Accounting is a great career if you manage to secure a place at one of the top 4.
A key advantage to accountancy is that there is a great deal of attention that PwC, Deloitte, EY or KPMG will pay to training and offering opportunities to develop your career. These firms offer a broad range of financial services to business which include a great deal of advisory work on how the company can run itself more efficiently to improve profit. The firms will train you up in the first 3 years and you have a great deal of say in what direction you want your career to go in and what work interests you the most.
In contrast training at investment banks, consultancy or legal firms tends to be much more dog eat dog with there being a reputation for these firms to abuse their staff whilst offering large financial renumeration.
Perhaps the best thing about having a career in accountancy is that the pay is more than enough not to have to worry about money, so long as you hold off on that ferrari for a few years, and the hours are reasonable enough for you to have enough time to remember what life is all about. Typically in Audit the hours are 9 - 5.30 but can be longer when visiting clients or in a busy period. In tax the hours are a steady 9-5.30
Another plus to working in accounting is that over a 3 year period you gain the ACA qualification. At the end of this all options are open again. From moving into a managerial position at the firm you are in, to making a career change into consultancy, banking or law (assuming your prepared to do the qualifications)
It is very competitative to get into the top 4 with approximately 10 applications for every place available.
The pay at the top 4 is 26,000 in london 20,000 outside. This pay more than doubles over a 5 year period going upto 250,000 - 2.5m if you make it to partner (which normally takes about 12 - 15 years)
Consultancy on the other hand is often seen as more exciting career choice. The benefits to consultancy are its shortcommings for me. If you work for a big consultancy firm such as accenture or IBM then you will be working away from home during the week coming home at weekends. This is good if you enjoy travel and staying in hotels but makes a home life difficult and can become lonely. The nature of the job doesnt change as you get older with your salary and position increasing you will still be flying to Mumbai, Dallas etc working on a project traveling to the client to offer them your consultancy skills.
The pay is better than accountancy which probably explains why it is harder to get into than accountancy.