Accounting as a career promises to be a lucrative path with a continued opportunity for growth. With the changing financial laws and regulations and the increased scrutiny that cooperation’s and businesses must face accountants and auditors will continue to be in demand.
What to Expect
The primary duties of accountants and auditors are to make sure that the business continues to operate in a lawful and a financially organized manner. They maintain financial records and information of the business as a whole as well as individual employees, and company purchases and expenditures. Accountant and auditors must also report to the government and other similar organizations as needed.
There are four fields of accounting and auditing each field maintains their own duties and operations. These fields are;
- Public Accounting
- Government Accounting
- Management Accounting
- Internal Auditing
As you consider accounting as a career keep in mind that these individual fields differ in the duties they perform.
Public accounting covers a broad range of duties and responsibilities. For the most part public accountants maintain their own business and are CPAs or Certified Public Accountants. Typically this type of accountant focuses on tax matters either preparing taxes, giving tax advice to individuals and corporation, and analyze tax forms.
Some public accountants even work closely with law enforcement to perform forensic accounting. Forensic accounting focuses on white collar crimes involving tax fraud and similar misconducts.
Government accountants make sure that regulations and tax laws are being followed by businesses and agencies alike. These accountants and auditors even keep track of all revenues received in accordance to federal and state tax laws. Other duties performed by government accountants and auditors include:
- Financial managements
- Examination of financial institutions
- Budget analysis
- Internal Revenue Service agents
Management accountants or private accountants are responsible for analyzing the financial records of individual companies for which they work for. These accountants and auditors are responsible to record and track all financial moves and information made by that company. Other duties include:
- Preparation of financial reports
- Cost and asset management
Internal auditors review the financial records of institutions checking for illegal or unethical activities. Auditors are responsible to manage and control waste and fraud.
Education, Training, and Certification
A bachelor’s degree is commonly required of those seeking accounting as a career. Many employers do prefer a Master’s in accounting or business administration. Many universities and colleges now offer courses that focus on the more specialized fields of accounting and auditing. It is even possible to attain a junior accounting position in many firms and then advance from there through continued education and on the job training.
Special licensing is required for accountants and auditors who wish to work with companies and institutions that are registered with the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission). The CPA license ensures that the accountants and auditors are qualified to handle the complex demands required by these institutions.
Certified Public Accountants must meet the requirements set down by the individual state as well as passing a national exam before being granted the license from their State Board of Accounting. Each state will have their own requirements and if you are considering accounting as a career you need to understand the requirements of the state you live in.
If you are seeking accounting as a career it is generally recommended that you seek specialized licenses and certifications. These licenses and certifications will allow you to seek specialized positions and advanced positions within companies.
Accountants and auditors can be self-employed as well as work with business firms and businesses. Many accountants who are self-employed work in urban areas and often hold a secondary job as well.
Other areas where accountants and auditors are employed include:
- Tax preparations
- Payroll services
- Teaching positions
The employment outlook for accountants and auditors promises to experience continued growth. New regulations and laws not to mention increased scrutiny of financial records are all cited as reasons that this job market is going to continue to grow.
While opportunities will abound it is important to note that with the increased interest in accounting as a career will come the demand for accountants with certifications and specialized licensing.
Accountants and auditors can expect starting salaries of about $49,000 if they hold a bachelor’s degree. It is possible for accountants and auditors to receive upwards to $100,000 for those highly trained and specialized.
Many accountants and auditors do receive benefits and healthcare depending upon where they work and if they are self-employed.The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"