some cases even flee the country. Such cases need accountants with proper forensic accounts training to thoroughly investigate when recovery measures are taken by the Regulatory bodies like RBI to recover the lost money.
Myth #7: Many Accountants might Lose Their Jobs due to the Emergence of AI
With the advent of modern technology like AI and Deep Learning, some job roles are going to gradually get automated and this includes some aspects of accounting as well. But in all honesty, it is highly improbable that all accountants are going to lose their jobs. Technology does not really “replace” humans, it “complements” them. What it implies is technology will let accountancy thrive and not force it into extinction. As a matter of fact, the hiring of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Generally speaking, the employment growth of accountants and auditors is expected to be closely tied to the health of the overall economy.
Myth #8: Accountants ONLY crunch numbers, have little say in strategic decisions
Accountancy is a lot about numeracy but numbers are not everything in accounting. Fact check – Accounting careers are far from only financial guardians. They are becoming increasingly effective resources for making strategic decisions in their organizations. This is because while being on the wheels of the financials of a company, accountants contribute a lot towards taking holistic steps for the overall growth and profitability.
Generalizing a profession for fun is almost always unwise. All accountants don’t do boring maths – many are engaged in multi-faceted activities within their organizations riding the wave of innovation that is unfolding within the profession. So if you WANT to be an Accountant, by all means, work hard for it. It’ll pay you off handsomely in the long run.