Accounting is a profession where there is no one personality type, although 42 percent of accounting students tend to fall into the ESTJ personality type. ESTJ stands for Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. Perhaps most surprising is that accountants tend to be extroverts rather than introverts.
Accounting personalities tend to have an extroverted nature. The difference between extroverted and introverted personalities among accounting students is small enough that it is not alarming (25 percent compared to 17 percent). However, perhaps more surprising is that personalities of accounting students do not fall solidly into the introverted characteristic. But the job description of accountants may explain it. Many accountants meet with clients and work within collaborative teams and must develop communication skills as a result.
Accounting personalities also tend to have a “sensing” nature. A person with a “sensing” characteristic tends to pay attention to information collected through all five senses. The counterpart to a sensing characteristic is intuition. Someone with an intuitive personality trait pays more attention to impressions or meaning of patters rather than physical reality. Whereas a sensing person might say, “I solve problems by working through facts,” an intuitive person might say “I solve problems by considering different ideas and possibilities.” According to some, Intuitives are inventors while Sensors are implementers.
A person with a “thinking” personality characteristic makes objective decisions. The alternate trait is the “feeling” personality characteristic. A thinking person looks for logical explanations to most everything, while a feeling person cares less for solutions and explanation but rather believes harmony and compassion are important in life.
Accounting personalities tend to have a “judging” personality characteristic, meaning that they prefer a structured lifestyle. This is not to be confused with a person’s level of organization. Instead, it refers to how others see another’s lifestyle. The alternative to the judging characteristic is the “perceiving” characteristic. Others see those with a perceiving characteristic as adaptable, flexible and spontaneous. Judging personalities work before they play and they are goal-oriented. Those with perceiving characteristics mix work and play, or they approach work as play. They may procrastinate since they can be motivated by an approaching deadline.
If you do not fit into these personality characteristics , remember that only 42 percent of accountants fit this profile. The true test of whether your personality is right for the accounting profession is to determine what motivates you. Picture yourself doing the job of an accountant without considering the material rewards. Do you see yourself meeting clients, preparing tax return documents or annual financial statements? Will you enjoy closing out the books or calling customers to discuss a past-due invoice? If you can see yourself doing these things and enjoying most of them, then accounting is likely the job for you.
About Sara Huter
Sara Huter has over 15 years experience in the banking and energy industries, and over 10 years as an adjunct professor. Her work has been published for BusinessBee.com, the International Directory of Company Histories, the Encyclopedia of Business Insights: Global, EHow.com, and Examiner.com. Find out more about Sara at her Google+ Profile.