What Accounting Options are There?
Accounting is an excellent field of study for people who are skilled in math, enjoy working with numbers and pay careful attention to the details. The job opportunities in accounting continue to expand; the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be over 200,000 new jobs (that’s in addition to the current number of accounting positions) available in the accounting field over the next decade.
Areas of Study for Accounting Degrees
There are several different choices of programs for degrees in accounting, depending on career goals. For those who are interested in a basic entry-level bookkeeping position, an associate’s accounting degree is a good choice. Perhaps a slightly more popular choice is attending an accounting school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting, which qualifies the student for a wide variety of mid-range accounting opportunities.
Graduate students who are looking to further their studies may wish to attend an accounting business school for either a master’s degree in accountancy or an MBA with a concentration in accounting. An MBA degree provides the student with a broader business education, while the master’s degree in accountancy focuses on teaching more specific accounting skills.
Many accounting students enjoy pursuing their studies through an institution that provides accounting online degrees. These programs allow students to work at a current job or to stay home with their families while studying to obtain accounting degrees online.
In general, accounting students will take classes in the following areas of study:
- Accounting policy
- Business research
- Business valuation
- Consulting services
- Cost management
- Financial accounting
- Information systems
- Managerial accounting
Prospects for Accounting Graduates
Many accounting graduates become licensed or certified through a state Board of Accountancy, earning professional designations such as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CIA (Certified Internal Auditor). These designations serve to set a minimum level of competency that all accountants must meet or exceed, and to promote the required continuing education to keep accountants current in their field.
Accountants work in a wide variety of industries in a number of different capacities, including:
- Consultants, who offer advice in business areas and design programs to safeguard assets;
- Forensic accountants, who investigate bankruptcies and other complicated financial transactions;
- Management accountants, who analyze an organization’s financial information;
- Public accountants, who perform accounting, tax, auditing and consulting activities for clients; and
- Public sector accountants, who examine and maintain the records of government agencies, in addition to auditing individuals or businesses whose activities are subject to government taxation or regulation.