The accounting profession is one of the most stable and well-paid jobs in any country. Despite the general belief, Accounting is not just about numbers and calculus; it involves a certain amount of creativity, business acumen... and numerous cups of coffee, but you’ll discover that along the way.
If you've always enjoyed working with numbers and loved the idea of finding financial clues and solutions, but you are also interested in the business world, then you might just be the ideal candidate for a degree in Accounting.
To figure out if this career path is for you, let's take a closer look at the popular Accounting jobs, typical responsibilities, and average salaries.
What do public accountants do?
Public accountants can work in any type of company (e.g. for profit, NGO) or public organisation. Still, the duties of an accountant vary based on the area of expertise, as there are many specialisation in this area. Here are a few examples:
This means some accountants are specialised in taxes and policies related to businesses, while others work with income tax returns and file taxes, or are involved in forensic activities (e.g. investigating financial fraud).
In general, some of the main responsibilities of an accountant include:
- Preparing and verifying financial documents (e.g. cash book records, banking records, income statements, balance sheets, etc.)
- Analysing budgets and planning finances
- Giving advice and offering financial information to clients (individuals or companies)
- Performing bookkeeping, consulting, and tax auditing
- Coming up with suggestions and problem-solving ideas to reduce costs, grow revenues and profits
- Making sure financial statements and records are in accordance with current laws and regulations
Careers with a degree in Accounting
Accounting roles are among the most in-demand jobs these days, so it won’t be too hard to find one. Prospective accountants can find job opportunities in public or private accounting firms, governmental institutions, as well as in the financial or HR departments of any company.
These are some of the most in-demand accounting jobs and their responsibilities. We've also included the averages salaries in the US based on PayScale data:
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – 67,300 USD/year
- Review financial information for public or private organisations
- Prepare financial documents: reports, tax statements, audits, etc.
- Stay up-to-date with the latest changes (and new) government regulations
Auditor – 57,100 USD/year
- Check (and double-check) the accuracy of business records and financial documents
- Prepare detailed reports revealing the accuracy and law compliance of financial statements
- Offer guidance to companies to help them improve accounting processes
Personal Financial Advisor – 63,500 USD/year
- Help clients throughout the financial self-analysis process; suggest goals and effective strategies to achieve them
- Keep track of the clients' financial plans, progress, and challenges
- Teach clients about investments, risks, assets, and liabilities
Financial Analyst – 61,200 USD/year
- Analyse investment opportunities and recommend portfolios to clients
- Evaluate financial information (past and current) and make predictions
- Stay up-to-date with the latest business, economic, and financial trends
Forensic Accountant – 68,900 USD/year
- Check if companies/organisations follow regional and national financial regulations
- Prepare forensic reports, offering in-depth details about your findings
- Use financial, auditing, and accounting knowledge to prepare for legal disputes
Should I study Accounting?
Before you start your search for the perfect Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, you need to make sure this field is suitable for you in terms of study preferences and career goals. As a future accountant, you should consider how much you like to work with numbers, Excel sheets, and formulas.
An undergraduate degree in Accounting usually covers knowledge about:
- Cost accounting
- Business statistics, administration, ethics, law, and communications
- Financial and budget
- Principles of economics
- Risk analysis
Where to study a Bachelor’s in Accounting?
Some of the best countries where you can pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting are:
Apart from these countries, you can find Bachelors in Accounting at most universities worldwide. Some we warmly recommend are:
- University of South Florida, the United States
- Southern New Hampshire University, the United States
- Middlesex University, the United Kingdom
- Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary
You can also check out online Bachelors in Accounting.
How to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
The process of becoming a certified public accountant is different from one country to another. But we'll take the United States as an example.
In the US, prospective CPAs are required to complete at least 150 hours of study to become licensed. At the end of your Bachelor’s degree, you will have only accomplished 120 hours.
Some universities provide students with the option to combine a five-year Bachelor's and Master's degree programme in Accounting, in order to attain the required number of 150 hours faster. So remember to research and find the best option for you.
A useful strategy for all students who want to become CPAs is to partake in internships offered by companies and organisations, ideally in the Finance and Accounting Departments. You will also have to pass the four exams developed by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
The AICPA exams are:
- Audit and Attestation (AUD) – which evaluates a candidate’s ability to perform audits, interpret evidence, communicate accounting data, and includes questions on ethics and professional responsibility
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – which covers topics and questions related to financial statements, specific transactions, governmental accounting and non-profit accounting
- Regulation (REG) – which tests tax ethics, business law, and federal tax procedures
- Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – where topics like corporate governance, information systems, and strategic planning are tackled.
The passing score for each exam is a minimum of 75 on a scale from 0 to 99. The exams include question types such as multiple-choice, simulation, written essays, and argumentation.
Ready to start your journey of becoming a certified accountant?
If this article filled you with excitement, then we can’t encourage you enough to go and apply for a Bachelor’s in Accounting. After a few years, don't forget to come back, thank us, and help us figure out how to manage our income and expenses.
Like always, remember to have fun and good luck in the future!