When it comes to the field of accounting, most people have a very general idea of what an accountant does. However, all accountants do not do the same things or work in the same kinds of environments. In fact, many different career paths are open to you with a completed degree in accounting. While most accountants start out working in similar positions, there is a wide variety of career paths that are ultimately available. If you are considering getting a degree in accounting, it is important to have a clear idea of the different types of accounting jobs and which ones may be right for you.
At Brescia, we know that an online accounting degree is applicable to many industries. Accountants are employed by many different types of businesses and can also go into practice privately as certified public accountants (CPAs). To help you explore your options, we’ve put together a guide to careers in accounting.
Types of Accounting Careers
With an accounting degree, you can work for the state or federal government, companies, nonprofit organizations, schools, law firms and accounting firms. However, you can also work for yourself as a consultant or CPA, or even own your own accounting firm. There are four main types of accounting jobs, all of which involve different applications of an accounting degree. They include management accounting, government accounting, internal audit accounting and public accounting.
- Management accounting involves analyzing a company’s financial information and using the conclusions to strategically plan for growth. Management accountants prepare budgets, evaluate performance and perform asset management. As an accountant in this type of position, you would also be required to prepare financial reports for the executive team.
- Government accounting is related to the finances of federal, state and local governments. Government accountants perform duties such as payroll, budgeting, bookkeeping, managing revenues and auditing private businesses that are subject to government tax.
- Internal audit accounting involves evaluating the company’s financial records for effectiveness and responsible spending, as well as fraud. Internal audit accountants ensure that company records are accurate and verifiable.
- Public accounting is the broadest of these career categories. Public accountants complete a variety of bookkeeping, financial management, tax preparation and auditing tasks. Clients of public accountants can be individuals, companies, nonprofit organizations and governments.
Because an accounting degree is applicable to so many different positions, it is important to research job options when choosing to pursue an accounting degree. All types of accountants must have a complete understanding of financial concepts and practices; therefore, a bachelor’s degree in accounting is required for employment in most of these positions. The following is a list of five popular accounting careers:
Accounting clerks assist a company’s accountants with routine tasks such as payroll, accounts payable and inventory. Salary for accounting clerks begins at around $20,000 a year, and an associate’s degree is usually required.
While bookkeepers are not required to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, at least an associate’s degree is recommended. Bookkeepers are employed by companies in order to complete routine financial activities like billing, purchases and payroll. They are expected to accurately and efficiently handle detail-oriented work. Salary for bookkeepers starts at around $20,000 annually.
This type of accountant travels around the globe to complete international financial transactions on behalf of companies and corporations. This specialized accounting career requires professionals to have a keen sense of international finances, mergers and acquisitions. Salary for such positions begins at around $50,000 annually.
Forensic accountants investigate financial crimes and fraud for companies and law enforcement agencies. Their primary responsibility is to find the sources of such crimes. This means that the work of forensic accountants often results in criminal charges for those they investigate. Average salary for forensic accountants is around $60,000 a year.
Certified public accountant
Certified public accountants must first pass the CPA Exam and then work for a period of time in order to meet criteria. This means that students that have recently graduated from an accounting program and plan to become CPAs can often be hired by companies. After your first year at a CPA firm, you will likely be required to work with clients as well as planning audits and supervising other workers. Entry-level salary for CPAs is about $55,000 annually.
Comptrollers monitor the entirety of a company’s outgoing and incoming finances. They are the financial controller, and therefore have high levels of daily responsibility. Average salary for comptrollers is about $65,000 a year.
Chief Financial Officer
CFOs are responsible for the financial budgets and goals of companies. They are executives in the company structure and oversee entire financial departments. Salary for CFOs averages at about $100,000 annually.
The bachelor’s degree in accounting at Brescia is designed to prepare you with the knowledge and skills required for success in an accounting career. Our flexible and affordable program allows you to continue your education on your schedule. To find out more about Brescia’s online bachelor’s degree in accounting, visit our Online Programs page.