Military veterans tend to explore a business or finance degree first when they are transitioning to civilian life. But did you know that an accounting degree may offer more opportunities? The variety of career opportunities, coupled with a structured environment with a clear path for advancement may be appealing to many veterans.
How does military service translate to the accounting industry?
First, you are part of a well-organized team. In this setting, you are dependent on extensively and part of a structured system where your work matters to the success of the whole. Accounting is an avenue that is concrete — where technical, hard skills are valued. It’s an industry that is always growing. Lastly, it takes strong analytical skills—like those trained in any military position, to get the job done.
How can your military experience prepare you?
Becoming a CPA is not an easy feat. One hundred fifty credits, which usually mean a double bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, are usually required. Today, that is easier for a veteran thanks in part to the post-9/11 GI Bill, which makes it easier to go to college and obtain four years of education. Many service members are also typically encouraged to take college courses while still serving. Veterans have the experience of going after higher positions, rank, or stripes. Veterans have prepared their entire lives for extra responsibility. Being a CPA is no different. The same public that expects the best from its uniformed service men and women also expects the best from its Certified Public Accountants. Think of the CPA profession as another form of public service.
Your skill sets are highly valued:
You may be wondering, what skills ets you bring to the table? Veterans take a view of hard work as nothing new and part of the “job.” In accounting, 50–60-hour work weeks are often required, and for veterans, it is “not a big deal” to put in a 50-hour week. Long shifts, overnight hours, and relentless schedules are sometimes required of military service members. In accounting, tax season only lasts four to six months. While there may be late nights or long hours during that time, you get to go home every day. You’ve basically trained your whole military career to step into an accounting role. Your military background also gives you global experience. Whether you were on the front lines or served in supportive roles, most service members have had opportunities to relocate and serve in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. Think of the opportunity you would bring to a small accounting firm that doesn’t have an international reach. Global experience allows for greater diversification of ideas and thought processes, which allows accountants to see things from different perspectives. Some of your clients might be from countries in which you served. There are a wide range of possibilities for veterans in the accounting industry.