We’re all familiar with the stereotype that follows accountants wherever they go. Beneath the visual of a bookish individual with a reserved demeanor, there lies the implications of someone who is uptight and certainly not a lot of fun to work with.
However, those in accounting know that the stereotypes are as surface level as the persona they project. Not only that, accounting is a wolf in sheep’s clothing in the business world.
When CareerCast assessed the most underrated jobs in 2014, accounting landed in the number one spot. This is largely because, while it does depend on the specifics of the job, typically the starting salary for an accountant is significantly higher than average, and the projected job growth overall is 10 percent.
Accounting isn’t just a field with good prospects, though; accounting is a job that allows individuals to have serious impact on the well-being of the businesses they work for. Accountants can make or break a company, and that is in no way a field for the meek or mild.
Accountants Predict the Financial Future
Businesses that thrive over the long haul are those that do not allow all of their energy to be consumed with the present. No matter the industry, those who lead are always those who are one step ahead.
Accountants provide businesses the ability to predict the financial aspects of their future. For companies working towards building repute among potential investors, a crucial component is being able to validate where the business will be down the road.
According to the accounting experts at Ohio University, “Financial statement analysis requires a high level of analytical, problem solving, and technical skills. Accountants who are able to provide detailed, quality statement analysis can bring short and long term benefits to business, making them a valuable asset to an organization’s financial ventures.”
A business’s ability to verify where it will be over both the short and the long term is vital to its ability to make any educated moves. Accountants make that happen.
Accountants Decipher the Difference Between Cash Flow and Profit
A rookie mistake fledgling businesses can make is to make their decisions based around their cash flow rather than their profit. This is challenging early on not just because some organizations lack the experience needed to ensure they distinguish between the two, but also because expenses at the beginning are so high. Thus, it can be tempting to make good-intentioned, but unwise choices with what seems to be a high cash level.
That type of error is just the thing to put a business belly up before it’s ever really gotten its feet off the ground. But accountants prevent that type of misinterpretation of finances from occurring and ruining an organization’s potential.
As Allie Johnson mentions for Small Biz Ahead, hiring an accountant is one of the best ways a small business can think and operate like a big one, which, again, will enable the forward momentum that is so crucial.
Accountants Navigate the Budget
A budget, in a lot of ways, is like an accountant. It may not seem like a superstar, but a budget keeps a business grounded. A budget is the first and primary line of defense in ensuring that a business does not waste crucial funds.
Budgets allow businesses to spend money they actually have, and to create documentation on spending and saving that will provide a picture of what the past looked like so that the future is navigated wisely.
As Lisa Mcquerrey writes for the Small Business Chronicle, “A business that doesn’t know where its money is coming from or where it is going to isn’t in a position to expand, take advantage of investment opportunities or even make long-term commitments to suppliers or clients.”
Not knowing your budget means you put yourself in a vulnerable position where losing customers is probable, given the likelihood you’ll fail to be prepared for unexpected expenses, and will thus fail to deliver in one way or another.
We all know how catastrophic wasteful spending can be in any industry, but accountants make the often times confusing landscape of budgets understandable and actionable.
Accountants Give Insight That Matters
Ultimately, where accountants excel is at giving the guidance and feedback on an organization’s financial situation that allows that organization to operate as best as it possibly can.
Across the board, business experts point to the reality that accountants are an integral part of any business that achieves success. Primarily because even the most business savvy of professionals is going to need someone, at some point, who can understand the organization’s finances with expert insight that only comes via the education of an accounting professional.
As we’ve previously pointed out, “Almost every company across every industry needs an accountant (or team of accountants) to take care of essentially everything regarding their finances (or at least their books and their taxes).”
In a way, it’s the one thing that all industries have in common: the need for someone to provide clarity in relation to the complicated finances of a business.
While the product and services of a business are its bread and butter, the thing that keeps an organization afloat is the financial health of that business. If an organization’s finances aren’t in order, there is no other department that can compensate for that.
Thus, accountants are definitely the underrated superstars of business. The only business owners who don’t think they need the insight of an accountant, are those who don’t know any better yet. Accountants may have an unassuming reputation, but it’s only because they know they have nothing to prove; their work and influence speaks for itself.