An accountant enables both individuals and more complex entities to maintain and evaluate financial records, to remain in accordance with tax laws and regulations, and to decide carefully how to spend money. Accountants may be trained in various fields. Public accounting requires advising companies to ensure that they meet their legal tax and audit obligations. Many public accountants are investigating financial crimes, known as forensic accountants.
The branch of accounting is accounting management, and these professionals typically work specifically for managing budgets and expenditures for businesses. You can find that accounting is an exciting occupation, depending on your interests.
Nevertheless, you will need to meet a variety of academic requirements to start this career, and, depending on the type of accounting you want to do, you will need to receive other certifications. You will be able to start this career with the right education and certifications and move up rapidly in the field.
Career Paths for an Accountant
For accounting, the four general career paths offer a unique set of career opportunities and specializations to consider. Here are the career paths you can explore.
- Public Accounting – Accountants often choose to become sole owners, enter associations, or accept jobs with accounting firms that already have a long list of clients they represent, either within the local business sector or elsewhere in the world.
- Private and Management Accounting – Accountants are hired to manage large multinational corporations’ financial services in sectors such as banking, finance and business consulting, insurance, real estate, energy, and healthcare.
- Internal / External Auditing – Financial auditing can be performed internally or externally. Each has different duties, but the objectives of an internal audit typically focus on improving the operational efficiency of the organization and reducing risk, while the external audit is meant to testify to the accuracy of the financial practices and documents of a business.
- Government Accounting – As government agencies often have complex financial relationships with other units of government, corporations, creditors, and citizens, these professionals have unique opportunities in government.
Training to Become an Accountant
Most accounting jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, but you may be able to perform some accounting tasks for an employer with an associate’s degree in accounting, such as payroll.
Most colleges and universities offer bachelor’s level accounting programs. These programs include training in the principles of accounting, finance, management, economics, statistics, and ethics. It is also essential to learn to work with accounting systems and tools, such as spreadsheets and databases. To gain practical experience, many accounting degree programs require students to take up internships.
Most are approved as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). For those whose jobs include tasks such as filing reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission must earn a CPA license. Even if a license is not legally required for the type of accounting you want to do, earning that certification can still enhance your job prospects and earning power because it shows you have met high educational and experience standards.
Average Salary of an Accountant
According to Money U.S. News, accountants made a median salary of $69,350 in 2017. The best-paid 25 percent made $91,770 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $54,250.
Accountants are highly trained financial professionals who prepare financial records and examine them. If you want to know more information on where and how to apply for jobs in this career, click here.