Is accounting hard?

A man sat at a desk making a point


Many people think that accounting is ‘hard’. They think it’s difficult to study, difficult to become an expert in and difficult as a career – but none of these ideas are necessarily true.

Accounting does require a particular set of skills and abilities, as well as attention to detail and accuracy, but it doesn’t have to be any harder than any other career opportunity.

Is it all about maths?

No – it’s really not. But if you have a real hatred of numbers, then accounting isn’t for you! Modern day accountants use a lot of clever software to do calculations and analysis – you don’t need to be good at maths to be an accountant. That’s a bit easier, isn’t it?

Are the exams really hard?

The exams you need to take to become an accountant are thorough and vigorous, but if you’ve taken the right course, and studied properly, they should be pretty easy for you.

There are many different accounting qualifications, from the beginner level AAT Foundation, all the way to the more advanced ACCA Strategic Professional or CIMA Professional Strategic. The difficulty of the exam depends on the level, but again, with the right amount of study, they shouldn’t be too hard.

Is accounting boring?

Not at all! Accountants are needed in every business, everywhere in the world. So whether you want to work in fashion or football, your accounting skills are needed. And many of the accounting qualifications, such as CIMA and ACCA, are globally recognised, so you could be checking the books one moment, and strolling through downtown Dubai, or Sydney – wherever your heart desires.

Accounting is so diverse that you can concentrate on an area that really interests you, such as forensic accounting, or investment banking. You don’t have to just choose one specialism – you can get a few under your belt, and really experience the varied career options accounting opens up for you.

Is accounting stressful?

Research by AAT found that 90% of people who work in accountancy have been stressed out by work. And ICAEW found that 32% of accountants feel stressed in their day-to-day life. So it can have its moments, like any other job.

There will be times where you’re under a bit more pressure to deliver reports or analysis, but then there will be less stressful times when you’re just doing business as usual. If you balance your workload, prioritise carefully, and meet deadlines ahead of time, then it doesn’t need to be stressful 100% of the time.

Convinced that it’s not as hard as you thought?

If you think that accounting might work for you, have a look at our AAT pages if you’re just starting out, or if you’re already on your way and need more qualifications, our ACCA and CIMA pages.