Considering the amount of PR the sciences get, one might think science is where all the good jobs are at. And everyone wants the job that’s the best. Are you wondering if other paths offer great satisfaction? Perhaps you’re wondering, is accounting harder than science? For as long as people have engaged and will continue to engage in all forms of trade and business, there will be the need for accountants. From individuals to families to corporations, everybody needs an accountant, even governments. With the world’s finances becoming more and more complex every day, the demand for professionals in the field is ever high.
Accounting involves the valuation and management of investors, managers, business owners, individuals, etc to help them make sound financial decisions. Accounting has a job for whichever level you want to work at. Being a scientist offers a different kind of excitement. Scientists have contributed greatly to the advancement of the world and they continue to do so. The possibilities that exist within the field, even the work that is done in the field itself can be exhilarating. A scientist conducts scientific research to improve upon the existing knowledge in a field of interest.
As a scientist, you get to contribute to the advancement of our understanding of the world we live in. You can work with anything; it could be numbers, the tiniest organisms, or even pure speculations. It’s all science. Accounting and science both have particular requirements and offer different kinds of satisfaction, so choosing which is the harder option is dependent on your interests, abilities, expectations, etc. Here are some things to consider before deciding on which is the harder choice.
Is Accounting Harder Than Science?
Educational Requirements of Accounting and Science
In choosing which is the harder option for you, you must consider the requirements for becoming a professional in either field as they each have different educational requirements. To become an accountant, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field is usually required. If you’re looking to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement.
CPAs are also required to have completed some advanced coursework like auditing, financial reporting, and taxes in some states. Having a master’s degree is an added advantage if looking to become a CPA. CPAs also have to take and pass the CPA exam. To become a scientist, you need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field. For many science positions, this is enough. To be a research scientist, a master’s degree and a doctorate may be needed.
What You Can Do In Accounting or Science?
There are different kinds of jobs available in both accounting and science.
In accounting you could choose to be;
- A CPA who oversees all parts of the finances for an organization. They often perform duties like auditing, financial reviews, taxes, etc.
- A forensic accountant who makes sure financial records are correct. They are usually consulted when trying to check against discrepancies in finances or fraud. They are also conducted for financial investigations.
- A government accountant working at any level, determining the best use of taxpayers’ dollars. They may also work with the IRS.
- An auditor who performs audits of financial records and financial reviews for businesses and organizations.
- A staff accountant is a member of staff in a company or organization. These are very common and their duties usually include maintaining the accounts, preparing financial statements, the payroll, and all the other nitty-gritty of keeping books in a business.
- A management accountant is consulted by business owners mostly for financial advice. They may prepare budgets, do profitability analysis, financial reports, and conduct risk assessments.
- A cost accountant who is tasked with helping businesses become more profitable. They do this by analyzing all the costs included in all operations like production, shipping, labor, and advice on how best to save cost.
There are other various jobs in accounting that you can go for.
A person in science can choose to either study life science or physical science. Life science is about studying living organisms while physical science is about non-living matter. Life science includes biology, microbiology, zoology, botany et cetera. Physical sciences include studies like chemistry, physics, mathematics, geology. Many of these fields have subdivisions that continue up to the level of singular interests. The options are limitless. You can choose to study;
- Botany, the study of plants.
- Microbiology, the study of microorganisms.
- Zoology, the study of animals.
- Marine Biology, which is the study of living organisms in aquatic environments.
- Ecology, which is the study of the environment.
- Physics, the study of the physical universe. Et cetera.
There are plenty of other options.
Pros and Cons of Accounting and Science
Like every other possible career path, accounting and science both have their pros and cons. These do not make them unsuitable choices in general but each person must consider them before making a choice. Much as it is for most decisions. What you will think of the pros and cons depends on your personality, your expectations, and your abilities. Based on these pros and cons, you can choose which is the harder option for you.
Pros of Accounting
- Your career path is clear. Studying accounting, you will have a clear image of where you are headed towards, the duties you will handle and the skills you will possess.
- There is a growing demand for accountants. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for accountants are expected to increase by 10 percent between 2016 and 2026. The need for accountants is not going away.
- Your options for work are diverse. You can work in any industry. There are no businesses, corporations, organizations, companies, etc. that do not need an accountant. Even individuals require the assistance of an accountant.
- This is besides the fact that you have an in-depth knowledge of how finances work.
Cons of Accounting
- You may have to work a lot. While the typical hours for an accountant is 40 hours, sometimes employers can demand more. If you’re overseeing a company’s finances, there will be a lot more work to do than the average 40 hours.
- Accountants do not get a lot of public recognition. In the field of accounting, the likelihood of being famous is low. This is because accountants work in the background and the field does not include much of the glamour that follows scientists around.
- The work seems boring. Accounting involves a lot of number crunching, repetitive figures, and generally a lot of math. Though the math is usually basic. However, to some people, this can turn out to be boring to do daily.
- Their work can sometimes get hectic. During busy seasons like April 15, the work for tax accountants gets hectic as there is a deadline coming up. This usually begins right after New Year’s until the tax season ends. After the rush to get client finances for tax season, the workload usually lightens.
- There can be pressure. Handling finances is not a light thing especially when it’s for a large business or organization. As a matter of fact, the larger the responsibility, the more the pressure is likely to be on you.
Pros of Being a Scientist
- There is pride in getting your work published. In the world of science, your published works are your laurels and there is great pride in being publicly recognized for solid work which usually comes on the heels of satisfying research.
- Scientists get to travel a lot. Scientists attend a great many conferences, lectures, symposiums et cetera and this takes them around the world. Sometimes in the course of the research, a scientist might need to get samples or data that is only peculiar to a particular place and just need to go there.
- There are no strict hours. Results are all that matter in science and experiments do not adhere to a strict 9-5 and as such, neither do the scientists.
- You can create your interest. There is the chance to create a niche for yourself in science. You can design your experiments, direct your research based on what you are interested in.
- It provides a lot of satisfaction. Whether you are developing a new drug, working on a new observation, developing new techniques, in the end, there is usually pride and satisfaction in it. Success in the field also comes with recognition.
Cons of Being a Scientist
- There is a lot of competition in the fields. The desire to be recognized by the world as the best in the field or the first to make a discovery sometimes leads to unhealthy competition amongst peers. And this can be a negative influence on the workspace.
- The work hours are unpredictable. As a research scientist, it will not be unusual to spend nights and weekends in your laboratory. This is usually because experiments require observations and sometimes those observations can be ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ and can go on for hours. And these extra hours are often not paid because they are part of the job.
- Research requires funding and this can sometimes be hard to come by. Scientists have to seek funding for their research and projects and this can sometimes prove to be hard.
- Frustration can set in when experiments do not yield desired results and one has to return to the hypothesis. Many times, a successful result comes on the heels of many previous failed attempts. You’ve heard of how many tries it took to make the light bulb? Yeah.
- Sometimes, in your field of study, in particular, you may have a hard time getting people around you to understand what you do. This usually leads some scientists to not talk about their work.
Both accounting and science have good earning potentials. How much you can earn is typically dependent on the level at which you are, and sometimes the particular niche you choose. According to the BLS, the top 10 percent in the field of accounting make upwards of $120,000. Full-time accountants also receive health benefits, vacation time, retirement plans et cetera. In the sciences, the average salary is typically around $70,000. Salary ranges between $40,000 and $120000. Scientists also get money from grants, fellowships et cetera. Sometimes these can be to be dispensed with as they choose.
Both accounting and science are fields with a lot of potential and neither can be said to be harder than the other. However, while there are no fields that can be categorically stated to be harder than the other, for individuals there will always be fields that are the harder choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to be very good at math to be an accountant?
Accounting usually involves basic mathematics and some algebra which is high school math. Accountants usually do not need to do complex calculations.
- Do I need an advanced degree to be a scientist?
Statistically, only about 13 percent of scientists go on to get a doctorate. A doctorate is not needed for one to be a scientist. Usually, scientists get higher degrees as they advance in their careers.