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Accounting is one of many industries that’s seen a decline in recent years. The Wall Street Journal reported last September, for example, that accounting firms are facing a shortage of talent as people opt out of getting an accounting degree in favor of other professions.

Why, you might ask, are people leaving accounting roles or considering an alternative career at the entry level? Among other reasons, opportunities in tech are becoming more appealing for workers. 

Below, we explain how to know if a career change from accounting is the right move for you, and if so, how to pinpoint relevant transferable skills for other lucrative jobs.

How to determine if a career change as an accountant is for you

Making the change from accounting might be right if you’re tired or bored of the work you’re doing day to day.

A 2022 study from accounting software provider FloQast, in partnership with the University of Georgia, found that 99% of participating accountant respondents reported feeling some level of burnout.

This is to be expected if your responsibilities haven’t changed much since you started, your workload has increased significantly in a short amount of time, or there’s little room to move up or around in your organization.

It’s also possible that the accounting field, or the company you work for, doesn’t provide the kind of work-life balance you need at this very moment. Maybe your family is growing or you’re looking to move to another city, and an alternative career path will better accommodate those shifting priorities.

Why are so many accountants quitting?

There are several explanations as to why accountants are quitting to explore other career paths:

  • They’re unhappy with their salary or benefits: Maybe their income potential has reached its peak, or they believe other industries provide better perks.
  • They’re burned out or work long hours: Accountants just starting out might be OK with a heavy workload or longer workdays, but as accounting professionals progress in their careers, this kind of lifestyle can become exhausting or unsustainable. As the industry struggles to hire new talent, current staff might also find themselves taking on more and more responsibility without proper compensation.
  • There’s a lack of career advancement: Some traditional accounting roles leave little room to advance, or if they do, there’s only so high you can go in terms of responsibilities, leadership, and salary. When you reach the top of your career, especially sooner than you expected, it can be hard to not crave something new and different, or just more challenging.
  • Automation is threatening their jobs: AI and other emerging tech is already making its way through the sector. While it may never fully replace human accountants and auditors, new tech is building efficiencies that require fewer workers to manage — leading to layoffs and hiring freezes. Accountants out of a job might see a career change as preferable to competing with the masses (or robots) for their next accounting role. (It worked for TripleTen graduate AntonioFrom the Big Four to Bigger Ambitions: Antonio’s TripleTen Story, who landed a job as a production manager after leaving major accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.)

How to evaluate your transferable skills as you change careers from accounting

The best part about making a career change from accounting to a field such as tech is that you don’t have to start from scratch: You just have to identify your transferable skills. Even if you’ve formally trained in the field for years, or attended undergraduate or graduate school, there are plenty of other career paths you can use your accounting degree for besides accounting.

Soft skills in particular, such as critical thinking and strong communication and collaboration, go a long way when applying to and interviewing for other jobs outside accounting.

Some examples of crucial transferable skills cultivated in the accounting profession include:

  • Expertise in data collecting and analytics: Maybe you’re a wiz with Excel or love to sift through hundreds of financial data points to spot trends. Tech is an especially data-driven field, so comfort with large amounts of information can put you ahead of the pack.
  • Technical skills or programming languages: You might have done some basic coding to create a pivot table or automate a task you do frequently. Having that base knowledge will set you up well should you decide to deepen your training in say, software development or data science.
  • Problem solving: Accounting and tech jobs alike require an affinity for solving problems because ultimately, your job in both is to fit a customer need, spot and correct mistakes, and build efficiencies for frequently-used products and services.
  • Attention to detail: Every little thing you do in tech has to be done with care, or else software or hardware breaks. Accountants, similarly, need to pay close attention to the work they’re doing to ensure the numbers add up and financial statements are accurate.
  • A hard work ethic: This is relevant to just about every job, of course, but if you want to succeed in a new field, you have to have the grit and determination to get stuff done, and on time.

Jobs to consider if you want to make a career change from accounting

No career path is truly off limits for accountants if they have the right mindset and get the proper training. That said, based on the transferable skills and type of work of an accountant, these may be some good options to consider:

  • Financial analyst
    Financial analysts partner closely with accountants (and thus have similar skills), but their job involves helping clients, be it banks, insurance companies, or other entities, make smart money decisions based on budgets and financial statements laid out by accountants.
  • Financial advisor
    Financial advisors help people manage their money, set budgets, and set goals that fit their needs and lifestyles. You might find this position appealing if going off on your own as a business owner or entrepreneur excites you, or you prefer working with individuals rather than large corporations.
  • Business analyst
    Business analysts are more broad than financial analysts in that they advise on all aspects of a company, be it information technology (IT), marketing, operations, or hiring. If you love using financial data to inform bigger picture decision-making, you might thrive in this role.
  • Project manager
    Project managers ensure projects have clear schedules, deliverables, and stakeholders, and monitor progress for inefficiencies or changing priorities. Oftentimes, project managers have to take accounting information into consideration when making decisions and setting plans.
  • Technical writer
    With expertise in analyzing financial data — and communicating information to outside parties — you can become a technical writer. Their job is to document internal and external processes in a way that anyone, even the least informed user, understands them.
  • Chief financial officer
    The title of CFO may seem unattainable, but if you join a burgeoning company or small business, you can expand your accounting position into something more of a managing and advising role. As CFO at a startup, you can also be involved in strategic business decisions and oversee all the financial aspects of a company as it grows.
  • Accounting teacher
    If you love mentoring more junior accountants or teaching family members how to audit their finances, teaching undergrad or higher education might be the perfect fit for you. With a shortage of accounting majors nowadays, the field could use someone who’s passionate about keeping the practice alive and well respected.
  • Financial services engineer or developer
    Software engineering requires a passion for problem solving above all else, and accountants don’t lack in this area. Of course, there is some formal training you’ll need in coding and debugging, however, online resources have made it incredibly easy to pick these topics up in no time. Plus, many banks and financial institutions are expanding hiring and resources in their engineering departments as demand for tech support increases.

Change your career from accounting to tech today

There’s an abundance of alternative careers for accountants, and it’s never too late to pivot your accounting career to something perhaps more rewarding for you.

The best place to start is how you position your resume. Focus on those transferable skills listed above, as well as any skills or experience that directly relates to the jobs you’re applying to. Consider whether you need more training through a certification, bootcamp, or even going back to school, and be picky with the role you choose. After all, a career change is only worthwhile if it leads to a job you’re happy with in the long term..

If the tech world has caught your eye, try TripleTen’s tech career quizQuiz: Which Tech Career Fits You Best?. It only takes two minutes to complete, and will present you with several job titles that fit your strengths and interests — not to mention, helpful information such as average salaries and potential career paths to guide you as you make your decision.

IT career tips

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Career Quiz

The prime tech career catered just to you is out there — learn what it is by taking our quiz.

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