This week’s Wisdom Wednesday session takes us down the finance route, more specifically into the world of accounting. At first glance, many of us, myself included, are under the impression that a day in the life of an accountant doesn’t entail much more than the ability to have exceptional math skills, an interest in numbers, and a heavy amount of paper work without much day to day interaction with the “outside world”. After my interview with montreal based private accountant Jeffrey Katz, I confess my negligence about what this job actually entails, and that a day in life of an accountant has more to offer than meets the eye. With over 30 years experience in the industry, Jeffrey Katz has treated us to a glimpse inside the life of an accountant, and kindly shared some great advice for those interested in getting started. Here are this week’s Q&A’s:
1. How did you get into this job?
One of the main reasons I got into this job is because at the time, there was a great need for accountants and so I took advantage of the opportunity. At the same time, starting a career in the accounting profession was appealing because I liked knowing there was a certain freedom involved, and could choose from several options as to where and what I could with the profession. There’s actually a lot of flexibility in being an accountant.
2. What’s a typical day like in this job?
Off the top of my mind….hectic, crazy. Don’t let the misconceptions about how accountants are “boring” fool you. It’s a very dynamic career, you have to deal with people on a daily basis, manage different personalities, and cater to each client differently as they all have a varying level of sophistication . Your clients really depend on you and seek your guidance, there’s nothing dull about that.
3. What’s the one thing you now know about being an accountant, that you wish you knew when you first started?
More than anything, probably that it’s pretty much a 24/7 career. Being in private practice, on your own, although very rewarding, is also very time consuming. My fault as well, I’m not strict with client.
4. What advice would you give someone considering this job?
They have to realize theres a lot of sacrifice involved, with everything. It’s not simply enough to be properly educated, it’s equally important to have a good set of people skills as well as sales skills. You can’t be an isolated, introverted person, you have to be out there meeting people and volunteering your expertise. In that way you expand your circle and can so get clients, because ultimately, you’re not much without a clientele.
5. What does it take to be successful in this job?
Well, sales skills like I previously mentioned, but also dedication. It takes being a professional, putting away with any sense of entitlement, and putting your clients first. You have a clients, it’s important you do the the job on time, and meet your deadlines. You’re not entitled to anything, your client however, is entitled to service, and you have to service the client. If you do those two things well, you will be handsomely rewarded. It’s not a 9 to 5 career, clients will always be calling asking questions and you have to be there, ready to answer and help them. When you’re there, be there 100%.
And there you have it, a glimpse into what it’s like to be a private accountant, and what you need to know and prepare for if you’re considering a career in the field. For those who love their visuals, I’ve added some informative infographs on the finance and accounting sector in Jobbook’s Pinterest. Stay tuned for next week’s Wisdom Wednesday’s session when we explore a day in the life of….time will tell!