Accountant Job Satisfaction

While accounting may appear to be a career that lacks in overall employment satisfaction due to a perceived tediousness, there are studies and surveys that suggest that crunching numbers may be more fulfilling than individuals may speculate.

According to a U.S. News and World Report annual 100 Best Business Jobs of 2013 survey the top five jobs based on data provided by the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) are:

1.  Market Research Analyst
2.  Financial Adviser
3.  Accountant
4.  Compliance Officer
5.  Bookkeeping, Accounting, & Audit Clerk

BLS data further shows that the median pay for accountants is around $61,690 (2010) or $29.66 per hour and that the number of accountant jobs in 2010 was 1,216,900. An employment change for 2010-2020 shows that an additional 190,700 are expected to be added for a total growth rate of 15.7 percent.

Are Accountants Relatively Satisfied with their Career?

Based on the BLS and US News information, one would believe that being an accountant is a very good career choice that pays well and offers stability and opportunities for growth. The role of the

accountant is important one, particularly after this country’s recent flirtation with economic disaster and the need for the books and records of corporations, banks and governments to better reflect what is being done based on substantiated, not phantom, accounting methods and practices.

The existence of five big and four narrow traits determined the career satisfaction of an accountant. These traits (by “big” and “narrow”) are:

Five Big Traits of Accountants

1.  Agreeableness/Teamwork
2.  Conscientiousness
3.  Emotional Stability
4.  Extraversion, and
5.  Openness

Four Narrow Traits of Accountants

1.  Assertiveness
2.  Customer-Service Orientation
3.  Optimism, and
4.  Work Drive

This suggests that the need for new accountants in light of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projection of nearly 200,000 new accountants for the profession by 2020 requires recruiters to focus on those individuals in possession of the above traits.

Big Five Personality Traits as a Predictor of Accounting Career Satisfaction

Personality tests have been administered by human resources professional, such as the well-known Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MPTI) as a way to assess ability and determine if a candidate will fit in the work environment. The big five traits are an adaptation of standard personality tests applicable to the workplace. Of the five big traits, emotional stability, which relates to a person’s emotional state on the job and their ability to adjust to their surroundings and function, especially when faced with stress and pressure, had the highest correlation to career satisfaction for accountants.

In addition to a high pay rate, accountants are also equipped with a steady employment rate that is expected to increase in the coming years. In an economy with an uncertain outlook, accountants and other similar positions are afforded job security rather than high unemployment rates. These factors, combined with personalities that function well under the conditions required for the position, are reasons that accountants have a high career satisfaction.

Ray Pilkington is a freelance writer based in Biloxi, Mississippi who concentrates his writing career on personal finance, taxation, tax reform, savings, economic development and other related topics; to learn more about taxation view the following information on R&R Income Tax.