Explore career paths in accounting



Becoming an accountant gives you many potential options: types of accounting positions and small and large corporations where you can work.

When you begin learning about the many choices you have, it can seen overwheling to keep the many different types of accounting in mind. There's forensic accounting, public accounting as a certified public accountant (CPA), auditing, management accounting, financial analysis, financial reporting, accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk positions, tax preparation, you can use information technology to work on an accounting system, cost accounting, corporate accounting, personal financial planning; you could analyze budgets, be a certified management accountant or staff accountant, work teaching accounting as an accounting professor, be a controller, certified fraud examiner looking for financial crimes, or even a chief financial officer in larger corporations.

And the choices accounting professionals have for places of employment are just as varied. You could work in the private or public sector, part-time in tax preparation firms, in an accounting firm offering general accounting services to many clients, as a staff accountant on an accounting team within a corporation, in state or federal government performing the yearly internal audit or tasked to review other financial info, in various management positions that must understand financial records, and more.

Each type of accounting carries similar responsibilities, but your employer’s goals may be very different. But, no matter where you are, there are accounting jobs, or jobs in a related field for those who understand good accounting practices, available near you.

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Accountant

Accountant


Typically, an accountant takes care of the basic financial operations of a business, organization, franchise or company. They may simply make ledger entries and track transactions, or a staff accountant may be more involved with income tax returns and other financial records, making sure government regulations are followed, and may review the work of an auditor.

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Accounting Clerk

Accounting Clerk


Accounting clerk careers are an excellent choice for people who love working with numbers and figures. As a clerk, you will perform basic accounting jobs and data entry that will help your accounting firm or company track transactions. This is a good entry-level position for an accounting career path.

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Accounting Information Systems Specialist

Accounting Information Systems Specialist


An AIS specialist is unique in their ability to bridge the gap between accounting and information technology.

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Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable


This position is available in a wide variety of settings andis a crucial and much-used accounting role in any office or accounting department. These specialists accept bills and enter pertinent information into the accounting system so that the company can pay its future bills and staff salary on time and track expenses each year.

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Actuarial Accounting

Actuarial Accounting


These professionals work in statistics-based accounting in industries such as insurance, where they determine risk in investments among other things and offer advice to managers.

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Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping


If you are great at organization, keeping up with facts and figures, and calculating balances, perhaps a career as a bookkeeper is right for you. You may not even need to have completed your accounting degree to apply for and gain access to this position, though there are courses and certificates you can earn to make it more likely a potential employer will give you employment. This is a great entry-level to an accounting career path.

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Budget Analyst

Budget Analyst


Budget analysts provide important expertise on planning budgets and reports, reviewing info from auditors and or consulting firms to ensure their businesses success. These employees may be CPAs and manage the finances and content of investments for a wide range of organizations.

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Capital Accounting

Capital Accounting


A career in accounting promises competitive compensation, consistent job security, and abundant opportunities across the country. A capital accounting professional deals with fixed assets including buildings, equipment, or even intelectual property that a company owns. This position may also be held by a cost accounting manager who deals with the full financial plan for fixed and fluid assets.

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Comptroller

Controller


These professionals work as a high-level accounting executives in a large and small organizations or agencies. They maintain compliance with internal and external policy and law. One of their jobs may be to find professionals in the accounting field to join the company and support their development.

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Cost Accounting

Cost Accounting


The role of the cost accountant is often tailored to the needs of a specific industry or agency, but they generally help create an overarching financial plan for an accounting firm or company while tracking financial requirements and budget inefficiencies.

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Enrolled Agent

Enrolled Agent


These are licensed professionals who go to bat for taxpayers who face asset forfeiture and/or are undergoing audits from the IRS. They'll review tax return and financial statement information to help you defend yourself during an audit.

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Environmental Accounting

Environmental Accounting


These specialists help measure the costs of an organization’s resource use on the environment. This is a relatively new career path, available because of international interest in maintaining and improving our environment and demand that corporations lessen their impact.

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Financial Analyst

Financial Analyst


In general, financial analysts help to guide investment decisions for both corporations and individuals. These professionals might be referred to as a financial planner if they mainly assist clients with their personal finances, but they may work for themselves or an accounting firm.

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Forensic Accounting

Forensic Accounting


In this position, you'll help authorities or individual businesses discover problems with fraud and you may diagnose issues with an accounting program or information system if you have experience in IT.

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Fund Accountant

Fund Accountant


In this position, you can skip the CPA exam and choose a different accoutning career path where you'll deal with interactions, financial reports, and interest yields. Whether you're still a student or a graduate of an accountancy program, in this position you can experience a different side of accounting as a fund accountant in big business.

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Government Accounting

Government Accounting


Work for a government agency as a CPA or other licensed accountant. These employees not only receive a well-rounded early-career experience, but also have access to many benefits of working in government and robust promotion opportunities.

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Internal Auditing

Internal Auditing


Hold your company accountable with checks and balances as an internal auditor. Whether you plan to move into management accounting or not, this experience is necessary for the majority of corporations in today's economy.

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Jobs with the IRS

Jobs with the IRS


You can learn the inner workings of the IRS as an analyst, auditor, or other role.

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Managerial Accounting

Managerial Accounting


In a management accounting position, you will manage processes, workflow, and other accountants as well as reviewing every financial statement.

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Payroll Accountant

Payroll Accountant


As a payroll specialist, you will deal with payroll and benefits in companies of all sizes. You're less likely to work for an accounting firm than for a business or corporation.

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Public Accounting

Public Accounting


Certified public accountants (CPAs) center their services on providing for a wide variety of needs in terms of both businesses and individuals.

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Tax Accounting

Tax Accounting


Tax accountancy is a profession that offers many different routes within its general scope. Tax accountants are found in a variety of environments, either part-time at a firm that helps each client file their tax return, with the IRS reviewing each incoming financial statment, and more.

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Tax Attorney

Tax Attorney


You can make a legal impact and represent clients in trouble as a tax attorney. These professionals spend a longer time in school as they earn their law degree.

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Tax Consultant

Tax Consultant


Tax Consultants are experts in federal and state tax laws, rules, and regulations. They manage annual tax filings for organizations, businesses, and individuals.

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Tax Preparer

Tax Preparer


The professional tax preparer must fill out main tax forms either by hand or by using online software and check and reconcile figures with various paperwork such as W-2s & 1099s.

Accounting—What it Is

To work as an accountant means that you’ll help your employer maintain the business’ financial accounts. No matter the specific type of accounting you were hired for, you will be expected to have a high level of information about your employer’s financial operations. To obtain this knowledge, you’ll have to keep track of financial transactions in balance sheets, profit and loss statements and a general ledger. Your analytical skills help you figure out where accounting discrepancies have begun.

Your employer may also want you to make recommendations on various financial actions they may want to take. Expect to justify your recommendations to your employer.

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Accounting Breakdown

  • Degrees You Need for Accounting

    Prepare to enter a university or college accounting program, because you’ll need to start with a an Associate's In Accounting (AA) or an accounting bachelor’s degree (BAcc), at the least, to work as an accountant. If you are looking to become a CPA, you are also going to want to pursue a master's degree in accounting.

  • Interpersonal Skills That Help in Your Profession

    In your profession, you should possess communication skills, the ability to think critically and good analytical skills that enable you to take apart financial questions.

  • Job Responsibilities of an Accountant

    Prepare yourself for an accounting career by polishing your organizational skills, communication and interpersonal skills, ability to solve problems, expanding your business knowledge, polishing your numeracy and being very comfortable with the IT side of your profession.

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    Salaries and Job Growth

    In general, from one state to the next, accountants’ salaries range from $65,000 to about $150,000. The accounting profession is growing rapidly because it’s one that companies and individuals rely on heavily as they gain an understanding of their financial position. Learn more about the average accountant salaries by State.

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    Guide to Becoming an Accountant

    Deal with your education by earning credits in every required accounting class. Next, pass your state’s certification examination and obtain your license to practice accounting.

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    Where Can You Work?

    Accounting is a profession where you can work in a public or private setting, for a large organization or a small business. Accounting is everywhere!

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    Career Options

    Your options may include certified public accounting, government accounting, forensic accounting and investment accounting.

Accounting is an old profession with a wide variety of career options, so you will never be bored or run out of ways to use your accounting certifications.

As you grow in your career, you can teach and mentor others, become a member of one of the many accounting organizations, and even volunteer your time to many nonprofits or fundraisers who are always looking for people with accounting skills to help out.

As you can see, there are many areas within the field of accounting that you can be a part of. Starting with the right education, you can add certification and licensure, continuing education and on-the-job experience to enter your desired career and make a difference while working as an accountant.

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