A degree in accounting prepares students for working in a variety of environments with ample opportunities for professional growth. From the role of accountant to analyst, there are a variety of ways to put the skills you learn in an accounting degree program to use in the real world.
Here are five popular career options for recent graduates with a B.S. in accounting.
Working for a public accounting firm is a career launching point for many graduates. Large firms especially offer good starting pay and benefits; however, more importantly, an entry-level position in public accounting grants you the opportunity to build your resume by working with prestigious clients. Some companies also offer employees support for continuing education and obtaining CPA credentials. Public accountants enjoy stable employment and often get to travel. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for accounts was $65,940 in 2014, and job openings are projected to grow faster than average in the next ten years.
New regulations regarding compliance standards, such as those imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act, have significantly increased the demand for auditors. Auditors ensure the accuracy of financial records and give guidance to company executives in keeping their organization compliant with the law. The median income for auditors is comparable to that of public accountants. Becoming a certified internal auditor, or CIA, can significantly boost your pay and marketability.
Working for the IRS has many benefits including plenty of room to advance and make more money. Internal Revenue agents work to educate, assist and counsel customers, businesses and CEOs and with the ultimate purpose of making sure the government collects their due tax revenues. While many agents spend their days in an office, some get to travel and conduct field audits at homes or businesses. The IRS claims that their agents enjoy a generous work-life balance as well as terrific insurance and retirement benefits. Of course, you can also take pride in being a civil servant.
Although their aim isn’t to make money, nonprofits still handle plenty of it. Nonprofit organizations include many museums, churches, clinics and public interest groups. Work in this field is especially attractive to altruistic individuals who enjoy supporting organizations that positively impact their communities. Nonprofit accountants navigate tax problems, manage internal control systems and prepare financial data to direct fundraising efforts. While usually not the most lucrative option, some people find nonprofit accounting to be extremely emotionally rewarding, and it can be a stepping stone to a future corporate position.
Companies are becoming more cautious in their lending practices, which means job opportunities for credit analysts are on the rise. Analysts evaluate the credit worthiness of businesses or individuals to help bankers and relationship managers make wise lending decisions. Prior coursework in finance would be extremely helpful in this field, and analysts can increase their earning potential by taking courses and getting certified by the National Association of Credit Analysts.
As you can see, an accounting degree can open many doors. Finding an entry-level job in accounting is easy; the true challenge is selecting a niche that will fulfill your personal and professional aspirations.
Additional Reading: Top 30 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs