Accounting a Great Prospective Major Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Accountant

Why I Chose Accounting

"I hate math." Ever since I can remember people have approached me to tell me how much they loathe math, when they hear that I love it. However, I have always been fascinated by the order mathematics can bring to a chaotic world. Sometimes when life seems hard, it is very comforting to be able to look at numbers. This is not to say, of course, that accounting is not challenging. In fact, like many prospective accounting majors, I initially struggled with the discipline in my fundamentals courses ("Top 10 Easiest and Hardest College Degree Majors of 2016"). There is a reason that introductory accounting classes are often considered weeding-out, gatekeeping classes for the profession. Many people decide they want to be accountants because they think it is a lucrative profession that does not require as much additional schooling as law or medicine but then find out that passing undergraduate classes in accounting is more difficult than they anticipated. I was fortunately able to persevere and discover that I have a love for the major and I hope a natural talent for it.

Choice of Major

When choosing my major I decided I wanted a major that was challenging that would enable me to stand out in a crowded job marketplace. I am aware of the fact that job prospects are not plentiful for new graduates (Erstad). Many of my friends wishing to make themselves marketable for new jobs chose business majors. However, although I respect the study of business, I felt that selecting a major which would give me a specific skill even as an undergraduate would be more valuable. Although I was interested in many spheres of business, I knew that human resource management and marketing were considered 'soft sciences' and I thought that having a more rare and highly prized job skill like accounting would be more practical.

Of course, as someone who loves math and science, there were other potential options for me as an undergraduate. I could have majored in math itself or physics. But while I think academia is a noble pursuit and I have friends who want to become teachers, I did not think that I wanted to spend most of my life in the classroom. I know that the job market is limited in terms of jobs for teachers at all levels and I also like practical rather than theoretical problem-solving. What I find so satisfying about math and accounting in particular is the sense of having a concrete answer to a problem at the end of the day.

After completing my major, I can pursue certification to become a CPA or certified public accountant ("How to become a CPA"). CPAs have a wide variety of options in terms of careers. Although many work in traditional accounting firms, they can also work for corporations or government agencies. I could also open up my own consulting agency. Someday, I could go into private practice for myself or I could work for a large accounting firm. I have many options for choosing different workplace situations. This is yet another attraction of entering accounting -- the profession's flexibility. Regardless of what type of life situation I find myself, in -- whether I need to balance family and work or whether I want to work long hours, whether I want to live in a city or the suburbs, whether I want to work for a small or large firm -- I know that I can always find a home for my skills.

Majoring in Accounting

There is a very big learning curve, in terms of becoming familiar with the process of accounting. The first courses I took were very humbling. Despite always being good with numbers, I found that the type of math required for the major was not necessarily intuitive. Yet once I caught on, I began to excel. The major was also very structured and time-consuming. Sometimes I was jealous of my friends who were liberal arts majors who seemed to have more free time than I did and could postpone their work until the last minute because they only had a few papers and an exam due for a class; I always had problem sets and homework on a class-by-class basis.

Also, because learning is cumulative in accounting,
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I knew I could not afford to 'slack' on an assignment (Grohol). I had to constantly apply myself since if I did not learn every crucial concept, I know I would quickly get lost. And getting lost would not simply mean not passing a class but potentially threatening my future career and my ability to succeed and continue in the major. The pressure was often intense but I thrived. I think that majoring in accounting has made me a more resilient person as well as a more analytical person. When before I would be daunted when faced with the prospect of a challenge, now I genuinely believe that nothing can stop me.

I was initially not happy with the fact that I did not have as many creative assignments as some of my friends who were marketing majors, who were able to learn business through an interactive 'case study' approach. I had little room in my schedule to take electives like music or art. Even when I did have room in my schedule, I decided to opt to take additional business classes to better my knowledge of the field in which I will work and also because if I wanted to go into business myself someday and own my own firm I would need to know how to be an entrepreneur, not just an accountant. On the other hand, I am proud that all of the classes I have taken over the course of my undergraduate career have pointed me towards a specific, chosen goal.

Much like riding a bike, once I began to understand the fundamentals I felt very proud of my learning and the new skills I had acquired in my accounting classes. I have also come to understand that accounting is so much more than simply 'doing taxes.' For example, an accountant can audit a company's records to ensure they are behaving ethically for a government agency. They can provide consulting for an organization to ensure that the company is managing its books in the most effective way possible. The potential to learn and to have flexible career options seems infinite.

Challenges

The class which challenged in me in my major the most was, ironically, the first class that I took. When I took the class I assumed it would be like a challenging math class, similar to AP Calculus or studying for my math SATs. This once again underlines the fact that accounting is not just about numbers. It is also learning rules and applying analytic reasoning to particular problems. It is very much its own worldview and perspective. People who were unwilling to take the time to shift their mindset in this fashion did not do well in the class, even people who had done extremely well at math in high school. There were also many students who simply did not wish to put in the day-to-day studying required for accounting classes. To do well in accounting, the 'feast or famine' approach to studying is simply not effective. In other words, a major cannot study hard on the weekend and expect to do well; learning must take place on a day-to-day, consistent basis.

Given that I knew that I wanted to pursue this professionally, I effectively forced myself to abandon my preconceived notions of what I was capable of and applied myself to my new endeavor. I also was willing to seek out extra help, which is something I never had to do with math in high school. Talking to other accounting majors also confirmed that things did get easier as a student became more familiar with the processes of accounting and as things got easier, a major could feel more comfortable and fluent in the subject.

Structuring my day and multitasking was also essential. I allocated specific study time every day when I was just starting out in the major to go over specific concepts. Now that I am more familiar with accounting I can be slightly less rigorous as I know the vocabulary and logic and can pick up concepts more quickly. My initial time investment paid off. But once again this underlines the extent to which accounting is not like other majors and requires a degree of discipline that some other majors might lack. Again, this is yet another example of how studying accounting has made me a better person and a more effective learner. I have often heard it said that "if you want something done, ask a busy person." I have learned that I am most effective when I am very, very busy.

Future Prospects

An accountant does not need a higher-level professional degree to enter into professional practice, which…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Erstad, Will. "Is an accounting degree worth it or worthless?" Rasmussen. 16 Nov 2015.

Web. 8 Jul 2016.

Grohol, John. "10 Highly Effective Study Habits." Psych Central. Web. 8 Jul 2016.

"How to become a CPA." CPA Review. Web. 8 Jul 2016.

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