Careers in Accounting

Accountants examine and maintain financial records and statements for compliance to laws and regulations, compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, ensure regular tax payments, and assess financial operations to suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits. The median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $61,690 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, accountants and auditor employment is expected to grow by 16% between 2010 and 2020, the BLS notes. However, keep in mind that job opportunities and salaries may vary due to individual factors including employer, area, and occupation, so the BLS’s wage and employment prospects are not guaranteed.

Required Education for Accounting

Accountants usually require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting. Course work may include federal income tax, internal auditing, financial statement analysis, international accounting, accounting information systems, financial reporting frameworks, and preparation for a certification as a public accountant (CPA), which may be required for public accounting, industry, and government careers. It is required that every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission be a Certified Public Accountant.

They are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy, which requires the successful completion of a national exam and other state requirements, such as the completion of 150 semester hours of college course work (required in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia as of 2012, according to the BLS) – 30 hours more than the standard four-year bachelor’s degree. Most states require CPAs to take continuing professional education (CPE) course work to maintain their license. These courses, as stated by the American Institute of CPAs, should address the current and future professional plans of the CPA to provide the necessary competence in the evolving field of accountancy.

Search the Top Business Programs in 3 Easy Steps.

START HERE is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.