According to Yahoo! Education, the accounting profession is the number one fastest growing field for recent college graduates. The demand for accountants has increased every year for last decade and there are no signs of this trend changing. With new tax laws, public company oversight regulations, and a more complex business environment, accountants will always be needed in increasing numbers. It’s no wonder why more college students are changing career paths and graduating with accounting degrees.
Now is a great time to get into the field of accounting. Completing an accounting program and earning a degree in accounting can open so many job and careers paths. The profession isn’t what it was 50 years ago. Today there are many different career paths available to accountants from tax, audit, and assurance work to advisory roles and industry management positions. There’s really no limit to want an accountant can do in the modern world of business.
All of these career paths start with one thing: education. Having a great education is the foundation to a productive career. A great education can differentiate you from other candidates and set you apart from co-workers during a promotion process. There are many different educational options available today.
You can attend an online accounting program or a formal masters in accounting degree. It’s all available to you, but what should you actually pursue and what school is best for you? Here’s some information about the top 10 accounting schools and degree programs in the US and online.
Typically during your education process, you will stir towards some type of accounting certification. Each has its own level of educational requirements and work experience qualifications that must be met before even attempting the standardized exams.
Keep in mind that these are just professional certifications, licenses, and designations. This isn’t a list of jobs or careers. A CPA can hold many different jobs and use his or her certification in many careers from public accounting to private industry to governmental accounting. It’s important to keep in mind that the world of accounting and finance is huge.
Here’s some more information about the most popular accounting certifications.
- Certified Public Accountant – CPA
- Certified Managerial Accountant – CMA
- Enrolled Agent – EA
- Certified Internal Auditor – CIA
- Certified Financial Analyst – CFA
Jobs and Careers
There are tons of job and career opportunities out there for accountants as long as you have the proper education. The accounting profession ranges from simple bookkeeping to complex tax and audit compliance work. There are four main sectors that offer a wide variety different jobs and careers. Here’s a list of each main sector and the jobs commonly found in that sector.
As with any career, annual salary and benefits depend not only on job descriptions, but also geographic location and company size. For example, a bookkeeper for a small, private company will typically make much less than one for a large company located in a major city.
With greater salary comes the expectation of greater knowledge and ability. Smaller companies may require at least a two-year associate’s degree for a bookkeeping position. Larger companies will often require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Careers in public accounting and other high level positions like controllers usually require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance as well as some type professional certification and license.
A career in public accounting is one of the most obvious starting points for any college student. Public accounting firms offer a wide variety of positions and a career paths as well as a great learning opportunity. Landing a job with one of the big 4 accounting firms can propel your career beyond public accounting and into corporate finance and executive management.
Here’s some information about the big four accounting firms and other top firms that are great places to work for.