Career Options in Accounting

The accounting field offers solid employment prospects, especially for those who have earned accounting degrees or certificates, have completed internships, and are familiar with the most current accounting software packages. However, there are many areas of accounting and accounting jobs from which to choose. Here some of the most common options:

Management accountants may be involved with a company’s pricing decisions or advise other employees on relevant financial matters.

Public accountants work with the public so to speak. They advise clients on tax and financial matters as well as investments, set up books, prepare income tax returns, audit financial statements, investigate financial crimes, or other accounting matters as required by clients. Public accountants may serve clients by working for themselves or by working as part of a larger public accounting firm.

Some public accountants are licensed and certified with the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. This is a requirement if an accountant has to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). (Publicly-traded companies need reports filed with the SEC on a regular basis.) CPAs are licensed at the state level. More than 42 states require CPAs to have 150 semester hours of corresponding coursework. CPAs must also pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Management accountants are responsible for satisfying the accounting needs at the company for which they work. They prepare budgets, manage assets, analyze financial information, make forecasts, write reports, and evaluate a company’s financial performance. They may also be involved with a company’s pricing decisions or advise other employees on relevant financial matters.

Government accountants work at all levels of government and analyze records concerning the financial obligations that individuals and businesses have with that particular level of government under the most current rules and regulations. They help determine if those obligations have been met or not. They may also create budgets, analyze financial data, and manage government financial departments.

Internal auditors are like a company’s own financial watchdogs. It’s their job to discover instances of fraud or waste, evaluate compliance with internal and external regulations, and assess the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s financial processes. They may compile their recommendations into reports or work with governmental regulators to ensure the company’s compliance with accounting and reporting regulation standards.

Bookkeepers are recordkeepers who log income and expenses, maintain records and ledgers, process accounts payable and receivable, issue receipts, produce reports, prepare bank deposits, create invoices, and track accounts.

Accounting clerks create and update files; post transactions; reconcile receipts; and review journals, statements, invoices, and reports.

Auditing clerks ensure that a company’s records are correct by checking for mathematical, coding, and posting errors.

Accountant and auditor jobs generally require at least a bachelor’s degree while bookkeeper, accounting clerk, and auditing clerk jobs may require an associate’s degree or certificate in accounting or business. To work in the accounting field in general you should have good math skills, be familiar with accounting software packages, and like to work with numbers.