Accounting Myths vs. Reality

Accounting Myths vs. Reality

Accounting is really, really old. The title of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) may have “just” been created in 1896, but records of accounting have been found that date back thousands of years. How would taxes have been determined anyway, without a bit of math? Over time, people have created many stereotypes about the people behind the calculators. While some accounting stereotypes were based on real experiences in the past, there have been exciting changes in the field in recent years. Today, we’re debunking accounting myths and sharing what our work and team are actually like.

Accounting myth #1: we wear suits and work in a stuffy office

Accountants often get lumped into the same category as lawyers. People think we all sit in a stuffy office wearing expensive suits. In the past, there could certainly be a case made for this one. 

The reality now is the field has become more versatile and many firms have adopted a casual dress code. With the help of computers, cloud-based accounting programs and other technology, our work can be done entirely remotely. We are no longer slaves to a large, static location. This is very convenient as the workforce trend is working from home now more than ever before.

Accounting myth #2: we are all math nerds

Listen, I have been to the conventions. I have seen all types of accountants. But one thing you may be surprised to learn is that math is not the only important part of accounting. We now have an array of software to assist in the actual math part of our jobs. When software levels the playing field, communication becomes more important than ever. We must be able to talk to our clients in a real way. Translating numbers into understandable advice is what distinguishes a good accountant from a great one.

Accounting myth #3: accounting isn’t necessary for my business

Unfortunately, a lot of small business owners do not view accounting as a necessary part of their business plan. They believe when their company becomes profitable, only then can they afford to hire accounting help. However, building your business on a strong financial foundation is crucial for success. Solid accounting advice early on will save you headaches (and money) in the long run. Check out the article from Numberwise one why bookkeeping is important year-round – and not just when you’re filing taxes.

Accounting myth #4: all accountants are tax professionals

Obviously, there are accountants who focus entirely on taxes. However, various niches exist within our profession, and many accountants are not solely focused on taxes. Other services accountants offer and specialize in can include (but aren’t limited to):

  • managerial accounting
  • cost accounting
  • forensic accounting 
  • external or internal auditing
  • accounting information systems (AIS)
  • fiduciary accounting
  • personal finance planning

Bottom Line

Accounting is not what it used to be, nor what most imagine. I bet you’d be pleasantly surprised to see how down-to-earth most accountants are in reality. It’s not the most glamorous work (especially without that gold-plated calculator on my wish list) but it is becoming more and more exciting with technological advancements. My job as an accountant is less about numbers than it is about providing clear insights and advice to help clients improve their businesses.

Are there any accounting stereotypes or myths you’ve heard that didn’t make our list? Leave us a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.

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