For many students, the decision of what to study in college is a difficult one. There are so many different majors to choose from, and it can be hard to know which one is the right fit for you. If you’re interested in business and want to find a career that offers stability and security, then you should consider studying accounting. Here’s a look at some of the things you can expect from a career in accounting. This blog will also provide some tips on what you can do to prepare yourself for a career in accounting.
What Is an Accounting Major?
Accounting majors study business and finance to provide information about an organization’s financial status to its management, shareholders, creditors, and other interested parties. Accounting is the recording of all financial transactions during a given period. Accountants also record associated notes that detail what caused these transactions to happen. This detailed record-keeping enables accountants to make predictions about future financial performance.
After graduation, accounting majors may work as accountants, auditors, budget analysts, and tax preparers. They are employed by various organizations, including corporations, business management firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
What Jobs Can One Do With Accounting As a Major?
Accountants can find jobs at a range of organizations. For example, accountants are employed by financial institutions, which include banks and credit unions. They are also employed by insurance companies, public accounting firms, manufacturing businesses, and other types of companies.
Tax examiners examine tax returns to make sure that they meet the requirements for payment or refund before they are submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. They work for state and federal governments, ensuring that income tax returns are filed correctly.
Accounting majors may also pursue careers as auditors. Auditors’ work involves carefully examining an organization’s financial statements to assess its fiscal health. They typically work for accounting firms or consulting companies.
Accounting majors may also find work as budget analysts or tax preparers. Budget analysts determine how much money an organization can spend and what it should spend its funds on. Tax preparers assemble and file income taxes before the deadline for individuals, small businesses, and corporations.
What Does a Typical Day Look Like Working in Accounting?
If you pursue a career as an accountant, then your day will likely be filled with meetings and deadlines. Accountants generally spend their days working independently on tasks such as reviewing financial reports, creating budgets, auditing financial statements, and ensuring that the company is compliant with local laws regarding taxes.
Accountants also often meet with clients to plan projects or discuss their progress. They must stay up-to-date with the latest tax laws to serve clients best. They may attend training seminars or webinars provided by their employer to further their professional development.
What Skills Are Needed to Become an Accountant?
Some of the skills needed to become an accountant include:
Attention to detail – Accountants need to identify issues and inconsistencies in the reports they seek to review. This requires attention to detail and a comprehensive understanding of financial reporting.
Computer skills – Since accounting software is often used by accountants, familiarity and comfort in using computer programs and applications related to accounting are essential.
Organizational skills – Organizing numerous tasks is essential for completing projects on time.
Interpersonal skills – Accountants must communicate effectively with coworkers and clients.
Problem-solving skills – Accountants are expected to offer solutions to issues that arise in their work. Discovering potential problems before they become more serious is vital for accountants.
What Kind of Education Would I Need?
A degree in accounting is typically required for any career in accounting. Students can choose from several different degrees and study options, and most positions will require at least a bachelor’s degree.
Some positions may also require an MBA, CPA, or another professional licensure, such as the Enrolled Agent designation offered by the National Association of Tax Professionals.
Graduates with an accounting degree may also wish to pursue professional certification to prove that their skills are up-to-date and competitive within the marketplace. Some examples of available certifications include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
What Are the Salary Expectations for An Accountant?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors earned a median wage of $68,150 in 2012. The highest 10 percent of earners made more than $106,680, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,700.
Accountants in the following industries also earned the highest salaries (the figures listed are median annual earnings for 2012):
- Pipeline transportation of crude oil – $126,360
- Management, scientific and technical consulting services – $105,550
- Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing – $94,020
As you can see, the industry in which accountants are employed plays a significant role in their salaries.
What Are Some Possible Career Paths?
The following careers all require a bachelor’s degree:
Public accountants- Accountants working in public accounting provide tax, audit, and consulting services to the public and companies.
Government accountant- Government accountants work for federal, state, or local governments to manage finances for a government entity.
Management accountant- Management accountants serve as financial advisers to managers of companies and other institutions. They may also help organizations develop budgets and forecasts.
Government agencies and large companies may hire management accountants for positions such as cost analyst or financial analyst.
Accounting clerk/Clerk-Accountant – Accounting clerks typically support an organization’s accounting departments. They usually work under the supervision of more senior accountants.
Other possible career choices include credit manager, financial analyst, or financial examiner.
What Is the Jobs Outlook for Accounting Majors?
Jobs for accountants are projected to increase 10% from 2014 to 2024, higher than the average growth rate. In May 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked accountants as one of the 20 most promising jobs in America due to a 12% increase in job openings from 2014-to 2024. Accountants are expected to find job opportunities, particularly in growing fields such as consulting services, government agencies, and banking institutions. As businesses and organizations continue to expand and grow, there will be a demand for skilled accountants to manage their money and finances.
How Can Accounting Students Increase Their Chances of Getting Hired?
Students should take the following steps to increase their chances of getting hired:
Develop strong computer skills – Computer skills are needed across all aspects of accounting. Internships or employment in accounting firms, government agencies, or companies that require computer skills is ideal.
Stay informed about industry changes – As new laws and regulations change the field of accounting, students should stay abreast of these changes to compete for jobs successfully. New technologies may also affect the profession, so it is necessary to learn how to use them.
Invest in a professional wardrobe – Professional dress is essential as it conveys a positive first impression to employers and clients.
Get involved through volunteer work or internships – Volunteering in the community or gaining valuable internship experience will help students gain insight into accounting careers. Students can also make industry contacts that may prove beneficial when applying for jobs after graduation.
Where Does Accounting Majors Work?
Accountants typically work in one of the following industries:
Business and other organizations- Accountants working in business and other organizations provide financial services to clients.
Government- Accountants working for the government may be responsible for auditing/monitoring, analyzing, or reporting any governmental entity.
Education and health- Services- Accountants providing tax preparation services work in educational institutions and health care facilities.
Self-Employed/Small Businesses – Accountants providing tax preparation services may also be self-employed or work for small businesses.
Top Recruiting Companies for Accounting Majors
1. Ernst & Young- is the world’s largest public accounting firm. They have more than 250,000 employees worldwide and are headquartered in New York City.
2. PricewaterhouseCoopers- is one of the “Big Four” firms that provide assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services to organizations worldwide.
3. Deloitte- provides professional services such as financial audit, risk advisory, tax, and consulting.
4. KPMG- serves clients worldwide through member firms located in 155 countries.
5. Grant Thornton LLP- is an organization of professionals providing assurance services to privately held businesses, public interest organizations, and governmental entities worldwide.
6. BDO USA LLP- provides assurance/tax/advisory/financial advisory, consulting, and outsourcing services for organizations in a wide variety of industries.
7. Moss Adams LLP- is one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the United States, with more than 3,100 professionals throughout North America.
8. Crowe Horwath- is an audit, tax, and business advisory organization that provides services globally to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and state/local government organizations.
9. H&R Block- is an American tax preparation company that also offers additional financial products and services.
10. Liberty Tax Service- provides tax preparation service and financial products such as loans, prepaid cards, and refund anticipation loans (RALs) in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Best Colleges to Study Accounting
1. Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, Utah. It was founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and entirely operated on donations. Total student enrollment is 30,000+ students, with more than 97% of students being members of the LDS church.
2. the University of Notre Dame is a private, Catholic research university located in South Bend, Indiana. Total student enrollment is 12,000+ students and the primary undergraduate institution within Notre Dame’s main campus.
3. Baylor University is a coeducational, private Christian university located in Waco, Texas. Total student enrollment is 14,758+ students, with most students identifying themselves as members of the Baptist faith.
4. Brigham Young University-Idaho is a private, coeducational university affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Total student enrollment is 33,672+ students, and its primary focus is on undergraduate education.
5. Southern Methodist University is a private, coeducational university located in Dallas, Texas. Total student enrollment is 11,215+ students, with most students identifying themselves as members of the Christian faith.
6. Baylor College of Medicine- Located in Houston, TX., Baylor College of Medicine was founded in 1903. The college is affiliated with Baylor University.
7. Creighton University- Creighton University, located in Omaha, NE., was founded in 1878. The school is associated with the Roman Catholic Church.
Online Courses to Study Accounting
Some of the popular online courses to study accounting include:
The Complete Introduction To Accounting and Finance by Udemy- This course will teach you how to use accounting concepts with the help of numbers. It helps students learn how to balance their books, utilize T-accounts, record transactions, and more! Take this course at Udemy.
Accounting in 60 Minutes – A Brief Introduction by Udemy- This course is especially beneficial for people who want to understand the basics of accounting concepts in a short period. Covering topics from what GST is all about to how bank reconciliation works, this is one intense 60-minute accounting session! Take this course at Udemy.
Accounting: From Beginner to Advanced! by Udemy- This course helps students brush up their accounting skills for both beginners and advanced learners. It features exclusive modules such as Bookkeeping, Accounting for Lawyers, Contract Accounting, and more that help you understand the subject better! Take this course at Udemy.
Accounting Essentials by Edx- This course helps students learn the fundamentals of accounting, including recording transactions and reporting them in a way that is accurate and transparent. Take this course at Edx.
MicroMasters® Program in Accounting by Edx- This course will help you understand the field of accounting and how to apply it in your professional life. One of the main features of this program is that students can acquire credits from Deloitte University for taking this course. Take this course at Edx.
Introduction to Finance and Accounting Specialization by Coursera- This course helps you understand accounting and finance topics such as balance sheets, income statements, financial analysis, and more. It also offers a solid foundation to those pursuing CFA Level 1 exam. Take this course at Coursera.
So, if you are an accounting major, what can you do with your degree? There are many career paths that you can take. You could become a certified public accountant (CPA), which would allow you to work in the private or public sector. You could also become a financial analyst or manager, tax preparer, bookkeeper, auditor, or financial advisor. The possibilities are endless! The best way to find out what you want to do is to talk to professionals in the field and do some research. The accounting profession is an excellent choice for those who want a stable and reliable career. It offers many opportunities for growth and advancement, and it is always in demand. So go out there and conquer the world as an accountant!