(BPT) - Pop culture tends to portray accountants as number-obsessed managers tethered to their desks. But this picture doesn't reflect the reality of the profession today. Accounting work environments aren't limited to the desks of public accounting firms, and accounting job responsibilities are far more diverse than preparing taxes. Today's accountants have opportunities to provide financial leadership and support in almost every industry, including entertainment, sports and travel. However, a recent survey by DeVry University revealed that the incoming workforce might not be aware of the real opportunities the profession offers.
The survey sheds light on the evolving, dynamic world of accounting to attract talent to the field. It revealed that only 18 percent of respondents described accounting as 'exciting,' and half believe accountants spend all day at their desks.
On the contrary, accounting offers interesting and specialized career tracks in many industries and job settings. Whether individuals have a case of wanderlust or a desire to work in Hollywood or the competitive world of sports, they can find an accounting role that's suited to their passions and goals.
'Everyone has unique interests; however, they may not seamlessly transition into a career that provides both financial stability and gratification,' says Joyce Barden, senior professor of accounting at DeVry University. 'A degree in the growing field of accounting can facilitate opportunities to break into industries that complement an individual's passion points, providing a unique blend of purpose and self-fulfillment.'
Barden says every industry requires skilled accountants, including entertainment, professional athletics, travel and nonprofit organizations, so the possibilities to parallel your favorite pastime with career opportunities are endless.
If a behind-the-scenes look at star-studded Hollywood piques your interest, you could find your way in through an accounting career. Celebrities need accountants to help manage assets, investments and estate planning. A job working for entertainment's elite may take time to secure, however, once you do, you could make as much as 5 percent of your client's annual salary, according to the American Institute of CPAs.
Studios, production companies and record studios also provide employment opportunities for accountants, as these professionals can provide oversight on production costs, valuation of companies and budgets for concert tours.
Don't have what it takes to be a professional athlete, but have a desire to support your favorite team from the sidelines? Sports accountants determine athlete salaries, manage budgets and control payroll.
Christine Harms joined the Arizona Cardinals Football Club as senior accountant following a brief hiatus to raise her children. She says the key to landing a coveted accounting position is networking and knowing your strengths.
'In my first interview, I was asked where I wanted to be in five years,' Harms says. 'I said I wanted to be controller. Within five years, I was. I enjoy overseeing operational efficiencies and working with a dynamic team. Meeting NFL players doesn't hurt, either.'
In addition to team organizations, broadcasting companies, recreational sports centers and apparel manufacturers are just a few of the sports-oriented organizations that need accountants to manage budgets and balance sheets.
The increasingly global economy has opened up a world of opportunity for international accountants. The rising number of global companies, removal of barriers to international trade and rapid growth of hotel chains, tourism boards and travel companies, are creating many new jobs. International accountants keep tabs on local tax laws to ensure a company's growth abroad aligns with international rules and regulations and furthers their bottom line.
Accounting managers and tax accountants in this sector of the industry work overseas with contractors, coordinate audits and prepare tax returns. If you consider yourself a globetrotter, a career in accounting can be the catalyst for seeing the world and working alongside colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures.
More than 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United States need accountants to develop financial policies and ensure their donations are being used efficiently. Professionals who are committed to a specific cause may find fulfillment certifying that its dollars go far. Non-profit accounting provides this ideal combination of personal and professional satisfaction.
You'll need a bachelor's degree in accounting to launch a career in the field, and most employers require a CPA designation. You can improve your marketability by honing your skills in an internship, which can be a stepping stone to a full-time position.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting openings are expected to grow 13 percent by 2022. The possibilities for employment in a hybrid career path that fuses education and personal passions in a dynamic industry make the old adage 'if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life' a reality for many job seekers.