The Footnotes

ACCOUNTING, BANKING & FINANCE

Creative? This is the career you’re not considering

(and should be).

Sponsored by Chartered Accountants ANZ

What career suits you?

Do you:

  1. Have a new idea a day and have an ability to ‘get the job done’?
  2.  Like working on creative projects with a team?
  3. Aspire to work in a company that will make the world a better place?
  4. Are you meticulously detailed and analytical?

You may be all, some or none of the above but what if I told you that each answer makes you suited to study the exact. same. thing?! Accountancy.

If you’re thinking about making a name for yourself in the fashion industry, as an entrepreneur or even making a difference working for a not-for-profit, then maybe it’s time that you considered an accounting degree too.

An accounting career in reality is far from the perception of calculators and number crunching. The truth is that every exceptional accountant is both an excellent communicator and problem solver. Accountants will understand their clients, talk to them, and understand what the ins and outs of their businesses.

Accountants are trained to remain objective, to analyse the business functions and to drive the bottom line of a company; and these skills are mighty attractive in just about every single industry you can imagine.

Wondering where accounting can take you?

Entrepreneur: The Mover-Shaker.

Any successful entrepreneur boasts far more than just an “anyone can do it” attitude. Innovative entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have set the bar pretty high, and to keep up, new-age entrepreneurs need to have the knack of identifying the gaps in the market, recognising a specific need and building upon it.

While entrepreneurs can find new solutions to make life easy for society, often they won’t be inventing something ‘brand new’, rather innovating the existing. A new-age entrepreneur will introduce disruptive technology into the market that brings value to society, and returns a large paycheck to the inventor.

But what is the magic formula? Well, it turns out that there is something unique about an individual who feels they can make it work as an entrepreneur, and almost without exception, these characteristics are also found in successful accountants.

Entrepreneurs are in fact not ‘reckless risk takers’.

Instead it’s all about calculated risks. Successful entrepreneurs have clarity of focus and an ability to relentlessly pursue their goals. This does not mean that they are reckless risk takers, but rather weigh the pros and cons in any decision, and then systematically execute to achieve a big picture vision. As an accountant, you have been taught how to assess risk, and this very same skill will work in your favour when you apply it as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs recognise that the hard work lands on them.

People who run successful businesses, understand that at the end of the day, they are responsible for driving growth and building the bottom line. As an accountant you’ll understand numbers in a way that makes you acutely aware of which functions in a business are most likely to drive success. Both accountants and entrepreneurs have taken the time to research their market, define their differentiators and understand the company they are working for. They position themselves based on their research and planning, and they execute better on their vision than their competition. As a Chartered Accountant you’ll have an enviable planning and analysis skill set. Your training and work experience will enable you to evaluate a process or product and identify its niche.

And finally, a Chartered Accountant’s ability to remain objective, while analysing the data allows them to maintain perspective and make calculated decisions, which will be more effective in driving company success.

Fashion: The Creative.

The fast paced world of accounting demands a lot from its graduates. Can you juggle competing priorities? No problem. Can you hit deadlines while maintaining high levels of accuracy and detail? You got it! Turns out, these skills translate identically to the demands of the fashion industry.

Here’s the thing with fashion designers – they are typically ‘ideas’ people. What does this mean? Without generalising, they are not always process driven, or detail-oriented. And while their creative vision will form the foundation of a successful brand, someone needs to be able to plot a course to achieve the vision. Successful fashion brands are a combination of big picture and detail thinking, and this is where accountants will excel in the industry. The best designers, or design teams, are strategists who can see the details within the big picture.

The figures (the numerical kind) are a huge part of a fashion label. Brands need to be accurate when forecasting sales; they need to understand the cycles, the particular seasons and how different events will impact on their product sales. As an accountant you’ll be working with the creative minds of the team to ensure that they are making calculated decisions, listening to what the customer is saying, through sales data and executing a better version than their competitors. You’ll be hands on, working directly with big distributing clients, designers, the marketing team; showing how to drive bigger revenues for the company.

Not-for-profit organisations: The Helper.

For so many graduates, it is no longer enough to just be successful; you may also want to make a difference in the world. Our generation right now are in a unique position where they no longer have to choose between “doing well financially” or “doing well socially”- they can do both. It is important to realise that working in a not-for-profit doesn’t mean that you’ll be working for free, nor does it mean that money is not the cornerstone of the business. So with this, it is no surprise that the core accounting skills you’ll learn through the Chartered Accountants Program will make you a natural fit for the industry.

Working in a not-for-profit can be like a riding a roller coaster; there are moments of exhilaration coupled with moments of terror. You’ll typically be working with demanding deadlines, often unforeseen events, and sometimes – mass chaos. Chartered Accountants, especially those who have worked for small businesses or cross-functionally, have the skills necessary to be extremely valuable in the non-for-profit industry. Your degree will give you the ability to set goals, stay focused and meet demanding, client-centred deadlines, which is exactly what is required in these companies.

Don’t be tricked by the guy in the brown pinstriped suit in a corner cubical. Myths surround every profession, so don’t close the door on an accounting degree; rather choose accounting and open one to a world of industries.

Creative? This is the career you’re not considering
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