Inside Accounting Careers

Insider tips you need to know to choose and succeed in the right career

Career Background


Accounting

  Salaries
  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Surprising and Helpful Information

Detailed info from people on the job

Examples of likes and dislikes:

Like

"interacting with all kinds of different business areas and people throughout the company."

Dislike

"the tax rules are constantly changingÖ most firms will send you for training but you do need to keep up and do a lot of reading on your own."

Career Overview

Tax preparation is generally the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a career in accounting. However, there are many other aspects to careers in accounting. In the most basic sense, accounting jobs offer individuals the opportunity to learn how businesses work by performing vital function such as recording, monitoring, and verifying the flow of monetary transactions, as well as making sure that those transactions are legal under local, state, and federal guidelines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting and auditors can expect much faster than average employment growth over the 2008-18 decade.

Career Skills

Accounting careers tend to attract individuals who have an aptitude for mathematics and are analytical in order to be able to analyze and interpret financial data. Individuals should also have good communication skills in order to work with people, and have good knowledge of computers and business systems. Long hours may be required, especially during financial reporting or tax preparation time. Finally, there is a high standard of integrity associated with accounting and auditing positions due to the nature of the work.

Career Options

Accounting-related careers encompass a wide variety of activities in addition to preparing financial and tax statements. Good accountants and auditors have a wide knowledge base, with most having a specialty. Quite often, many business executives started their career path with a career in accounting. Most work in a traditional office setting, although some may be able to work from home. In general, there are four types of accounting careers, or areas of expertise:

  • Public Accountants work for public accounting companies or own their own businesses and perform a wide range of accounting, tax, auditing, and consulting activities for their clients. Some public accountants may specialize as a tax accountant, working on tax matters such as the preparation of tax returns, while others may specialize in other business areas such as health care benefits, employee compensation, bankruptcies, to name a few.
  • Management Accountants keep track of and analyze the financial information made by the companies for which they work. These careers are also sometimes referred to as corporate, industrial, or private accountants. Management accountants are usually involved in a great deal of strategic planning, as their analysis helps corporate executives make solid business decisions. Other duties may include preparing financial reports, financial analysis, budgeting and planning, and cost accounting.
  • Internal Auditors have become increasingly important and are responsible for making sure that a companyís accounting records are correct. Auditors are looking for any mismanagement of funds such as stealing or fraud, and corporate waste. Job duties include checking financial statements and accounting ledgers, as well as review management procedures and controls. Auditors may specialize in fields such as insurance, banking, legal, and health care.
  • Government Accountants and Auditors work in the public sector, such as for Federal, State, and local governments, ensuring both the accuracy of their records and those of people doing business with them. This includes auditing of individuals and private businesses whose activities are subject to government taxation or regulations. Many government accountants are employed by the Internal Revenue Service.

Education

Most accounting and auditing careers require at least a bachelorís degree in accounting or a related field, while some employers may prefer their employees to have earned a masterís degree in accounting or a related field, such as a masterís in business administration with a concentration in accounting. In addition, many individuals take additional accounting courses and obtain credentials through certification or designations, such as the taking the CPA exam to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).