Accounting Career Information
Nearly all businesses need employees with degrees in accounting. Earning an accounting degree is one of the best ways to gain a seat at the financial table at large or small businesses, government agencies, or non-profit organizations. There are a variety of accounting careers that are available to you after you earn your degree in the field. This guide from Gwynedd Mercy University contains information on some of the accounting careers you may choose and accounting salary information, as well as as basic accountant job description.
Accounting Career Paths
A bachelor’s degree in accounting can lead all types of accounting jobs in both the public and private sectors, including positions in government accounting, internal auditing and compliance. Below are some common accounting careers that you can pursue after earning a degree in accounting. This list isn’t meant to limit you, and there are plenty more opportunities available to you after you earn your degree in accounting.
|Managerial Accountant||Managerial accountants prepare financial information for a company’s management team. They are found in both public and private companies, as well as in governmental agencies. This accounting career might include submitting financial reports to be used in decision making or forecasting, and helping prepare budgets and forecasts.|
|Certified Public Accountant||A certified public accountant, or CPA, is an accountant that earns an extra certification and completes more education. CPAs can represent a business to the IRS, can give advice about ways to attract investors or customers, and can help businesses cut and manage costs.|
|Controller||A controller is the person responsible for the financial accounts within a private organization. This person oversees all aspects of the company’s finances, including reporting, compliance, and communication with company management.|
|Tax Accountant||Tax accountants work with individuals or corporations to file taxes, handle financial records, and conduct audits. More than just helping clients file taxes, tax accountants work with clients to lower their tax obligations throughout the year.|
|Auditors||Auditors comb through a company’s financial documents to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. Auditors are independent and thus are not part of the company’s management team. However, they must work closely with an organization’s management team to gain an understanding of the organization, its operations and its financial reporting.|
How Much Do Accountants Make?
You may find yourself asking, How much do accountants make? There isn’t just one answer; an accountant’s salary depends on level of education, degrees attained and career span. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found the median accountant salary for all accountants and auditors was $67,190 in 2015. However, pay can also vary depending on the industry you work in. Here are some median salaries for accountants working in a variety of industries:
|INDUSTRY||MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY|
|Certified Public Accountant||$62,410|
What Do Accountants Do?
An accountant job description can vary depending on the company that hires you and the level of education and professional certifications you’ve earned. However, most accountants prepare financial documents, oversee records, and offer financial advice on daily business operations.
All accountants will need to be proficient in managing financial documents, understanding business principles, and working in finance-specific computer software. Of course, as an accountant, you should keep up-to-date on tax laws and best practices in the profession, since you'll likely be providing information that will be used to make management decisions. For this reason, you should also have great communication skills so you can confidently and concisely present information to managers.
Build Your Experience Before You Graduate- At GMercyU, we encourage our accounting degree students to earn real-world experience through paid internships at public accounting firms, nonprofits, industry, and government organizations. You also can participate in professional accounting associations to make connections, get advice, and map out your career. In fact, Gwynedd Mercy University accounting students are offered a student membership to PICPA (Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants), and encouraged to join the Student Chapter of the North Penn Chapter of the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants).
These opportunities to make connections and gain hands-on experience while still in school can really pay off. Accounting major Matt French is headed to PriceWaterhouseCoopers after graduation.