Accounting Jobs

 

Why Accounting?

Accountants and auditors held about 1.2 million jobs in 2010 – and the demand for Accounting degree graduates continues to grow. Accounting jobs are plentiful even in the current tepid economy. With the various financial scandals in recent years, the field has expanded even more.

Many people are drawn to this profession because of its salary potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for an accountant was $61,690 in 2010. The best-paid 10 percent earned roughly $106,880, while the lowest-paid made approximately $38,940, with the highest paid accountant professionals in New York City, San Jose, Calif., and Nassau, N.Y., as cited by U.S. News and World Report.

It’s no surprise that many CEOs and CFOs have an Accounting degree. An accountant learns the ins-and-outs of their business as they manage the flow of money for just about every department within an organization. Plus, with an Accounting degree, you are required to take basic business courses so you are well-versed in all areas of a non-profit or for-profit business.

Day-to-day Responsibilities

Accounting is all about tracking income and assets of a company. As an accounting professional, here are some common responsibilities you will have:

  • Preparing financial statements
  • Documenting business transactions
  • Computing costs
  • Reporting efficiency gains
  • Evaluating assets during mergers and acquisitions
  • Quality management
  • Auditing
  • Tax strategy and preparation
  • Benefits management

Work Environment

As an accounting professional, your work environment will be almost 100 percent indoors in an office setting. Work travel can be expected for those who serve in a consultant role. You can work for anyone from a government agency or Fortune 500 company, to a small, entrepreneurial start-up.

Most accountants and auditors work full time, and one in five worked more than 40 hours per week. Longer hours are typical at certain times of the year, such as at the end of a company’s fiscal year, during company planning periods, or during tax season.

Personality Fit

Not only should you be a numbers-oriented person, but the having people skills is another desired skill as an accounting professional. The graph below, produce by Careers-in-Accounting.com  shows the levels of skill an accounting professional must have, based on your Accounting specialization.


Skill
Audit Accounting Tax & Financial Management Accounting
People skills Medium Medium Medium
Sales skills Medium Medium Low
Communication skills Medium Medium High
Analytical skills High Very High High
Ability to synthesize Medium Low High
Creative ability Low Medium Medium
Initiative Medium Medium Medium
Computer skills High High Very High
Work hours 40-70/week 40-70/week 40-50/week

 

Attention to detail, analytical skills, and computer skills are cited as the most important traits used in an accounting job. This role is driven by left-brain thinking, so if you have  a natural gift for mathematics, number crunching, and finance, then this is the perfect fit for you. In terms of accounting technology skills, accounting professionals utilize programs such as Microsoft Excel, Quicken, Quickbooks, Sage Peachtree, among others.

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What To Do After Graduation?

College graduation is exciting, but it can also be very daunting as your life is filled with a bunch of unknowns. Navigate the career world and find the accounting field that best suits you. Decide whether or not to take the CPA exam or own your accounting practice. Examine the benefits of each speciality and how to find the career that’s right for you.

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Accounting Specializations

Accounting degrees are not all one in the same. Whether you choose to work with corporate firms, small businesses, or families there’s a lot of options to explore. No two accounting fields are similar and each poses unique challenges and rewards.