BusinessPeople In BusinessOh, if only I weren’t an accountant

Oh, if only I weren't an accountant

Just like the advert, a career in accountancy was always thought of as being for life, not just for Christmas. But it's another stereotype that has been shattered by this year's Accountancy Age/Robert Half Finance and Accounting salary survey.

Over 50% of accountants would choose a different job given the opportunity, according to our poll. It’s a dramatic increase on last year’s results, which found 37% of accountants would take another job, if possible. It suggests that the after-effects of various corporate scandals may be taking their toll on the financial community, but the reality may be more frivolous than that.

One in five accountants would work in a sport-related role given the opportunity – the respondents’ most popular alternative. We hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s a career change that seems unlikely.

But if you still hanker after dreams of becoming a professional footballer despite being long in years and somewhat wider in girth than you would like, you could do worse than turn to PwC’s business recovery partner Mark Palios for advice. Palios, a former Tranmere Rovers footballer, made the career switch in reverse.

Roles in entertainment, marketing/ PR and teaching were also popular, each polling over 5%. If last year’s results are anything to go by, a fair number would fancy themselves as racing drivers, scientists or forest rangers.

Showing a greater degree of realism, 9% of respondents favour a move into consultancy. Over 60% of London-based accountants are prepared to put down their calculators for another job – the highest rate in the country – while only 44% of Southampton accountants would take on another role.

Perhaps the coastal city’s sea-breeze and gentler pace of life makes for happier professionals.

The ‘low-paid’ accountants row that has raged on our letters pages in recent weeks revealed many respondents value a work/life balance as the most important aspect of their current role.

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