Career Path For An Accountant


What Is The Salary Range

CPA Career Paths Public Accounting

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , the median annual wage for staff accountants was $54,820 in 2012. The BLS notes that the lowest 10 percent of earners made $32,870 annually or less and that the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,800 a year. Staff accountants employed in the finance and insurance industry earned the highest median salary at $62,860 a year, and those employed by local governments had the lowest median salary at $47,820 annually.

Career Paths For Accountants

Accounting professionals are needed in public, private and government sectors. Your preferred work style, environment and job focus can help you choose which type of accounting path is best for your career. You may decide to switch from one area to another after you gain experience and decide to specialize in a particular accounting position or industry. Getting to know the main sectors where accountants practice can help you as you plan your future.

Here are the main career pathways for accounting professionals:

Other Career Paths For Accountants

If you have an accounting background, or even an accounting credential like a CPA or CMA license, that doesnt mean you need to stay in accounting. In fact, the skills utilized by accountants every day are highly transferable to other careers in finance.

For example, you can work as a budget analyst, reviewing a companys spending habits and finding ways to make the budget more efficient.

When working as an accountant in a company, its possible to climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top and become a chief financial officer these are the top-ranked financial decision-makers in a business.

> > MORE: Explore more careers in finance.

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What Does An Auditor Do

An auditor is a specialized type of accountant who reviews the work of other accountants, examining financial statements and verifying their accuracy Auditors chiefly work in two settings:

  • External auditors are brought in to audit an organization from the outside. Many work for independent accounting firms.
  • Internal auditors audit a firms reports from within. Their work can detect and correct accounting problems before they turn into costly investigations or fines.

Whether theyre external or internal, both types of auditors are responsible for checking a companys financial reports with the goal of achieving three key objectives.

Your Accounting Career Path: Senior

Accounting Career Paths, Specializations &  Alternatives

After working and proving yourself as an accountant for nine or more years, your experience managing and leading could put you in contention for some of the most coveted positions in the industry. While its true not every accountant will break through into a senior-level accounting role, its good to know what lies ahead and what to strive for.

For many public accountants, becoming a partner in a public accounting firm is one of the ultimate destinations. For private accountants, becoming a chief financial officer is often the top of the corporate ladder.

Our job analysis helped us identify these other common accounting job titles for professionals with at least nine years of experience in the field:

  • Senior accountant
  • Accounting analyst

These senior-level positions obviously carry a lot of responsibility, but you can expect to be appropriately compensated for your expertise.

Where will your accounting career path take you?

This overview should give you a better idea of where a degree in Accounting could lead you. Knowing you have a variety of opportunities and room to grow should give you the confidence you need to take the next step in launching your new career.

If youre confident that accounting is the career for you, then theres no point in waiting to get started. Start planning your next move by reading our article, Your Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become an Accountant.

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Staff Accountant Career Path

If youre looking for a career with stability and growth potential, consider becoming a staff accountant. Staff accountants play a critical role in any business, helping to ensure that financial records are accurate and up-to-date. They also work with clients and other professionals to guide financial planning and investment options.

The staff accountant career path is an excellent choice for individuals who want to make a difference in business while developing their skills and knowledge. If youre interested in pursuing this exciting career, read on to learn more about what it takes to become a staff accountant.

Find An Accounting Job

After obtaining your degree for your career in accounting, you’ll need to then gain real-world experience to advance in your career. You can progress toward earning an advanced degree while working an entry-level accounting job. Additionally, internships for companies such as accounting firms can lead to job offers.

If you wish, you can proceed in this direction instead of going directly to a job. During an internship, it’s essential to put forth your best effort, be professional, and build your professional network for your future.

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Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants

Another potentially useful certification is known as a CIMA . The main difference between this title and ACCA or ACA is that a CIMA is more suitable for those pursuing a career in industry with a greater focus on management accounting.

Obtaining a CIMA could therefore represent an excellent choice for those who already possess a significant amount of experience within the accounting sector. There are currently more than 115,000 CIMA members worldwide.

What Kind Of Company Do You Want To Work For

CPA Career Paths: Corporate Accounting

Accountants are needed in almost every type of business, from small to large, across all sectors. That means that it’s up to you to decide where you think you’ll fit best. Think about your goals: do you want to work for a consulting firm, where you’ll have a number of clients, or would you prefer to be on the accounting team in a private company or nonprofit organization? Your interest in specific account fields will also dictate the types of businesses you can work for – if you’re interested in internal auditing, chances are you’ll need to look at larger corporations. If you’re an independent worker, perhaps you’d do well as financial consultant.

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Career Path : Public Accounting

Public accountants are not employed by any single client, which means they are not part of the client’s internal corporate structure. Public accountants are hired as outside experts who can provide a range of accounting servicesfrom advisory and tax to audit services.

People often choose the public accounting path because they enjoy the challenge of working on multiple accounts. They thrive in a fast-paced environment that gives them the opportunity to learn about new industries and solve myriad challenges. Public accountants will also need to earn their CPA license in order to advance past entry-level positions.

The work environment in a public accounting firm is:

  • Fast-paced and rigorous: No two days are exactly the same. Public accountants will need to balance the priorities and deadlines of multiple clients, while being responsive to immediate client needs.
  • Diverse: From the types of clients you serve to your internal teams and day-to-day responsibilities, your role will be constantly evolving. For example, you may have a client in the healthcare industry, while another specializes in financial services. You will need to be well-versed in general accounting best practices and be able to apply that expertise seamlessly across industries.
  • Demanding: Long hours and frequent travel are the norm in public accounting firms.

Public accounting roles are the best fit for accountants who:

Accountants who pursue the public accounting path will experience career advantages such as:

What Kind Of Work Environment Do You Thrive In

Depending on the type of accounting you do, your work environment can vary significantly. Some kinds of accounting, such as managerial accounting, have a fairly consistent pace, where your work will be very similar from day to day. Other types of accounting, particularly tax accounting, will have very busy periods and then have much slower periods. Think about what kind of work environment you enjoy – do you work well under pressure? Do you need variety to stay engaged? This can help inform your decision.

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What Types Of Companies Do Not Hire Staff Accountants

Although many significant corporations employ at least several full-time staff accountants, the BLS notes that many companies often rely on independent accounting firms to handle their accounting tasks. The BLS also reports that some smaller businesses might have a staff accountant working there, but the position is then outsourced when it requires additional expertise or resources.

Learning About The Various Career Fields In Accounting

What is the common career path for an Accounts Clerk?

While most people think about accounting as one homogenous industry, the reality is, there is no one set accounting career path. There are a number of different fields of accounting that you can pursue, each with its own area of focus and specialization. While almost all accounting careers will require a basis of fundamental technical accounting skills and capabilities, from there, you can go in any number of directions based on your interests. Here are just a few of the career fields in accounting that might be available to you.

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What Are The Best Ways To Acquire A Job In This Field

According to BLS, most staff accountants have attained an undergraduate degree in accounting or business, and most employers prefer candidates who have also completed graduate-level coursework. The BLS notes that additional training is usually available through professional certification programs for accountants, such as the Certified Public Accountant designation for accountants in public practice.

Many staff accountants begin their careers as junior or trainee accountants. They perform routine accounting tasks under the supervision of more experienced workers. They may attend seminars and workshops offered by professional associations for guidance on maintaining skills and advancing their career. After gaining experience and receiving recommendations from supervisors, some staff accountants move into supervisory or management positions.

Careers In Accounting With High Salaries

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: A Day in the Life of an Accountant

In this video, we follow Ektaa, a tax accountant working for a family-owned accounting firm, as she shares the skills and education needed to be a successful accountant.

An accountant works with financial records and can find a career in almost any specialized field. Aside from being widely available, jobs in accounting pay well and offer stability in terms of employment and salary. If you’re looking for a change in careers or if you’ve always been interested in numbers and bookkeeping, a career in accounting might be ideal for you. In this article, we review 22 careers in accounting along with their salaries and primary job duties.

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Five Popular Specialization Paths For Accountants

As your accounting career progresses, you have the opportunity to specialize within different accounting disciplines. Whether you choose the public or private accounting pathor switch between the twospecializations can help you qualify for new positions and advance your career.

Lets look at five popular specializations, how these roles differ, and the education and/or credentials that are beneficial for growing your expertise.

Tax AccountantThese professionals help individuals and organizations file their taxes, take advantage of deductions and credits, avoid audits, and receive the maximum available return.

  • Level Up Your Education: A masters degree program is a great way to gain specialized tax expertise. For example, Franklin University offers an M.S. in Accounting with a focus area of taxation. Focus area curriculum helps you gain expertise in individual, corporate, pass-through entity and federal tax practices.
  • Earn Professional Credentials: A CPA license or an Enrolled Agent credential can both be beneficial for a career in taxation. An EA credential recognizes professionals, including CPAs, licensed by the government to represent taxpayers. The EA designation is assigned by the IRS, and candidates must pass a three-part comprehensive test covering individual and business tax returns.

Start Your Journey For Free

The Best Accounting Career Path after College!

Begin your learning experience and become an accountant with certificate courses curated to land your dream job.

Skills Covered in this Path

  • Dual entry concept
  • Difference Between Book Keeping and Accounting
  • Golden Rules of Accounting
  • Knowledge of Income Tax Act 1961
  • Taxation Terminologies
  • Knowledge of definitions covered under the Income Tax Act 1961
  • Differentiating between Tax Planning
  • Tables and Borders in Excel
  • Date and Time in Excel
  • Sorting and Filtering
  • General functions in Descriptive Analysis

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Why Work As An Accountant

Accountants are skilled professionals with career opportunities in many job sectors. If you have a talent for mathematical and organizational tasks, working as an accountant can provide you with professional growth prospects and a strong earning potential.

Typical work activities for accountants include:

  • Completing balance sheets for business transactions

  • Overseeing payroll systems

  • Creating financial reports to show specific monetary data

  • Preparing and reviewing tax documents

  • Advising clients or company management about fiscal processes

  • Reviewing financial statements for adherence to accounting principles and federal regulations

  • Reconciling reports to ensure accuracy

  • Auditing finances to verify information is free from mistakes and signs of fraud

  • Calculating investment data for individuals and businesses

  • Reporting stock information to the Securities and Exchange Commission

  • Analyzing accounting processes to identify opportunities to improve efficiency

Read more:7 Accounting Tasks and Duties

Accounting Career Path: Roles Salaries Progression

There are at least 3 million professional accountants around the world. This isnt surprising considering how vital the accounting industry is to our society, from small businesses, large corporations and even governmental organizations.

If youre interested in pursuing accounting as a career, youll find a broad range of opportunities. From working for one of the Big Four firms, to running your own practice or using your skills in almost any industry you wish, accountants are always in demand. What sets accountants apart from the rest of the finance careers is that an accountancy qualification is typically mandatory for the field to progress.

Is accounting right for you? To answer that, heres an in-depth look at the accounting career path and what it entails, from salaries, career progression, outlook and exit options.

  • Is accounting a good career choice for you?
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    How To Become An Accountant

    So youve decided to pursue an accountancy career path. What skills are looked upon favourably by recruiters? Is it possible for individuals to switch careers into this industry?

    First and foremost, it is highly recommended to earn a bachelors degree in a relevant subject ideally accounting, although its not a prerequisite. This now tends to be the minimum entry-level requirement.

    Getting a summer internship whilst at university is a great entry point to obtain some real insight and hands-on experience in the various accounting firm divisions, and hopefully an extended offer for a full time role before you graduate.

    Working towards an accounting qualification, whether it is CPA, ACA, ACCA or CIMA is pretty much a requirement for an accounting and finance career. Similarly, in the event that you want to switch into accounting from an existing financial career, it is expected that you are prepared to work towards being a qualified accountant.

    Those with significant finance experience may also choose to narrow down their career path and choose a specialized field, such as business valuation, tax accounting or corporate finance. Some industry experts likewise feel that eventually obtaining a masters degree in finance will help to open up even more possibilities.

    What Is The Job Like

    Finance &  Accounting

    The majority of staff accountants are employed in the accounting departments of private companies. These professionals may work for small businesses with just one accountant or large corporations that employ hundreds of workers within their accounting department. Some staff accountants are self-employed as independent auditors or consultants providing services to clients in various industries.

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    What Is A Staff Accountant

    A staff accountant has the job of compiling, reviewing, and analyzing financial records for an organization. Staff accountants also ensure that these records are accurate and complete. The work of a staff accountant is vital to the smooth running of businesses because it provides company decision-makers with information to make well-informed business decisions.

    Staff accountants may be responsible for a companys general accounting duties or specialize in specific areas of expertise, such as cost accounting or financial reporting. Staff accountants are often employed by large corporations, though not always. Some staff accountants work for agencies that provide business management services to companies too small to have full-time accountants.

    What Skills Or Qualifications Do I Need

    Typically, staff accountants hold a bachelors degree in accounting, and many have a master of business administration . Many employers also prefer candidates who hold the Certified Management Accountant designation or the Certified Public Accountant certificate. Staff accountants must be comfortable working with numbers and possess strong interpersonal skills, including establishing strong working relationships with other employees. Communication skills are essential, as staff accountants must convey financial information clearly and concisely to others within an organization. Finally, since staff accountants work with many different departments in an organization, they should also possess good problem-solving skills.

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    Career Path : Private Accounting

    Private accounting, also commonly referred to as industry accounting, is a career path that involves working for a single organization within its internal finance department. Private accounting is focused on the inner workings of businesses, governments and agencies.

    Professionals choose the private accounting path if they are looking for strong work/life balance, a consistent and predictable schedule, and the ability to focus on a single organizations finances. They are also not required to earn a CPA license, although it may be beneficial for certain opportunities, such as positions in government agencies.

    The work environment for private accounting roles is:

    • Consistent: Day-to-day responsibilities are dependable, focusing on a single companys operational costs and evaluating its fiscal performance.
    • Supportive: Managers and team members are typically the same across assignments, making private accounting workplaces collaborative and encouraging.
    • Lower stress: Deadlines are more predictable, office hours are standardized and travel, if required at all, is limited.

    Private accounting roles are the best fit for accountants who:

    Accountants who pursue the private accounting path will experience career advantages such as:

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