The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median pay for Accountants and Auditors with a Bachelor Degree is around $63,550/year ($30.50/hour) with expected job growth of 13% in jobs by 2022. That exceeds the average expected job growth across all jobs, all occupations by 2%.
The Accounting World
Accounting has always been an effective entry point to successful careers in business. It is the one discipline that keeps careers focused on the bottom-line and it has remained so through increased technology, ever changing government and tax issues and the ups and downs of economic cycles. Accountants, regardless of the hat they are wearing, have become strong, authoritative, and important voices in business, finance, and government.
Public Accountants work with individuals, businesses and governments, providing services in accounting, auditing, tax and consulting. They focus on financial documents and data like tax forms or balance sheets. Some specialize in corporate or individual income taxes.
**Note – Becoming a CPA takes considerable and additional, post-graduate study. However, it provides paths for accountants to run their own business (accounting firm or consulting) and find career positions in the larger public accounting firms that require this credential. Currently all states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Management Accountants record, analyze and report the financial information at their business. Intended for internal use, the information supports budgeting, operations and other stakeholders. Different titles identify the specific position focus: cost, managerial, industrial or corporate accounting.
Government Accountants work for federal, state and local governments to make sure that revenues are received and spent as regulated. They examine, maintain and report the government finances within the government-specific acceptable accounting practices.
Specialties within the accounting field include (but are not limited to) career paths in tax law & collections, forensic accounting, bankruptcy law, contracts, law enforcement, small business accounting, accounting software development and much more!
The Career Path
Educational requirements for a business accounting degree are pretty standard from one college and university to another. Some high schools have accounting studies that may prepare students for entry level accounting clerical and bookkeeping positions, but they would be wise to pursue college education while working so they don’t limit their potential for career growth and advancement.
Analytical Skills. Accountants rely on their analytical skills to mine and interpret the large volume of financial data. They need to identify problems quickly and precisely and then be able to provide solutions.
Communication Skills. Accountants are the voice of reason, able to listen closely to the customers, managers and owners they serve. They must be able to provide clear and concise communication in written and oral presentations and be comfortable presenting this information to small groups of executives or large groups of shareholders.
Detail Oriented. Accounting is a discipline that strikes some as tedious but others as indispensable. The most successful accountants have a passion for attention to detail and searching for and reporting the facts.
Math Skills. Accounting math is a specific field of calculation and analysis. Much of this is now supported with sophisticated software, however, the base math skills and tabulation are still taught in most universities and colleges. This provides the degreed accountant with the math background and ability to research and solve accounting problems with or without the use of accounting software.
Most employers put high value on these skills, but the career path towards advancement and better pay is usually geared to incremental progress in education and certification. So now that you’ve earned your degree, never stop learning and improving your skill sets with professional education, seminars and industry mentors.
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