Career Overview

Bachelor of Science, Accounting

“Accountants make a pretty good living, and they have a lot of job security. After all, as long as people make money, they'll need other people to handle it for them.”
— U.S. News & World Report
Career Overview: Accounting

Demand for qualified accountants and auditors has grown steadily over the past 10+ years, and a few key factors should allow this growth to continue for the foreseeable future. Experienced accounting professionals from the Baby Boom generation are retiring in significant numbers and driving demand for replacement talent. In today’s business environment, organizations are facing heightened scrutiny and increased regulations, which means they need additional accounting and auditing help to make sure they are complying with the new laws. Finally, globalization is leading to more diverse and complex international business transactions, which require more accounting resources and expertise. As a result, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited university can lead to many attractive corporate, public, and government accounting jobs—whether you’re already working as a financial professional or switching to accounting from a completely different field.

JOB LISTING GROWTH

2014-2024

142,400 new accounting and auditing jobs will open up by 2024.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Opportunities

A bachelor’s degree in accounting provides a strong foundation for a variety of stable and rewarding careers. Accountants play a crucial role in the success of large corporations, small businesses, and government agencies around the world, which translates into consistently high demand and competitive salaries. If you’re considering an accounting career, you will need a strong aptitude for mathematics and analysis, as well as a good business sense and the ability to focus on details. An accounting degree opens the door to many attractive positions, and it can also serve as an important prerequisite for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification and other advanced degrees and certifications.

Accounting Ranks High on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Jobs” List

  • Corporate Compliance Analyst #3
  • Best TEM Jobs: #5
  • The 100 Best Jobs: #24

Positions in the Field

  • Corporate Accountant
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Corporate Controller
  • Corporate Auditor
  • Corporate Tax Manager
  • Corporate Compliance Analyst
  • Corporate Financial or Budget Analyst
  • Financial Reporting Analyst
  • Public Tax Accountant
  • Public Auditor
Job Market Forecast

Job Growth

2014 to 2024

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for accountants and auditors will remain strong through 2024, with growth that outpaces other careers in the financial sector and the average for all occupations. To some extent, this growth will be linked to the overall economy. As companies grow and go public, they will need more accounting professionals to handle complex financial documentation. In addition, a trend toward stricter laws, new regulations, and tighter lending standards will drive the need for more accounting and auditing services.

Work Environment

The 1.3 million accounting and auditing professionals in the United States work for an incredibly diverse range of organizations across virtually every industry—from giant public accounting firms and multi-national corporations to government agencies and small businesses. As a result, the hours and types of work environments can vary greatly, depending on the specialty you decide to pursue and the type of firm you work for. Most accountants work in offices, although working from home may also be an option for some. Accounting and auditing work tends to be somewhat solitary, although many accountants are also active members of functional and cross-functional teams. In 2014, about one in five accountants worked more than 40 hours per week, and many accountants are expected to work extra hours during tax season or near the end of their employer’s budget year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following industries employed the largest number of accountants in 2014:

  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services: 326,720
  • Management of Companies: 90,910
  • Local and State Government: 79,680
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services: 27,590

Professional Organizations

Accounting is a popular career with a robust network of professional organizations. Explore these resources to get a better sense for the profession—and gain valuable insights into whether a bachelor’s degree in accounting is right for you.

Job Search Resources

Are you curious about the latest accounting career job openings? Check out these resources for an up-close look at some of the opportunities that are available today.

Salary Stats

Thanks to consistently high demand, accountant salaries are rising quickly—with an average increase of around 4-5% last year alone. In May 2015, the average annual accounting salary for accountants and auditors was $67,190, up from around $60,000 in 2006. Accounting positions also provide excellent opportunities for career advancement and salary growth, with opportunities to move into Financial Management positions and other executive roles.

AVERAGE SALARY OF JOBS WITH RELATED TITLES

Summary

Public, private, and government accountants provide essential auditing functions, tax services, management consulting, and other financial services for thousands of organizations around the world. An accounting career offers good salaries, excellent opportunities for advancement, and a diverse range of specialties. To pursue a successful accounting or auditing career, you should start by earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a respected, accredited institution.

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