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5 Reasons To Choose A Career In Accounting

From new tech developments to opportunities for advancement, two Nanyang Business School academic professionals explain why now is an exciting time to start a career in accounting

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By  Bethany Garner

Wed Aug 11 2021

BusinessBecause

Offering strong career development opportunities across several different sectors, accounting is a popular career path for many ambitious young professionals. 

According to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), as many as 35% of business school candidates plan to pursue a career in accounting or finance when they graduate. 

To find out what makes accounting an attractive career today—and what you’ll need to succeed— BusinessBecause spoke to two academic professionals from the MSc Accountancy (MACC) program at Nanyang Business School (NBS), part of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Here are five reasons to consider a career in accounting in 2021.


1. It’s an adaptable profession

The role of accountants and auditors has changed over the years, but the core function of these professions—reporting, analyzing, and understanding the flow of money through an organization—remains as relevant as ever. 

“There have been some fears that tech would reduce our need for accountants, but despite automation we still need humans to make judgements,” explains associate professor Choo Teck Min (right), academic director of the MACC program at NBS. 

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In response, he and his team regularly reassess the MACC curriculum to ensure it provides the skills needed for grads to succeed—regularly asking for inputs from the Big 4 accounting firms — PwC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG. 

“We continuously update the curriculum and try to introduce something new every year,” says Choo.

One recent addition has been a course focusing on blockchain technology, which familiarizes students with how the tech could be leveraged in business, accounting and audit.


2. You’ll learn how businesses operate

Today’s accounting jobs offer broad insights into how businesses function overall, and many different areas of the business might come to you for guidance, giving you excellent exposure—and connections—that could serve you well in the long run.  

“In the past, auditors and accountants had a weaker understanding of the wider business system, whereas now they need to have that in-depth knowledge,” observes Goh Kia Hong, senior lecturer in accounting at NBS.

Recognizing these changing attitudes, both Goh and Choo weave the broader business context into their teaching.

“When I teach intermediate financial accounting for instance, I try to bring in finance, economics, and law,” says Choo. 


3. You’ll get to work with cutting edge tech

If you’re fascinated by how tech developments are transforming the world of business, accounting could prove a great career path.

“The accounting profession is going through tremendous change, and technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, and blockchain are key to that,” explains Goh. 

In your accountancy career, you’ll have the chance to work with these technologies, and leverage them to support your team’s goals. One of the most important skills accountants can develop is being able to work with large sets of data.

To prepare students for this landscape, tech developments and data analytics are tightly woven into the MACC curriculum. Students have the chance to learn advanced Excel skills, Python coding, and how to work with auditing and visualization software.

They can also extend their studies by a few months to complete the recently introduced data analytics track.

“Some of our students want to dive deeper into data analytics, aiming for roles in a data analytics team of a Big 4 accounting firm, or a tech consultancy outfit,” says Choo.

The track will cover topics including AI in accounting and finance, blockchain, visual and predictive techniques in data analytics, and database design and development.


4. You’ll find ample career advancement opportunities

According to Goh (right), automation is another force at play in the accounting profession that’s opening up new opportunities.  245e501e26be0173e6597297db5f8b0d58e76d6a.jpg

With software taking many repetitive and time-consuming tasks out of the equation, today’s accounting professionals can quickly advance into decision-making and higher-level strategic roles.

This advancement is what kept Goh himself hooked on the profession.

“As I climbed the ladder from audit assistant to audit partner, things got more and more interesting,” he recalls. 

“I got to interpret data, and became involved with strategic planning and decision-making.”

To thrive in this environment, your technical skills will need to be enhanced  by other strong skill sets—particularly in communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. 

“The way we do things keeps changing, which means what’s perhaps a more permanent requirement for success is developing capabilities in analysis and critical thinking,” says Goh.

For this reason, he and Choo ensure these skills are hardwired into the MACC program. 

“There’s a business communication course early on, and a lot more soft skills development happens through presentations and collaborative teamwork across subjects,” Choo comments.


5. You can work in a wide range of industries

When you graduate from a master in accounting program, you can work in practically any industry—since every organization needs to track and analyze its finances.

Grads from the MACC program at NBS typically go on to work within the Big 4 auditors, technology consultancies, financial services, and more. Their roles are also diverse, ranging from auditor to analyst to forensic accountant. 

Whichever path you choose, you can expect an accounting career to challenge you daily, as you become a point of guidance within your organization. 

“There are logical systems, but you’ll also have the chance to make subjective judgments in a lot of different contexts,” Choo concludes.

“Accounting is both a science and an art!”

Student Reviews

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Good campus life and extra-curricular activities

This is a great place to learn and interact with more like-minded people. The campus is something that stands out to me. The infrastructure is great and the university is very well-built. There is lots to do on the high campus, from a large number of eating joints to the numerous clubs and sports activities. I also quite like Singapore as a country, as there is so much to do around not very far from campus. The educational facilities are extremely good, there are lots of opportunities to take on research projects and do industrial projects, which I really enjoy. The only thing I dislike about NTU is that the number of international students is really low and I would like to see a larger international intake in the future. Definitely recommend for the amazing educational facilities and on-campus social life.

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An international campus that provided diverse choices for students

It's a beautiful campus with a high degree of internationality, providing diverse choices for students in terms of research opportunities and career consultation. Also, scholars are knowledgable and very inspiring, and are good at motivating the thinking of students.

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Great University

In overall, the university has met my expectations with its wonderful lectures and research staff. However, there are some issues with the administrative side, i.e. administration may give you different answers on the same question. Also, the university’s website often provides outdated information and it takes time to get what you need; perhaps there is not enough people for managing it.

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I would recommend. Good resources for research. Knowledgeable professors and instructors. Conducive environment for studying and doing assignments. Helpful staff and faculty. Food options are good. An overall good place to study.

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The administrative team at the university is slow to respond and is often inadequate in their responses and solutions. The uni is also unclear and resistant to explain their actions and motivations when carrying out policies or when questioned

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NTU prioritizes giving students ample time for independent research. The academic schedule consists of 6–7 weeks of study, followed by a week without classes, allowing students to catch up on any material they may have missed. This is succeeded by another 6–7 weeks of study, culminating in a week dedicated to final exam preparation and exams. The curriculum is designed to be student-friendly, minimizing burdens such as excessive assignments, projects, exams, quizzes, and attendance requirements. This approach affords students the freedom to pursue personal interests and self-development. In my experience, each of the four courses I took had a comparable workload, typically comprising 2 assignments, 3 easy labs, 2–3 quizzes (some without), and 1 final exam. In contrast, comparable courses at other universities often entail significantly heavier workloads, including 3 homework assignments, 5 projects, 5–6 pop-up quizzes, mandatory attendance, 2 midterms, and 1 final exam. Moreover, each project typically demands 3–4 days of work. It is hard work, but it pays off.

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Nanyang Technological University offers a vibrant academic atmosphere that fosters innovation and excellence. The strong emphasis on research and practical learning equips students with real-world skills. Positives include access to state-of-the-art facilities, collaborative projects, and a diverse student body. However, the competitive environment can be intense, leading to high stress levels. NTU's academic atmosphere encourages growth but requires resilience to thrive.

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As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I have been extremely impressed with the quality of education I have received. The professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and passionate about their subjects, which makes learning engaging and enjoyable. The teaching styles vary from lecture-based to interactive discussions and group projects, providing a well-rounded learning experience. The use of technology in the classrooms also enhances our understanding of the course material. One of the things I love about NTU is the diversity on campus. Not only are there students from all over the world, but the professors also come from various backgrounds, making the learning environment truly global. English is the main language spoken on campus, which makes it easy for international students to feel at home. In terms of examinations and coursework, the workload can be challenging at times, but the support from professors and classmates makes it manageable. The exams are fair and assess our understanding of the material effectively.

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11/04/2024

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As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I am extremely impressed with the transportation options available on campus. The buses and shuttles make it easy to get around the huge campus. The beautifully landscaped garden campus adds a peaceful and scenic vibe to studying. The facilities, from the state-of-the-art labs to the comfortable study spaces, are top-notch. The video lectures are a convenient and effective way to supplement classroom learning.

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Nanyang Technological University (NTU) excels in its focus on engineering and science degrees. The curriculum is robust, integrating theoretical knowledge with practical applications. Professors are industry experts, providing invaluable insights. State-of-the-art facilities enhance learning experiences. Opportunities for research and internships abound, fostering innovation and professional growth. NTU's emphasis on cutting-edge technology prepares students for real-world challenges. NTU's commitment to engineering and science education is unparalleled, shaping tomorrow's leaders in these fields.

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While at Nanyang Technological University, I can confidently say that the quality of education here is excellent. The professors are knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects, and the curriculum is challenging yet rewarding. The campus itself is green and natural, providing a peaceful and inspiring environment for learning. The canteens offer a wide variety of delicious and affordable food options, catering to different dietary preferences. From local delights to international cuisines, there is something for everyone. The student housing facilities are also well-maintained and comfortable, providing a home away from home for students. NTU's reputation as a top-ranked university is well-deserved, with cutting-edge research and a strong emphasis on innovation.

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high quality education

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a top-notch educational institution that offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for students. The campus is well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and the faculty members are highly experienced and knowledgeable in their fields. As a student at NTU, I have had a positive experience so far. The university provides a conducive learning environment and encourages students to think critically and creatively. The campus is vibrant and diverse, with a strong sense of community among students and staff. I would definitely recommend NTU to prospective students looking for a high-quality education in a supportive and stimulating environment. The opportunities for research, internships, and extracurricular activities are plentiful, and the university is committed to providing a well-rounded education that prepares students for future success.

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As a student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the experience is vibrant and enriching. Surrounded by lush greenery, the campus offers a serene environment for studying and relaxation. While parties and nightlife options are available, the focus leans more towards academic pursuits. The campus buzzes with activities, clubs, and events, catering to diverse interests. However, the tuition cost is competitive, offering value for the exceptional education and resources provided. I recommend my university

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As a student at Nanyang Technological University, I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality of education. The faculty is highly knowledgeable and supportive, fostering an engaging learning environment. Tuition fees are reasonable for the value provided. The campus food options are diverse and delicious, catering to various dietary preferences. The transport system is efficient, with easy access to public transportation. NTU offers a high quality of life, combining academic excellence with a vibrant campus culture.

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good value for money

At Nanyang Technological University, I find the tuition fees reasonable considering the quality of education and resources provided. The university offers diverse programs, experienced faculty, modern facilities, and opportunities for research and internships. While tuition costs are substantial, the value for money is evident in the comprehensive learning experience and the potential for career advancement. NTU delivers on its promise of excellence, making it a worthwhile investment in one's future.