Poor credit impacts many areas of life, but if you plan to work in the financial field of accounting, you will want to consider whether a bad credit history will affect becoming an accountant. Any job that deals with money requires honesty from the service provider and trust from the customer. A CPA with a bad credit history might not seem like the most trustworthy or capable handler of money.
Credit History Impacts Any Job
A credit report was once used primarily by lending institutions for things like car loans, mortgages, and credit cards. However, today’s credit reports are often used in a variety of circumstances like applications for apartment leases, school, and jobs. A potential employer who notices that an applicant for an accounting job has a questionable credit history might think twice about hiring that person to manage money. According to Forbes, an employer may, with the employee’s permission, check credit history (although not the actual credit score) and may deny a job to someone who is deemed untrustworthy, unreliable, or irresponsible. While credit history is certainly not the only deciding factor in whether someone is hired, knowing that it is taken into consideration, particularly in finance-related jobs like accounting, means that it is important to monitor and control your bills and debts.
Fixing Credit and Avoiding Bankruptcy
When a person with bad credit undergoes bankruptcy, the proceedings occur in civil court and are available to the general public through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. Anyone who wishes to become an accountant or CPA who has poor credit would likely want to avoid going through bankruptcy at all costs, but being honest about your situation and ready to explain any financial issues may help to alleviate any reservations a potential employer may have.
Bankruptcy not only remains on a credit report for a decade or more, but it’s a black mark on the reputation of anyone involved in the financial industry. A history of bankruptcy could make a firm nervous that a CPA wouldn’t be able to make intelligent decisions for clients. Coming back from the financial brink is certainly difficult and sometimes bankruptcy is the only way out; however, it’s best to try all other avenues before taking that road.
Reckless Spending Revealed Through Credit Reports
Sometimes a person is hit by unemployment or other unforseen financial circumstances that can’t be controlled and which lead to financial difficulties. It’s essential for future CPAs and accountants to do everything possible to avoid black marks on a credit report like charged-off accounts, overdue payments, and heavy credit card balances. A bad credit report could even get a new accountant fired. One way to keep major student loan debt from affecting your credit history is to seek out a less expensive online accounting degree. See 10 Best Online Accounting Schools for more information.
If you suspect that your credit may hinder your ability to secure an accounting job offer after graduation, talk to a financial adviser and make a plan to rectify your finances. Taking steps to consolidate debt or making payment arrangements before things get out of control may help reduce credit harm from late payments or credit cards that are over the limit.
Making Arrangements and Fixing Credit
At the very least, if a job applicant for an accounting job has a bad credit report, it might be possible to clean it up with some calls to creditors and other special arrangements. At the end of the day, a bad credit report won’t necessarily doom an application for work; however, anyone working in the financial services industry must be aware that employers routinely check credit reports.
The availability of information today means that it’s impossible to hide past financial problems, particularly with an employer. Although a bad credit history may affect becoming an accountant, taking responsibility for your finances and repairing any credit issues before you apply for jobs will make a significant difference in your attractiveness as a candidate for a job position, and can ensure that you secure a job in the field you desire.