What interests would one have who chooses to go to school for accounting?

Accountants are often depicted in popular culture (somewhat jokingly, of course) as dull, antisocial individuals who wear drab clothing and have few—if any—non-accounting interests. As in any profession, there are a few accountants who appear to be real-life embodiments of this negative stereotype. By and large, though, such is not the case. Here are a few of the interests that accounting professionals commonly possess:

Problem Solving

Much of accounting—especially tax accounting and management consulting—requires the ability to solve your clients’ complex problems. For example, creating a multi-year tax plan is akin to solving a puzzle. With tax planning, though, the “puzzle” does not have a definite solution. Even after you find one solution, a better one could reveal itself after you take a look at all the variables you must consider. This is especially the case for businesses with numerous subsidiaries, ownership interests in other businesses, shareholders, a complicated capital structure and many other factors to consider.

Organizing, Categorizing and Collecting

Accountants must be organized. This is a non-negotiable requirement for success in the financial and professional services industry. If you are not organized, you will eventually make a mistake that costs a client some amount of money. You certainly do not need to be told that clients do not like to spend more money on accountants than they have to, so being in the habit of doing everything you can to avoid such mistakes is extremely helpful. Thus, if you are the kind of person who enjoys organizing, categorizing, collecting or any combination thereof, you could achieve success in the accounting world.

Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is particularly important for tax accountants and those who serve in a consulting or advisory capacity. To perform these jobs proficiently, you must be able to approach a task or problem from a number of different perspectives. Opening yourself up to unconventional approaches may allow you to find hidden value in a place where no one else would have thought to look for it. A good non-accounting example of this is professional baseball’s sabermetrics movement. Using advanced statistics, sabermetricians have formulated methods for assigning value to parts of the game (fielding and baserunning, for example) that have traditionally been ignored in favor of more conventional metrics (home runs, runs batted in and stolen bases, to name a few). Teams have been—and, frankly, still are—more willing to pay a premium for the latter, though the gap is closing and more people are beginning to realize that players who excel in the former are undervalued. This principle applies in accounting, too.


Do not let the media’s depiction of and misconceptions about accountants fool you. If you are the type of person who enjoys analytical thinking, solving complex problems and maintaining order, accounting is a great career choice for you.