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BelladonnaLily
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:08 AM
I've been in the accounting profession for about 12 years. I began taking classes this fall to get my degree. The plan is to eventually sit for my CPA. I have a LONG way to go.

My true love is history, but at this place in my life, I need to be practical. I already have experience in the field and with this economy, an accounting degree, even without the CPA, is going to be much more marketable than a history degree, especially given my work experience. I am nearing 40 so making a complete career change at this point, when I have children nearing college age themselves, just isn't probably a smart move.

Anyone here have any advice? Anyone majored in accounting but minored in something totally unrelated as history? Or double-majored (can't see that really happening...)?

Daydream Believer
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:21 AM
Well, after a 9 year stint in the Army, I did major in Accounting, graduated in 1995, sat for and passed the CPA exam. I worked in corporate accounting for some time as well as one publicly held Pharaceutical company until I hit major burn out a few years ago. I got sick of the constant push for more more more hours and less pay, stress like you would not believe, etc...

After a lucky break in 2007, I'm now running my farm as a business, training horses (my dream job) and working as a trimmer and while it has it's ups and downs, I far prefer it to being a CPA! Funny how life happens isn't it? I busted my ass to get that certification and then I walked away in order to have a life. I don't have much of a retirement fund right now but my education and skills in cost accounting are paying off now in running my own business!

My best advice is to do something you love whether it makes sense or not. If history is your first love, than go for it. Don't push yourself into a career that you don't really want. If you can use the accounting to pay your bills, pursue what you love to do when you can.

Interesting too that Women in their 40's are more likely to start a business than any other age/gender group in the US. Maybe it's our mid life crisis?

Jolie_
Nov. 26, 2009, 11:16 AM
I have a CA designation (similar Canadian equivalent to CPA). I graduated with a major in accounting minor in political science and went straight into the program to get my designation. It was hard for a few years as made minimal (as the big firms here have a monopoly they give great training but little pay as you needed to be with them in order to get your hours in).

But have to say I don't regret it, left and went to a pharmaceutical company (one which was publicly traded in the US) and worked like a made women, was really hard as month-ends were due within a week so if a show fell on the first week of any month it was pretty impossible to do. However I did get paid well and the second halves of months were pretty good with having time off.

Now I am back in public practise as we have moved and i got this job right away in a small town making okay $$. So that is another advantage, there seems to be always jobs available and given that me and my husband will be moving around for his job, having the flexibility in my career and not stressing about getting work is great.

So has it's positives and negatives, it definitly isn't exciting, even when I was really enjoying my job in the pharmaceutical company you can't compare it to doing something you love (i.e. working in the horse industry). Good luck!

pony4me
Nov. 26, 2009, 05:36 PM
It's steady work, and there seems to still be a demand for accountants. I've been one for over 30 years, and am thinking of retiring next year so I can enjoy life more. Expect demand to remain steady, or even increase as baby boomers retire. In addition to the CPA certificate, I'd recommend the CMA (Certified Managerial Accountant) as well. The two tests cover enough of the same material, so you may as well study, sweat, work like hell and get both. With the CMA you have more private industry job options. Ideally, you work long enough at a CPA firm to get your license, then move to private industry where you don't have tax season stress. If you like travel, you may want to work for the Internal Audit department of a large company. Lots of travel, but you get to go to lots of interesting places. With a history background, you may enjoy learning about our country's financial history, and what events caused our good times, and bad times. A historical perspective is always valuable. Good luck!

Gayla
Nov. 26, 2009, 06:45 PM
I will be 40 next month and I am doing a total career change. It has not been easy but I really really hate management in a corporate environment. I sort of got swept up in my current vocation and then, like you, decided to stay with it and try to move up so...maybe...I would like it more. Nope. I make good money and could make great money if I would play the game and move up but I just can't do it. I feel like I might die of boredom or worst get fired for speaking my mind if I stay. My life is about people. Period. I like talking to people. I like knowing everything about them. But I can't chase money. In corporate jobs that is the name of the game and you have to be a person motivated by money. If you love history, you probably like people too. Accounting can be a very personal business where you really counsel people out of bad situations. But you are not going to make a fat paycheck like you would at a pharmaceutical company. I say follow what you love...you only get a few years on the planet. :)

BelladonnaLily
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:02 PM
Thanks all. Lots of food for thought. I'd originally planned on the history degree because I wasn't thinking in terms of having to make the career switch, or having to make a meaningful contribution to our family income. I don't make much money where I'm at, but I have tons of flexibility (which has been huge with raising children) and major stability, which many don't have right now. So, I thought I'd follow what I love and then maybe once the kids are grown and gone, I could do something "fun". But, with recent news of my husband's job being in limbo, it really started me thinking that maybe it's time for me to have a real career and be able to support myself fully. Right now, living on just my salary would mean a major change in lifestyle and I'll admit, I've gotten used to being a little more comfortable than we were early in our marriage. The focus for so many years has been raising my children, I'm just now starting to think about what I'll do after they're gone.

So, I'm being torn between doing what I love, and being able to long-term support a lifestyle that I love.

Gayla
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:26 PM
Thanks all. Lots of food for thought. I'd originally planned on the history degree because I wasn't thinking in terms of having to make the career switch, or having to make a meaningful contribution to our family income. I don't make much money where I'm at, but I have tons of flexibility (which has been huge with raising children) and major stability, which many don't have right now. So, I thought I'd follow what I love and then maybe once the kids are grown and gone, I could do something "fun". But, with recent news of my husband's job being in limbo, it really started me thinking that maybe it's time for me to have a real career and be able to support myself fully. Right now, living on just my salary would mean a major change in lifestyle and I'll admit, I've gotten used to being a little more comfortable than we were early in our marriage. The focus for so many years has been raising my children, I'm just now starting to think about what I'll do after they're gone.

So, I'm being torn between doing what I love, and being able to long-term support a lifestyle that I love.

If you don't hate your job and like the money I think there are many things you can do outside of work to get a good dose of what you love. You could volunteer at a museum or whatever! But if you really hate hate hate hate it like I do then you would know the choice to make. I could stay with a job that didn't turn me on for a good paycheck if I wasn't miserable.