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Career profile: Accounting

Beginning your accounting career

If you are considering a career in accounting, you should have an aptitude for mathematics and be able to analyze, compare and interpret facts and figures quickly.

Accountants work to ensure that business firms and individuals are keeping good records and paying taxes properly and on time. Majoring in accounting can lead to a variety of career paths in many different industries.

Eligibility

Basic eligibility is four years of college for a professional degree in accounting or a related field. A bachelor’s degree with a minor in another subject from an accredited college or university is needed to apply for a master’s in accounting. People who have done their course in accounting over the Internet are also eligible for jobs in the acounting industry. In terms of job, prior experience as a trainee auditor or accountant can also help.

Types of accounting jobs

Career paths can be generally categorized into two broad categories: public accounting and non-profit accounting. 

Public accounting include external auditing, tax planning and return preparation and consulting. Usually, one obtains the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation when choosing the public accounting career path. The CPA designation requires 150 college hours, most often achieved by obtaining a Master’s of Accounting degree after getting a bachelor’s degree.

Non-public accounting includes a very diverse collection of occupations such as: corporate controller, internal auditor, cost accountant, tax accountant, budget accountant, IRS agent, government auditor, nonprofit controller, government accountant, credit manager and financial institution officer. Non-public accounting positions usually do not require a CPA designation; thus, a bachelor’s degree is adequate preparation for these jobs. Often businesses desire accounting students for all types of non-accounting positions because of their broad business training and overall knowledge of the financial impacts of business events.

A few tips on getting started:

  • Decide which field of accounting you would like to get into.
  • Research-related information and shortlist colleges and universities for the given courses.
  • Consult accountants or even teachers who have knowledge of the subject.
  • Enroll in an accounting course.
  • Start off as a trainee after getting a degree from a college. Most of the companies look for an accredited college.
  • Keep looking for hiring by the major companies of the industry.
  • Update your work knowledge according to the industry standards. Be sure to include the two newest study areas in accounting degrees, which are ethics and computer science. High standards of integrity are important in accounting because millions of financial statement users can rely on your results.
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