Accountant Dopers, lend me your ears (Don't worry, you'll get them back!)

How good are accounting certification courses as opposed to an actual degree in business/accounting.

As I’ve indicated in this thread , I’ve gotten fed up with my circulation/customer service job in the library. I’ve already taken a basic accounting course, and I’m thinking about taking up accounting until we can relocate to where I can find a good job in a library. We’re currently unable to relocate, because my in-laws are up in years and not well. Also, I think accounting skills might prove to be a very useful counterpart to the liberal arts and computer skills so often found within today’s libraries.

So, to the point. I might have an opportunity to take something along the lines of BHCC’s Accounting Information Certificate track. My question to the accountants here would be whether this sort of thing would be worthwhile or a waste of time (Too many W’s in that sentence).

Please feel free to be as straightforward and blunt as you want to. Any insights or criticism would be welcome. Thank you all in advance.

Speaking as someone who does not have an accounting degree or certificate, but does quasiaccounting stuff for work, I would say that if you are trying for jobs that have an accounting/bookkeeping component, but aren’t accounting jobs per se, an introductory course would be helpful for the concepts behind any system you would be taught on the job. This is in reference (heh) to the library jobs you mention.

As far as purely accounting jobs in the meantime, what level are you talking? How far into this do you want to get, or do you just want an alternative as a temporary choice? With good organizational skills and the introductory course, you could work as an accounting clerk/bookkeeper level and perhaps work your way up to a certain level beyond which you would need an MBA/CPA/accounting or business degree.

Well, I wouldn’t mind getting further into it. Heaven help me, but I actually enjoyed my accounting course, and showed a definite aptitude for it. It actually worries me how much I liked it. I’m planning on taking another course or two this semester at the college I’m working for now (assuming I don’t lose my temper and tell my boss to cram this fucking job. I’ve lost my taste for customer service fairly quickly over the past few months, which is why I’m looking at this BHCC certificate program as a Plan B).

As far as a CPA and grey suits, well, I haven’t made up my mind about that yet. I’ve just kind of faced up to the fact that I don’t want to be working these kinds of jobs when I’m fifty, and thus I need skills to back up my masters degree, and accounting would definitely count as one of those skills, and I like accounting a lot, enough to switch out of libraries, at least for the time being (Again, I wish I still believed in God so I had something to pray to for a beloved hobby less geeky, but there you go.).

If you intend on pursuing a CPA, you want a four year degree. There are LOTS of working accountants without any degree at all - or so much as a community college bookkeeping class (I go to school with one woman working on her accounting degree that is a controller for a multimillion dollar business - she started as the bookkeeper when the company was much smaller). You might as well take the courses that would get you a B.A. in Accounting - if you are enjoying them - you won’t need to backtrack later if that turns out to be your path.

Wait until you discover the wonders of Tax - all that geeky library research work, arcane governmental laws, AND Accounting. And it changes every year!

OK . . . so if I had my bachelors and masters in an unrelated field, I still might be able to find accounting work? That would work out pretty well. By what you’ve posted, it sounds like my best bet would be to keep what I’m doing now: Keep taking accounting courses at my college and hope for the best.

By the way, I read what I posted above, and I think I might have gone a little too far. I don’t really think that accounting is totally geeky, at least not to that extent. I was just in a weird mood and felt like joking around, so if I ticked off any real accountants, I’m honestly sorry.

Don’t worry. Contrary to popular opinion, we actually have senses of humor.


Probably not hard-core accounting work, but work as a bookkeeper or clerk.

Sense of humor, eh?
An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. “Doctor, I just can’t get to sleep at night.”

“Have you tried counting sheep?”

“That’s the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it.”

A young accountant spends a week at his new office with the retiring accountant he is replacing. Each and every morning as the more experienced accountant begins the day, he opens his desk drawer, takes out a worn envelope, removes a yellowing sheet of paper, reads it, nods his head, looks around the room with renewed vigor, returns the envelope to the drawer, and then begins his day’s work.

After he retires, the new accountant can hardly wait to read for himself the message contained in the envelope in the drawer, particularly since he feels so inadequate in replacing the far wiser and more highly esteemed accountant. Surely, he thinks to himself, it must contain the great secret to his success, a wondrous treasure of inspiration and motivation. His fingers tremble anxiously as he removes the mysterious envelope from the drawer and reads the following message:

“Debits in the column toward the file cabinet.
Credits in the column toward the window.”

Great jokes, gigi. As a bonus, I believe this is the first time I’ve heard “accounting work” and “hard-core” mentioned in the same sentence. Thanks a bunch for turning me off porn for the rest of my life, Miss Kinky MacBigdeve! :frowning:

Once again, thank you all for your input.

Hey now! Think of it like librarian porn. What’s hotter than getting someone totally straight-laced to get wild and kinky?


From the same joke site, my favorite accounting pick-up line:

“Hey, baby, you make my pants file for an extension.”