Be more than an accountant

Blogger: Tripp Smitham

Accounting is a very challenging and rewarding profession but to really be the best accountant you have to be more than an accountant.  I know that sounds strange and I know I used accountant a lot in that sentence, but I really am trying to make a point.  Many accounting students only want to study accounting and anything that does not relate to accounting they consider a waste of time.  We all have met people who never seem to turn off the accounting talk. Yes, it’s great they are dedicated to their studies, but to be a professional a person needs to be more than just a one-trick pony.

Now I am not recommending that accounting students need to take more courses in social sciences and arts, but they should definitely pay attention in the ones they do take.  Too many students act like they don’t care about courses that are not in their major beyond getting the grade.  Honestly there were several non-accounting classes that I would rank among the most interesting classes I have taken.  Not to sound like I am just taking the side of school administration, but these core classes that every student has to take really are there to make you a better-rounded individual. 

No matter what you think, there will be a point in your life where you have to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation about something other than accounting.  Yes, it’s impressive that you know all the proper jargon and can keep up with anyone on business-related conversations.  Though what happens one day when your coworker or perhaps a client wants to talk about something other than accounting?   Maybe you will find yourself working on a not-for-profit client like an art museum.  Wouldn’t it be nice to at least of heard the names Rembrandt and Monet?  Will knowing about them make you a better accountant?  No.  Will knowing about them make you look better to your client?  Yes.  Let’s not forget after all that accountants are business people and people like doing business with people who share their interests.

My advice would be to spend at least a little time each week learning about something other than accounting.  Maybe this will be the time you spend finishing up that last history credit you have to have for graduation.  I would even recommend using at least one of your free electives to take a class that has nothing to do with accounting just because it sounds interesting to you.  For instance, I took criminology one semester to have enough hours to qualify for my scholarship.  Sure I could have taken another accounting course but I was already taking four of those and it was nice to learn about something new.  Even if you are not taking a class, spend a little time reading about something new and different.  At the very least don’t feel bad about taking a break from studying to watch that history channel special.  All of these things can teach you useful information and provide a much needed change of pace from your normal studies.  Give it a try.  It sure isn’t going to hurt you.

About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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