Accountancy is a profession that has historically been open to diverse gender demographics. In fact, 45.47% of qualified accountants are female. This is nearly half of the accounting population in most offices. Accounting is said to be an industry where women can thrive and enrich their lives. It’s not surprising that a lot of women are earning accounting degrees to follow a direct career path in finance.
An accounting education for a woman doesn’t just lead to a stable job – it also presents wonderful career opportunities and learning. Although I’m now a blogger and a freelance writer, the accounting courses I took ages ago helped prepare me to offer my services as a business. And dare I say, I think accounting is a fulfilling career that can align with a woman’s values of autonomy and innovation.
As previously shared in a Pledgettes discussion on self-made people, it is an amazing achievement to be a community-made woman who is encouraged and supported by other people. With an accounting degree, you will meet great people along the way and learn valuable life lessons that will help you grow in your career.
From my experience, I put together life lessons I believe women can learn from earning an accounting degree.
Organization always matters — not just in financial situations
Organization is the root of a stable financial system. By earning an accounting degree, you will learn how important it is for you to be organized. This will help you manage your finances, be good at your job, and live a fulfilling life outside of your career. Being organized also helps you manage your time and give you a good work-life balance.
We often need to juggle a lot of responsibilities at the same time. If you are running a household, you need to have time for your kids and to maintain your home. And, you need to have time to rest and enjoy life for yourself.
Organizational skills are also important for serving the community like fundraising projects and charity events. Your time, collaborative skills, and organizational talents can also keep things running smoothly. An accounting degree will help you structure your day and create detailed schedules that will streamline your workflow.
Take CVS Health President and CEO, accounting degree holder Karen S. Lynch. She started her career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and held executive positions in various companies before joining CVS. Even with her numerous responsibilities as a CEO, she also made time to be a trustee at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center and a member of the Global 50 and the Boston College Women’s Council.
Your degree does not define you
If you look at a degree that is created for a specific profession, you might feel as if there is only one path you could take. But as much as you are encouraged to pursue a career within the industry adjacent to your degree, you are not obligated to do so.
An accounting degree will not only give you the necessary skills to succeed in the accounting industry, it will also allow you to pursue other roles. It can be your stepping stone to more certifications, taking on roles such as a certified public bookkeeper, certified management accountant, and certified internal auditor. Moreover, the skills you get from an accounting degree can prepare you for other fields, such as business and entrepreneurship. For example, knowing how to audit, which you learn in accounting, can be a handy transferable skill if you’re a manager assessing your organization’s plans and capabilities.
This is especially true because there may be times when you want a change of career path. For example, Mia’s story as an accounting degree holder led her to pursue creative arts after her graduation. Mia found that the career change was necessary because — along with balance and financial sheets — musical notations would always be in her head. Even in a seemingly unrelated field, an accounting degree can help you make sense of details. In Mia’s case, her degree helps her manage her finances as a budding musician and artist. She’s able to combine accounting experience with her perspective as an artist to approach problems and tasks with out-of-the-box thinking.
Never stop learning
We know consistently learning is instrumental to our careers. Continuing to learn new practices and skills makes us invaluable to our companies and keeps us on a continued path of growth.
Through studying Accounting, we learn that practices are always changing and updating as technology advances. What you learned a year ago might have new practices in the field. Having proficiency in Accounting provides you with a skill set that will always allow you to stay on top of your work and be more knowledgeable on newer applications.
This is helpful in a field where women are accepted but not as rewarded as men, as evidenced by the gender pay gap among math professionals, an industry related to accounting. Female mathematical scientists earn $70,000 on average, while men in this discipline with comparable experience earn $81,000. Moreover, only 31% of math positions in higher education were filled by women, with a measly 9% of editorial board positions in academic journals held by female experts. Consistently learning and growing in your field is essential to mitigate existing disadvantages.
In continuing your education, you could also gain certifications to show your expertise. Being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is usually what most people have but you could also consider being a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or an Enrolled Agent (EA).
Acquiring an accounting degree is much more than being good with numbers. It can set you up for the rest of your life with important lessons.
I successfully got a degree in accounting, and now I’m a freelancer. Even if I’m pursuing a career as a writer, I still get to utilize my knowledge from my degree in accounting. The practice of thinking outside the box and continuously learning allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and become a better version of myself. So, whether you already have an accounting degree, wondering what to do next, or thinking of embarking on a journey to get one, don’t hesitate to step into the world of accounting. The possibilities are endless and countless doors are open to you.
Written exclusively for thepledgettes.com by J Simmons