How to Become an Accountant: Salary and Career Outlook


This means you’ll need to take 30 additional hours of coursework above and beyond what’s required for your bachelor’s degree. That could mean doing a double major, taking additional college classes, or earning a master’s degree. CPAs are highly sought after by businesses and nonprofit organizations because they have extensive training in tax law, auditing procedures, management practices, and other important aspects of business financial operations. The top-employing industries for accountants include tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services; finance and insurance; and government. They make sure clients follow laws and regulations, and they provide expert counsel when tax law issues arise. An executive position, a comptroller supervises all financial operations for public organizations.


A certified public accountant, or CPA, deals with public financial documents such as tax filings. They deal with official company reports to investors, clients, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Job opportunities increase significantly for accountants who obtain a CPA license. To qualify for the CPA exam, accountants must complete 150 college credits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Accountants

Start by making a list of priorities—the items that need attention right away, and the ones that will need to be addressed within six months. Next, you’ll have to pick if you want to work with an independent accountant or an accounting firm. No matter which you opt for, you’ll want to select someone who has plenty of experience with the type of small business you have and who you feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with. Accounting is how a business organizes, records and interprets its financial information.


Each aspiring what is an accountant follows their own career path, but most qualify to start working in entry-level accounting roles after earning a four-year bachelor’s degree. Many accountants also complete master’s in accounting programs, adding about two years to the career path. An auditor is a person who exams financial records to verify their accuracy and ensure they are in compliance with tax laws, regulations, and any other applicable accounting standards. Auditors also help protect businesses from fraud and also help businesses increase operational efficiencies.

Specialized Skills

Implementing accounting automation can allow accountants to streamline their workflows and become more effective. With these emerging technologies, labor-intensive tasks like tax preparation, payroll, and audits can be automated to reduce the amount of time and resources needed to move forward. Automated accounting software, such as QuickBooks and other popular applications, are becoming increasingly influential in the industry. In fact, a recent survey found that bookkeepers and accountants spend roughly 86 percent of their time on tasks that have the potential to be automated. To succeed in this field, aspiring and current accounting professionals should stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

A Certified Internal Auditor doesn’t need to receive any license in order to practice, and neither do Certified Management Accountants. Depending on the specific accounting career, individuals might also pursue designation as a personal financial specialist, certified internal auditor, or certified management accountant (CMA). Undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting provide the basic foundation for meeting the education requirements for licensure. These programs introduce you to financial accounting, auditing, and taxation topics at both the individual and corporate levels. They also give you an opportunity to gain experience using industry-standard computer applications and software. As accountants gain experience and move into managerial roles, they may become financial controllers and run their organizations’ accounting departments.

Earn a Degree

U.S. tax laws grant CPAs and EAs a form of accountant–client privilege. Among the most important trends in the accounting field are the increasingly high standards surrounding transparency in accounting and a greater focus on data security. A common misconception is that you have to be good at math to be an accountant.

Duties can include record keeping, tax-related work, compliance, and budgeting. While responsibilities vary depending on the company, cost accountants typically prepare budgets and purchasing documents. Compliance officers make sure their companies follow the law when it comes to financial records. An entry-level role, accounting clerks conduct data entry tasks and verify calculations. They usually need some education in accounting, but they also receive on-the-job training.

Our reports also show how compensation plays a key role in the growing popularity of this industry. According to our job posting analysis, while the average median salary for accountants with a bachelor’s degree is $64,900 per year, gaining additional experience in the field will pay off in the long-run. For example, accountants with one to three years of experience can earn between $57,000 to $70,000 per year.

Former accountant gets a break in $155K Stratford embezzlement … –

Former accountant gets a break in $155K Stratford embezzlement ….

Posted: Tue, 07 Nov 2023 18:27:37 GMT [source]

These areas tend to pay higher salaries, but they also include some of the country’s largest urban centers. While city living can be exciting, population density can also mean higher costs of living, smaller apartments, and a more challenging quality of life. Accountants can increase their earning potential by pursuing higher education and industry credentials. Those considering a career in accounting might choose the field for its vast options. Accountants work in many industries and enjoy steady demand across the country.

Other features you may want to consider include whether the software has a mobile app, how good its customer service is and how well it does with accounts receivable (A/R) and financial reporting. It’s a designation that allows to work in the field of public accounting. Discover what a CPA is, what they do, and how to become a certified public accountant. According to the BLS, accountants earn a median annual salary of $73,560. Accountants can increase their earnings by earning a master’s degree and professional licensure (e.g., CPA certification).

It provides an overall view of the financial health of an organization, and includes components such as transactions, taxes, budgets and projections. You can also pursue management consulting, information technology, education, and financial planning careers. While these may not seem like typical professions for accountants, many industries rely on financial expertise.

Overall, the workplace of an accountant is typically professional and office-based, with access to computer systems and accounting software. The work environment is typically collaborative, with opportunities to work in teams and interact with clients or colleagues. However, accountants may also need to work long hours during tax season or other busy periods, and may have to work under strict deadlines to ensure that financial reporting is accurate and timely.

  • CPA licensure is the gold standard in the profession and can lead to increased earning potential, career mobility, and prestige.
  • This doesn’t mean that accountants will be replaced by machines, though.
  • As such, many professionals in the accounting field choose to become Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs, by completing the licensing process administered by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.
  • A search for “small business accountant” will net thousands of results, and attempting to wade through them all would be a challenge.

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