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Is Accounting a Good Career?

Jul 5, 2023

A career in accounting is a great fit for professionals looking to apply their analytical and organizational skills. If you enjoy analyzing numbers and solving financial problems, you could find a large degree of satisfaction as an accountant. And if you value job stability and growth opportunities, consider what accounting can offer. Studying accounting prepares students for a variety of lucrative and interesting business and finance careers with optimistic job outlooks.

Accountants work for private firms, government departments, and all kinds of businesses to review, assess, and record important financial information. Their duties include preparing taxes, preventing fraud, auditing companies, advising companies and clients on best financial practices, and ensuring that financial records and documents are accurate and up to date. 

To become an accountant, you’ll need to earn a degree in accounting or a similar field and then decide how much further you’d like to take your education. In this article, you’ll find all the relevant information you need to build a career in accounting.

Is Accounting a Good Major for the Future?

Accounting jobs are projected to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Accountants are always in high demand because of a constantly growing global economy. Organizations and corporations rely on accountants to accurately track financial transactions, which in turn fosters good financial health.

An accounting degree is a solid foundation for numerous career roles, including auditing, certified public accounting, business analysis, financial management, and more. College graduates ready to begin a career in accounting or an adjacent field can enjoy a relatively clear-cut career path and a higher-than-average earning potential.

Types of Accounting Degrees

There are a few types of degrees that can prepare you to work in accounting. Keep in mind that earning an advanced degree could set you apart from others and increase your chances for a higher-paying job.

 Associate Degree in Accounting

  • An associate degree in accounting usually takes a year or two to earn and includes a curriculum of basic business, economics, and finance courses. Many students transfer their credits from an associate program to a bachelor’s program and continue their education.

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

  • It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, though some online programs allow students to finish faster based on knowledge they already have. A bachelor’s program teaches foundational skills in mathematics, business, and finance that prepare students for a wide array of entry-level accounting careers.

Master’s Degree in Accounting

  • A graduate-level accounting program imparts specialized knowledge in financial management, advanced tax concepts, and advanced accounting principles. Students usually earn a master’s in accounting in about two years but can potentially finish in less time via an online program. Many people who become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) will need to complete a master’s program.

Careers with an Accounting Degree

Earning an accounting degree can open doors to more careers than you might expect. Common accounting jobs include the following:

  •  Bookkeeper. Bookkeepers create and maintain financial records that cover expenditures, receipts, and the overall financial position of an organization. They act as auditors when they review these records for accuracy.
  • Financial planner. Financial planners work one-on-one with individuals to help them manage their budget and establish goals for their financial future. Some may specialize in investment planning or risk management.
  • Forensic accountant. Forensic accounting focuses on examining and investigating an organization’s or individual’s finances. These types of accountants check for signs of fraud or other financial crimes and work to uphold good accounting ethics.
  • Tax attorney. Many accounting graduates continue on to earn a law degree and practice tax law, which involves helping individuals resolve tax disputes and representing clients in court on tax-related issues.
  • Actuary. Actuaries work primarily in the insurance industry but can also be found in other fields. They assess financial risk in an organization and develop strategies to minimize risk.
  • Tax accountant. Professionals who specialize in tax accounting help clients prepare tax returns by reviewing tax information and making sure taxes are paid on time.
  • Managerial accountant. Also known as financial managers, these accountants support business managers by interpreting and preparing financial information for them. Managerial accountants help guide financial decision-making for a business as a whole.

Accounting Skills

To succeed in any accounting career, you’ll need to acquire a number of skills, including:

  •  Sound understanding of numbers and basic math
  • Analytical mindset
  • Proficiency with accounting software like Excel
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong organization skills
  • Leadership skills

Accounting Requirements

Many—if not all—accounting roles require at least a bachelor’s degree. If you’d like to reach a management-level role or increase your earning potential, consider earning a master’s degree. Additionally, gaining work experience and getting certified as a CPA can set you apart as an expert in your field and demonstrate your level of commitment.

Salary Expectations for Accounting Graduates

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for accountants and auditors in the U.S. was $77,250 in May 2021. The lowest 10% earned less than $47,970 while the highest 10% earned over $128,970 (Note that this data does not represent starting salaries). The highest-paying sectors for accountants during this time were finance, insurance, and corporate management.

Job Outlook for Accounting Graduates

The employment of accountants in the U.S. is projected to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Around 136,400 accounting jobs are projected each year on average over the next decade.

One Step Closer to Your Accounting Career

Accountants are invaluable to the organizations and individuals they serve. They provide keen direction in sensitive financial matters and clarify complex questions related to taxes, expenses, budgeting, and more. A career in accounting is also a great place to enjoy job flexibility and opportunity for advancement.

Your accounting career all starts with an accounting degree. WGU offers an online, accredited bachelor’s program in accounting that can teach you the skills you need to earn your CPA license, prepare for a master’s degree, and enter the job market. Even more, you can access WGU accounting courses anytime day or night, with no set log-in times. There’s no better time than today to start—or continue—your path to a fulfilling accounting career.

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