Do you like to work with numbers? Have you volunteered as a group or organization’s treasurer? Do you balance your own checkbook each month? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, a degree in accounting might be a good choice for you.
The ability to calculate numbers is the primary skill for accountants, but other skills include:
• Being detail oriented
• Being able to use a computer
• Being able to analyze data
If you are proficient at these skills, or would like to learn how, you should consider a career in accounting.
Requirements for Becoming an Accountant
Professional accountants require a four-year degree from an accredited college. Two-year degrees are available, which will qualify you for a bookkeeper position at a lower pay scale. A two-year degree is a good way to enter the field and gain experience before continuing your education. If you receive a four-year accountant degree, you can study and test to become a Certified Public Accountant.
Those choosing to receive a higher degree can apply to MBA programs with a focus in Accounting, or study for a Masters in Accounting degree (MAcc). An MBA degree will give you a broader understanding of business practices, while a MAcc degree will focus specifically on accounting practices.
Career Opportunities for Accountants
Job opportunities for accountants are plentiful. Accountants can work in public accounting, management accounting, or as internal auditors. Public accountants should be able to work well with people, as they often work as tax preparers as well as auditors of group and small business accounts. Public accountants can specialize as government accountants, working to make sure government agencies or contractors adhere to government regulations. Government accountants also work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Management accountants work as analysts for businesses. They help create budgets and business plans that guide the actions and investments of companies.
Auditors work as contractors hired to analyze and validate a company’s business activities. They can detect inefficiencies and recommend better business practices to a company, as well as identify tax mistakes and even fraud and criminal activities.
The job outlook for accountants is very positive. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth for accountants to be about 13% between 2012 and 2022. Salary range for accountants ranges from about $46,000 for beginning accountants, to over $90,000 for high level tax accountants, with the average pay being about $63,000 per year.