Surprising Accounting Career Options

A female accountant stands on a grass athletic field holding a soccer ball

Like any job, an accounting career can be fun – and even humorous – at times. But some finance professionals may find themselves wanting a more exciting office atmosphere than the typical industry job provides.

While celebrities such as rock star Mick Jagger, comedian Bob Newhart, author John Grisham and singer Janet Jackson had planned on an accounting career before finding their true calling, you don't have to break into a new field altogether to try something different while still putting your finance knowledge to use. In fact, every industry requires accounting professionals, so why not seek out a position that combines your passion with your paycheck.

Here are three nontraditional paths to consider if you want to spice up your accounting career:

Sports team accountant

If you're a sports nut but unwilling to drop your spreadsheets for a shot at a championship ring, you might consider lending your accounting skills to a sports team. Sports teams need compliance and financial management help just like pharmaceutical companies and insurance agencies do. Your responsibilities could include creating a team budget, negotiating salaries to attract top talent and even advising on the financial viability of trading players.

Earning this position requires more than a love of sports – you need solid accounting and soft skills. And keep in mind that industry-specific factors such as fan loyalty, player popularity and signing bonuses will affect your budget.

College or university professor

Teaching at a college or university may be a next step for your accounting career if you like mentoring and sharing your accounting knowledge. Certified public accountants (CPAs) are typically suited for this job, and there are many part-time opportunities that allow you to work full time as an accountant and teach concurrently.

If you're considering teaching full time, you'll likely need to get your Ph.D., though this requirement can vary by college or university. It most often applies if you want to become a research professor.

IRS criminal investigation special agent

The lifestyle of a government special agent is often popularized with tales of espionage and action-packed car chases with multiple explosions. If you want the glamorous title but with less on-the-job danger, you can apply for an accounting career with the Internal Revenue Service to work in the agency's criminal investigation department.

Because this is an IRS job, it comes with a long list of prerequisites. Applicants must meet certain educational or work experience requirements and complete a number of competency evaluations. Even if these particular positions don't fit your needs, you can find many unusual accounting career options if you're willing to do some research and practice patience.