Career Change To Accounting At 50


Midlife Career Change Tips

Are You Too Old to Start in Accounting?
  • Be practical

    To change into a new career, you will most likely need to update your skills and knowledge. Gaining a qualification before you enter your second career will provide you with the necessary training, education and direction that is required in order to begin your new career journey.

  • Research before you begin your job search

    Scope out the job market and see which positions are available in your future industry. Look at job advertisements and notice what skills and qualifications they list. This will give you an idea of what training or qualification you will need to break into this new industry.

  • Remain flexible about salary

    When you begin in a new career field, this typically means that you will have an entry-level salary.

  • Take baby steps

    Dont expect to dive in and be an expert in your new field. If possible, find someone who is advanced in your new industry area and pick their brain this will help you. Its often a good idea to find a career coach who has knowledge in your new industry.

  • Have a financial safety net

    When changing careers, its sensible to have a financial safety net just in case anything unexpected happens in your career search or new role.

Sue Ellson

Independent LinkedIn Specialist and Career Specialist based in Melbourne

If people see you both online and in-person in the marketplace you are much more likely to be perceived as current and up to date rather that stuck in the past and collecting dust!

Bonus Tips For Writing A Career Change Cover Letter

Here are a few more tips to ensure your career change cover letter does the trick:

  • Address your cover letter to the right person or people. Do some research to try to find out the name of the hiring manager. But always avoid To Whom It May Concern.
  • Tailor your career change cover letter for each position. Dont just swap in the position title and company name from your last application. All of the content of your cover letter should show why youre qualified for this job specifically.
  • Keep it to one page or less. Dont get too caught up in explaining every detail of your choice to change careers or your past jobs until this point. Just tell the hiring manager enough to know they want to invite you for an interview and learn more.
  • Edit! Always reread your cover letter before you send it to check for any errors. If you have time, you can ask someone else to look it over with fresh eyes as well.

As you draft your cover letter, youll want to make sure that it emphasizes your unique talents, transferable skills, and passion for this new field. Spelling this out for prospective employers will help them piece together your qualificationsand up your chances of moving forward in the process.

Regina Borsellinocontributed writing, reporting, and/or advice to this article.

How To Determine If A Career Change As An Accountant Is For You

If you are considering a career change from accounting, consider following these steps to transition into a new role:

  • Determine your likes, passions and interests.

  • Research careers to see if your financial skills and talents align.

  • Review your transferable skills that can be valuable in a new line of work.

  • Go back to school if necessary for new credentials.

  • Update your resume to reflect your new career objectives.

  • Apply for jobs and interview.

  • Read more:How To Make a Career Change

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    What Are You Doing Now

    This year, I’m exploring various roles in the food industry, something that I’ve dreamed about for a long time.

    I’m currently freelancing in the food tourism industry and I’m loving it. I work for a food tour company, guiding culinary tours around my city as well as assisting the same company with the PR, social media and marketing side of things. I’m also working part time in commercial kitchens learning the trade. I started a food blog a year ago and recently had my first article published in the online food magazine, The Taste.

    Update Your Skills And Qualifications

    Should You Make a Career Change at 50?

    Take a good look at the job postings in your targeted career field and identify what it will take to enter the new role. Take up the qualifications, licenses, and certifications that are either required or would make you a more competitive job candidate. Its never too late to learn something youre genuinely passionate about. Doing so can also convey to prospective employers that you are self-driven and open to continuous learning, which can help you combat the potential age bias during interviews.

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    Bring It All Together

    Think of the final lines of your cover letter as the closing argument. Youve spent the preceding paragraphs making a case for why you deserve an interview, so use your closing sentences to tie everything together.

    And be sure to highlight what you can do for the company, not the other way around. So while you may be genuinely thrilled about the idea of learning all there is to know about digital advertising, now isnt the time to mention it. Instead, say, I look forward to discussing how my marketing and public relations expertise might benefit the digital advertising team!

    You May Need To Learn More

    Depending on the field you wish to enter and your previous qualifications, you might need to take up some additional courses and certifications to meet the job requirements. While this may not be a bad thing, it might not be ideal for your circumstances, and thus you should consider it before deciding to shift careers.

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    Practical Tips On Making A Career Change At 50+

    So youve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

    1. Deal with the Fear

    As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

    If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google Career Coach for your options.

    I also recommend using the services of a professional counsellor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

    Its always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

    2. Know Your Why

    Its important that you have a clear understanding of the why you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

    3. Be Realistic

    Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

    Should I Quit Accounting

    Career Change: The Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Now | Laura Sheehan | TEDxHanoi

    Should you quit accounting? Only you can answer that question definitively. Chances are good that youre asking this question because youve reached a point where youve had enough, but youre not sure of the short or long-term effects on your ability to work as an accountant, much less your career options. In the event that the pressures of the job have you questioning your work-life balance and your peace of mind, then yes, quitting the field of accounting is beneficial for your physical and mental health. There is nothing wrong with quitting the career field, nor is there any shame in making a decision to preserve your own well-being. However, you did put in a lot of work to earn your degree and enter into a field that offers steady employment, and thats something you need to take into consideration when considering quitting the field.


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    What Have You Learnt In The Process

    I’ve learnt to follow my own gut, and not to listen to too many other voices along the way.

    I already knew where it was I wanted to go it was more a case of having the courage to take the leap.

    I have learnt a bit about myself: that I enjoy writing blog posts, for example something I didn’t know I was able to do.

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    What You Can Expect In Compensation

    Of course one of the most enticing aspects of a career change to accounting is the promise of rewarding compensation. According to recent statistics, the mean annual salary for an auditor or accountant hovers around $75,000. However, it is important to understand what youll trade in return for such competitive pay rates. Many accounting professionals find themselves spending far more than the traditional 40 hours per week in the office. There are seasons where you may find yourself working upwards of 80 hours just to get things done, especially if you decide to work in a public accounting firm in which you work with numerous clients.

    Career Match: New Careers That Make For Easier Transitions From Traditional Careers

    Career Change At 50: Is It Too Late?

    Many skills translate from one industry go another. For instance, the ability to think clearly and convey meaning is necessary for a writer, but is also necessary for any other career that involves words. And the better at it that you are, the more successful you will be. Here are a few examples of new careers that make for easier transitions from traditional careers.

    • Traditional Career: History Teacher

    • New Career: Menu Consultant for Restaurants

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    Determine What You Want To Do

    When changing careers, its important to consider the type of lifestyle you want to live and how your job change will support that lifestyle. Many prefer a new career at or after 50 with more work-life balance or a career that will help them minimize stress and spend more time enjoying personal hobbies and interests.

    Before you decide, though, think about the lifestyle you hope to support with that career, and youll have a better sense of what youre looking for in terms of salary and flexible work options like working from home and flexible scheduling.

    Where Do I Start

    If you decide that becoming a CPA is that right path for you, check with your State Board of Accountancy. Your states Board determines the courses and hours that you need to take to be eligible for the CPA exam and the work experience required before you become a Certified Public Accountant. In most states, you can gain work experience by working in public accounting or through time spent working as an accountant in industry.

    As you make the move into the CPA field, you need to consider the company size that you prefer. Whether you go into public accounting or you work for a corporation, your work experience will differ greatly depending on the size of the business.

    As a smaller company, youll be exposed to many different areas of accounting. An accounting staff member at a small firm may post entries for cash, receivables, debt, and for the income statement. You may post adjustments to the trial balance, and work on the company tax return.

    Alternatively, CPAs at bigger firms may end up specializing in one area, such as managing cash and investments in the treasury department. Youll have less variety at a large firm, but youll develop an expertise in a specific niche.

    The same is true in public accounting. Auditors at large CPA firms may specialize in a certain industry such as financial services.

    There are benefits to both small and large firms, so ask your contacts that work in accounting which environment they prefer and why.

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    What Would You Advise Others To Do In The Same Situation

    It sounds clichéd, but life is short.

    Follow your heart. You are far more likely to excel in a career you enjoy than in one you’re just coasting along in.

    Be true to yourself. Both you and your family will benefit if you’re happier within yourself.

    If finances are holding you back, look at all your options and start saving now. Can you take a part-time job to cover a college course or get some experience as an intern?

    Start to talk to people in the industry you’re interested in. I found everyone I contacted was extremely helpful and generous with both their time and advice.

    Ask yourself, what is the worst possible outcome if you change? If it doesn’t work out at least you will have tried and tested, rather than living a lifetime of wonder.

    Visit Catherine’s food blog at

    Also, find out more about Ballymaloe Cookery School in our Retraining Directory.

    What lessons could you take from Catherine’s story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.

    Plus, if you know someone who’s made a successful shift into work they love, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at . and you could win a £25 / $35 voucher in our monthly draw.

    How Do You Know Its Time For A Career Change

    How to make a career change at 50 – You can do it!

    There can be some warning signs to look out for that may indicate that its time for a career change:

    • Youre bored at work

    • Youre unhappy with your pay and benefits

    • You are stressed all the time

    • You are mentally and physically exhausted

    • You dread going to work

    • You are dealing with burnout

    If youre experiencing one or more of these 6 warning signs, it might be time to look at changing careers.

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    Determine What Type Of Job Or Career You Want

    The first step in the process is figuring out what kind of job or career you want to pursue. Consider your lifestyle and what kind of career will support that lifestyle.

    Do you want to retire early? Are you interested in traveling more and working less? Are you at a point in your life where youre trying to raise money as fast as possible so you can be comfortable in retirement?

    These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself about your lifestyle. This will help you decide what career path to take.

    Other lifestyle considerations to think about:

    • Work-life balance

    • Salary growth

    Skills That Accountants Use Every Day

    As you weigh your options and decide if accounting as a second career is right for you, consider the unique skill set the job requires. Accountants are more than number crunchers. While a love of numbers is beneficial, it does not guarantee success.

    Keep reading to learn about the skills that employers look for in accountants.

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    What Are Your Goals For A Career Change

    As in any endeavour, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

    What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but youll often find that youre giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

    Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

    Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

    Gaining Experience Is Key To Making A Career Change At 50

    Career Change at 30, 40, 50

    The first thing to do when considering a career change is to seek out relevant experience. According to Civiletto, actually getting to work in the industry will not only reveal if you really want to make the switch or not but also give you the confidence to make the full time switch.

    Getting a behind the scenes look at day-to-day operations is key to making a switch at this point in your career. Gaining experience will help you decide if you really want to make this career change, what it will look like when you do, and give you some knowledge when youre applying to new jobs.

    In order to do this, Civiletto took an unpaid apprenticeship with a friend who owned a deli in Buffalo, New York. Civiletto wasnt bringing in any money through his work at his friends deli, but he gained a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to run a successful deli.

    You get to see behind the curtain the uglier side of it, the work side of it see if you like it, Civiletto said.

    While the experience and knowledge he gained was priceless, it was finding his passion that really made the unpaid work worthwhile.

    Once they have more knowledge about how their potential job change might work, it makes that transition so much easier because you have the confidence to do it, Civiletto said.

    Gaining relevant experience will look different for everyone. While Civiletto went with an apprenticeship, other options are taking a part-time job, freelancing, and even volunteering.

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