How to find work/life balance in an accounting career?
August 12, 2012 5:43 PM Subscribe
Just how bad is the work/life balance in accounting and related finance careers?
posted by Ryogen to Work & Money (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
After having just finished my associate's degree in general studies, I'm leaning heavily toward going for my bachelor's degree in accounting. I wouldn't exactly consider it my calling, but I've done well in the introductory accounting course I've taken, and I like accounting because of how versatile I've heard it is, it being a specific and in-demand vocation make job prospects good, and it seems to offer a decent $40-50k entry-level income with just an undergrad degree. I'm a little concerned about what I've read about the work/life balance, though. I know you can't have it all, that every job has its ups and downs.
But I would not look forward at all to 80 hour workweeks for months at a time, as seems to be the norm in the accounting busy seasons. I'd honestly be willing to forgo promotions or take pay cuts if that's what it takes to have the free time to raise a family or to pursue other things in life. The AARP article about people on their death beds wishing they had spent less time working and more time with their families is hard for me to ignore. So here's what I'm wondering:
1. Just how bad and widespread is the busy season across accounting jobs? How many months does busy season typically last, and how many hours per week are realistic to expect? Do the Big4 have it markedly worse, or is busy season uniformly demanding across industries?
2. If the work/life balance of accounting is about equally bad no matter who you work for, does it get any better after a few years? How many years would someone have to, say, be a slave to the Big4 before they could expect to have a good chance of moving on to a higher position or related career offering greater flexibility?
3. Considering the versatility of an accounting degree, which specific branches of accounting or related finance careers would allow the most freedom and flexibility in work/life balance?
Any advice appreciated!