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Old 10-03-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
Luv2Scrap
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Tell me about your degree/career in Accounting…?

A little backstory – A year and a half ago I received a BA in Organizational Behavior through a local private college (night school/online type of thing, while working full-time) with a good reputation. But since then I’ve come to realize just how much of a “fluff” degree OB is. It’s not going to get me anywhere. If anything were ever to open up in HR, maybe I would have a shot at it, but I’ve also learned that HR isn’t the place to be – at least not with my employer! And leaving my employer for a HR job would mean starting out at entry level and I can’t afford to take that kind of pay cut.

I work for the county Accounting department – most of us here are clerical staff except for a few accountants that aren't retiring anytime soon. With this degree I’m never going to get higher than clerical - even if it is high-level clerical, that’s not good enough for me. I want more than that. I want a career.

The reason I initially chose OB instead of something like Accounting was because I am not super strong in math and I didn’t think I had a chance of doing well in a field like Accounting. Now that I’ve worked in the Accounting department for a year and a half, I actually feel like I haven’t been giving myself enough credit. I do just fine at my job – excellent, in fact. Nearly 100% accuracy. And it’s allllll math.

I realize I know very little about the field right now, but I do feel like even though it will be hard, I will do just fine. And from what research I’ve done, it seems it’s still a pretty strong field. Even entry level seems like it should be at least $10k/year more than what I make now, if I can believe my research. I have zero chance of getting to that point with what I have now.

The other thing is we do not want to live here forever. We have “plans” to move out of the area in 3-5 years, and I really want to make myself more marketable when it’s time to find a new job wherever we end up.

So….. long story short (ok that really wasn’t short, was it? )…. If anyone is still reading, I’m seriously thinking about going back to school for Accounting and would like to hear from some people that have an Accounting degree.

Is your current job in the Accounting field / does it pay well / do you love or hate it?

How is the job market in this field in your area?

Those kind of things… oh, and is it really necessary to get the CPA certification to be marketable and make a decent living?


I already have most of the credits I need for the degree; would only have to do the accounting specific classes and it’s at the same school I received my first degree from (I should also mention I get a 60% discount because my husband is employed there part-time). I would also still work my full-time day job.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2Scrap View Post
A little backstory – A year and a half ago I received a BA in Organizational Behavior through a local private college (night school/online type of thing, while working full-time) with a good reputation. But since then I’ve come to realize just how much of a “fluff” degree OB is. It’s not going to get me anywhere. If anything were ever to open up in HR, maybe I would have a shot at it, but I’ve also learned that HR isn’t the place to be – at least not with my employer! And leaving my employer for a HR job would mean starting out at entry level and I can’t afford to take that kind of pay cut.

I work for the county Accounting department – most of us here are clerical staff except for a few accountants that aren't retiring anytime soon. With this degree I’m never going to get higher than clerical - even if it is high-level clerical, that’s not good enough for me. I want more than that. I want a career.

The reason I initially chose OB instead of something like Accounting was because I am not super strong in math and I didn’t think I had a chance of doing well in a field like Accounting. Now that I’ve worked in the Accounting department for a year and a half, I actually feel like I haven’t been giving myself enough credit. I do just fine at my job – excellent, in fact. Nearly 100% accuracy. And it’s allllll math.

I realize I know very little about the field right now, but I do feel like even though it will be hard, I will do just fine. And from what research I’ve done, it seems it’s still a pretty strong field. Even entry level seems like it should be at least $10k/year more than what I make now, if I can believe my research. I have zero chance of getting to that point with what I have now.

The other thing is we do not want to live here forever. We have “plans” to move out of the area in 3-5 years, and I really want to make myself more marketable when it’s time to find a new job wherever we end up.

So….. long story short (ok that really wasn’t short, was it? )…. If anyone is still reading, I’m seriously thinking about going back to school for Accounting and would like to hear from some people that have an Accounting degree.

Is your current job in the Accounting field / does it pay well / do you love or hate it?

How is the job market in this field in your area?

Those kind of things… oh, and is it really necessary to get the CPA certification to be marketable and make a decent living?


I already have most of the credits I need for the degree; would only have to do the accounting specific classes and it’s at the same school I received my first degree from (I should also mention I get a 60% discount because my husband is employed there part-time). I would also still work my full-time day job.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
My daughter is in school right now for accounting. It is a 5 year BS/MS degree and she will get her Masters and will be able to sit for her CPA after a certain amount of on the job training.

Her classes are very math intense but she is a numbers person. She just started year 3 and is able to take classes. She has narrowed down her degree to Auditing. She also will have two minors before she is finished.

My BIL was the head auditor of a large bank in our area. He said they hired only the graduates in this program. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
Luv2Scrap
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Originally Posted by Tinker'n'Fun View Post
My daughter is in school right now for accounting. It is a 5 year BS/MS degree and she will get her Masters and will be able to sit for her CPA after a certain amount of on the job training.

Her classes are very math intense but she is a numbers person. She just started year 3 and is able to take classes. She has narrowed down her degree to Auditing. She also will have two minors before she is finished.

My BIL was the head auditor of a large bank in our area. He said they hired only the graduates in this program. Hope this helps a little.
Thanks for your input! I do have the option to take more classes and qualify to sit for the CPA. I'm trying to decide if it's going to be necessary or if I could do alright without the extra.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2Scrap View Post
Thanks for your input! I do have the option to take more classes and qualify to sit for the CPA. I'm trying to decide if it's going to be necessary or if I could do alright without the extra.
You don't have to make that decision right now. It is better to start now and then figure it out. Good luck on your new life adventure.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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My husband is an accountant.

He does not have his CPA, and doesn't need it for the accounting he does. I think if he had to do it all over again, he'd get it, just to have it, but no job he's ever wanted required it.

For many years he was a commercial real estate accountant-he worked for a few companies-basically did the accounting of the tenants in the buildings. He started at a small family owned company and then worked for a couple big commercial real estate firms inc. the company that owns Rockefeller Center among others.
He didn't like commuting into the city, so he got a job in NJ, totally not what he had been doing for years-switched from real estate accounting to mutual fund accounting.
He was fine moving from one to the other-he told me numbers are numbers. LOL
He gets calls often from headhunters, and I do feel like there is a better chance of getting an accounting job than some others. Companies always need someone to do their books.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JVL1018
My husband is an accountant.

He does not have his CPA, and doesn't need it for the accounting he does. I think if he had to do it all over again, he'd get it, just to have it, but no job he's ever wanted required it.

For many years he was a commercial real estate accountant-he worked for a few companies-basically did the accounting of the tenants in the buildings. He started at a small family owned company and then worked for a couple big commercial real estate firms inc. the company that owns Rockefeller Center among others.
He didn't like commuting into the city, so he got a job in NJ, totally not what he had been doing for years-switched from real estate accounting to mutual fund accounting.
He was fine moving from one to the other-he told me numbers are numbers. LOL
He gets calls often from headhunters, and I do feel like there is a better chance of getting an accounting job than some others. Companies always need someone to do their books.
ETA He has a BS in Accounting, no masters..and he makes a good living.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv2Scrap View Post
A little backstory – A year and a half ago I received a BA in Organizational Behavior through a local private college (night school/online type of thing, while working full-time) with a good reputation. But since then I’ve come to realize just how much of a “fluff” degree OB is. It’s not going to get me anywhere. If anything were ever to open up in HR, maybe I would have a shot at it, but I’ve also learned that HR isn’t the place to be – at least not with my employer! And leaving my employer for a HR job would mean starting out at entry level and I can’t afford to take that kind of pay cut.

I work for the county Accounting department – most of us here are clerical staff except for a few accountants that aren't retiring anytime soon. With this degree I’m never going to get higher than clerical - even if it is high-level clerical, that’s not good enough for me. I want more than that. I want a career.

The reason I initially chose OB instead of something like Accounting was because I am not super strong in math and I didn’t think I had a chance of doing well in a field like Accounting. Now that I’ve worked in the Accounting department for a year and a half, I actually feel like I haven’t been giving myself enough credit. I do just fine at my job – excellent, in fact. Nearly 100% accuracy. And it’s allllll math.

I realize I know very little about the field right now, but I do feel like even though it will be hard, I will do just fine. And from what research I’ve done, it seems it’s still a pretty strong field. Even entry level seems like it should be at least $10k/year more than what I make now, if I can believe my research. I have zero chance of getting to that point with what I have now.

The other thing is we do not want to live here forever. We have “plans” to move out of the area in 3-5 years, and I really want to make myself more marketable when it’s time to find a new job wherever we end up.

So….. long story short (ok that really wasn’t short, was it? )…. If anyone is still reading, I’m seriously thinking about going back to school for Accounting and would like to hear from some people that have an Accounting degree.

Is your current job in the Accounting field / does it pay well / do you love or hate itHow is the job market in this field in your area?

Those kind of things… oh, and is it really necessary to get the CPA certification to be marketable and make a decent living?


I already have most of the credits I need for the degree; would only have to do the accounting specific classes and it’s at the same school I received my first degree from (I should also mention I get a 60% discount because my husband is employed there part-time). I would also still work my full-time day job.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
DH has a Masters of Business Admin and his degree is in accounting. He has worked for our state for 22 years. His salary is ok, but he works for the state-so we don't expect a big salary. He's holding out for a decent retirement and then starting his second career in a couple of years-he'll still be "young". And hoping to retire again when he's official retirement age.

New hires make about $40,000 with the requirement of the 4 year degree. Bumps and raises are given for Masters and CPA. DH has considered going back for his CPA, but it's not required to do what he does because of his years of experience.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Southernmiss View Post
DH has a Masters of Business Admin and his degree is in accounting. He has worked for our state for 22 years. His salary is ok, but he works for the state-so we don't expect a big salary. He's holding out for a decent retirement and then starting his second career in a couple of years-he'll still be "young". And hoping to retire again when he's official retirement age.

New hires make about $40,000 with the requirement of the 4 year degree. Bumps and raises are given for Masters and CPA. DH has considered going back for his CPA, but it's not required to do what he does because of his years of experience.

$40k for new hires is what I was finding too. Even with my seven years experience and promotions, I'm still $10k less than that... and only one promo to go before opportunities pretty much run dry for me here.

Thanks for the input everyone! I'm feeling hopeful!!!
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:22 PM   #9
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I don't know what new hires get. DH has been an Tax Accountant for about 15 years now.

He had to have an MA in order to get his job. He is now a Tax Manager for one of the Big 4 Accounting firms. His salary is decent and if you would like to know what it is you can PM me, I won't post it publicly. However, just know that it is about 50% less than he would be making if we still lived in Los Angeles.

He has the equivalent of a CPA but it is the test for the line of work he does. It is called the EA.

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Old 10-03-2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DawnM View Post
I don't know what new hires get. DH has been an Tax Accountant for about 15 years now.

He had to have an MA in order to get his job. He is now a Tax Manager for one of the Big 4 Accounting firms. His salary is decent and if you would like to know what it is you can PM me, I won't post it publicly. However, just know that it is about 50% less than he would be making if we still lived in Los Angeles.

He has the equivalent of a CPA but it is the test for the line of work he does. It is called the EA.

Dawn
Ok I am going to PM you because I see you live in NC and that (or SC) is where we "plan"/want to move! Thanks!!
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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I have a BS in Accounting and an MBA. I finished school 30 years ago. I'm currently employed as a CFO in a decent sized manufacturing company (1000+ employees). I am paid very well; I make 3 times what my husband makes.

I've never thought of accounting as a math skilled profession. If you don't understand the theory, the math skills won't make any difference. Honestly, computers do most of the math work these days (I eliminated 5 accountants from staff just by getting some custom software written for us)--I rarely even hear 10keys running in the building. I have specialized in the cost accounting field for my entire career. If you go to school, you will probably know whether or not its a good fit once you take the two intermediate accounting courses.

I'm female and chose cost accounting long enough ago that there were no women in the field. I still have a passion for it and have never regretted the choice. I don't do much accounting anymore but I miss it.

Depending on your career choice after graduation, most entry level accountants work horrendous hours. Actually, I still work pretty long hours but nothing like the hours I put in the first 10 years.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:13 PM   #12
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I am a CPA with a BS in accounting - I got my CPA before the 150 rule went into effect. A CPA is not required for my job but it does bring respect from my "clients". I work for the federal government so the pay is limited. I don't make near what I would make in public accounting. I am also not expected to put in the hours that public accountants do. For example, DH had emergency surgery on Monday. If I worked in public accounting, I would be expected to work long hours to meet the upcoming October 15th federal income tax filing extension deadline. I was able to take unscheduled leave Monday & Tuesday. I will work from home the rest of the week. I opted to take a couple of hours leave each of those days because realistically, DH needs me for 5-10 minutes every hour or so. I don't want to abuse the privledge of working from home. (OK it's a "right" for my position but still...)
My government accounting job is not 40 hours per week - although we are not permitted to discuss that at work - it's "illegal" for us to work more than 40 horus but the work has to get done and can't be done in 40 hours.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:58 PM   #13
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My major was accounting - I have a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. I graduated 29 years ago and worked for about 6 years in the field before deciding to stay home to raise my children. I worked in internal audit and commercial real estate accounting.

I took a job (offered to me from some volunteer work I was doing - I was not looking for a job) in July after a very long absence from the job market (except for occasionally helping my husband in his business). My new job is not strictly an accounting position but I do a lot of financial analysis and am involved with managing projects and securing loans. I definitely am using my past education and work experience, but not in a traditional accounting role. So far, I am loving it.

My starting salary for this position was above what is mentioned by the pp by several thousand dollars even though I have been out of the field for a long time. I never got my CPA; after a short stent in a CPA firm in my first job out of college, I knew that type of accounting work was not for me. I will say that having a CPA will usually bump you up on the pay scale a bit even if the job does not specifically require it. That test is a bear though - I said I don't have mine, I didn't say I didn't attempt.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:03 AM   #14
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DH is an Accountant. He graduated 25 years ago with the 5yr BS/MS Accounting Degree. He is a CPA. He has worked for the same Oil Company for 25 years, so never needed the CPA, but feels it, and the Masters have put him a step ahead of others. He makes a very good salary and does very little Accounting now, he's over a group and they do the Accounting. He has 4 supervisors under him, the group is about 55 people. I think the company employs about 1,000 Accountants just at this location.

We have moved 6 times with the company, even lived overseas for 5 1/2 years. DH has always worked a lot of overtime, without extra pay. He makes more $ than friends who were unwilling or unable to do those things. He currently works very little overtime, probably about 6 hours a week.

I know that when he looks at resumes of new graduates, he looks at their "Accounting GPA", seperately from their total GPA. It is important to him that the Accounting is strong. When he wakes up, I will ask what starting salaries are now. When he started working, in 1988, he made $25,800.

It has been a great field for him and the company he works for has been great. No regrets. Good luck to you.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:49 AM   #15
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I am carefully reading each and every one of your posts; I really appreciate everyone taking the time to respond!

The talk of long hours does have me concerned. I'm 40 years old... long hours does not really appeal to me! What are the chances I would be able to find a job that does NOT have long hours in this field??? (And exactly how long are we talking?) Certain parts of the year, I can understand that and that would be no problem. But long hours all the time?

Oh God, I just said I'm 40. I am NOT 40 yet!!! ONE MORE MONTH!!! LOL
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