Accounting Specializations


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of accounting is expected to grow faster than average in the coming years. The stability of the job is due to its necessity—all companies need an accounting system—but it is also due to increased financial regulations imposed by the financial crisis of the late 2000s.

Within accounting, there are multiple specializations. If you are contemplating a career in accounting, consider focusing on a job that offers what you consider the most interesting opportunities, be it whether you would like to serve as an advisor, as a manager, or wish to work in or closely with the public sector.

Students can either choose to obtain a general Accounting degree, or you may also have the option to obtain a special Accounting certificate or specialization in accounting. Here are the most common accounting specializations:

Financial Accounting

A  financial accountant’s main duty is to create detailed financial statements for their company’s stakeholders—stockholders, banks, employees, and the like. The most important statement they create is usually a company’s annual report, but many companies also put out in quarterly or even monthly reports as well.  Financial accountants are in charge of ledgers, meaning they handle trial balances. Meeting state or federal regulatory requirements is also something a financial accountant directs.

Accounting Consultants

Accounting consultants often work for a company that offers services to other companies and organizations, giving advice on things like how to manage compensation, benefits, and operations. Accounting consultants often offer a company’s decision-makers advice on operating their business and financials so they may better maximize profit. Accounting consultants typically hold at least a bachelor’s Accounting degree.

Forensic Accounting

White-collar crimes and financial embezzling is becoming more and more common, which is why there is a workforce demand for forensic accountants. Forensic accounting is the “investigative analysis of financial accounts to examine not only how much, what, where and when but why, and to have the conclusions stand up to the highest scrutiny,” as stated by the National Association of Forensic Accountants. They examine financial statements to ensure that money within a company is accounted for. Forensic accountants hold at least an associate’s Accounting degree.

Managerial Accounting

A managerial accountant is stationed at a single company or corporation. A managerial accountant is intensely involved in budgeting, and oversees budgets across the entire company. A managerial accountant often assesses how much employees should be paid for their performance, reports the company’s revenues from products or services produced, and identifies and manages risks to the company’s financial growth and viability. A managerial accountant needs to be in close contact with a business’ leaders, so that they may in turn make financial decisions that positively affect the company and its stakeholders. Managerial accountants typically have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Cost Accounting

A cost accountant is a specific kind of managerial accountant who help set budgets and record the costs of operations for an organization. In this complex specialization, you must manage and maintain records of costs including labor, material, maintenance, rent, utilities, depreciation, among others. A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement for a job as a cost accountant, although a growing number of employers seek prospective employees with a master’s degree in Accounting.

Tax Accounting

A tax accountant performs a role that most Americans detest: they prepare tax returns for individuals and businesses. Tax accountants often have specific specialties, as tax code is usually intricate and multifaceted, and applies to different persons, companies, and situations in different ways. Not only do tax accountants help prepare tax returns, they can also help formulate plans to pay off tax debt, or can help individuals and businesses fight government auditing. Additionally, these professionals have to be kept up-to-speed of any and all changes in federal and state regulations.

Public Sector Accounting (C.P.A.)

Public sector accountants are accountants are government employees. Most often these accountants work as scrutinizers of financial records of various government agencies, or as auditors of private corporations. In-depth, meticulous knowledge of federal and state tax codes and regulations are crucial components to a public sector accountant’s success.

Accounting Clerks

Accounting clerks are some of the most necessary accountants for any company. These professionals are often in charge of payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, and office purchases. They intimately connected with the recording, organizing, and filing of a company’s or individual’s financial information.