A career that involves the gathering, organizing, recording, verifying and reporting of transactions, Accounting is a sought-after degree that leads to a wealth of job options. This degree develops in every student the skills necessary for financial transactions such as business funds, profits, assets, equity and liability for small agencies, big firms, and government establishments. In a decade, demand for Accounting jobs is expected to rise by about 10%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Accounting is a broad field that covers many concentrations, but you must first earn a bachelor’s degree to specialize in any. An associate’s degree, which can take as little as a year to complete, has the basic accounting subjects such as tax and finance. You can also enroll in certification programs, such as a bookkeeping certification, to qualify for entry-level work.
In the field of Accounting, an experienced Certified Public Accountant who has years of experience gets the highest job prospects. It is advised that you take a year to two of entry-level working experience before choosing an Accounting concentration. Doing this lets you focus on your sharpest skills and determine the best concentration in Accounting for a solid career foundation.
Below are the best Accounting concentrations:
A financial advisor, financial consultant, personal financial advisor’s primary duty is to provide a sound and educated opinion on managing finances. They assess the financial standing of the business and advise the management on the proper course to take toward their goals. Subjects in this Accounting concentration typically include estate planning, tax, investment and risk management.
You must have a bachelor’s degree to work as a personal financial advisor with a focus on accounting, finance, economics, business, statistics, or similar subjects. Financial advisors can earn more certificates after gaining at least three years of experience. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors recommends obtaining any of these certificates for good credential:
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
Most financial advisors work in general services while specializing in tax law or retirement. A few specializations like insurance or investment require licensing in the state of location to be an accredited financial advisor for insurance. To be an investment financial advisor, you must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Big firms often prefer financial advisors that can pursue a Master’s, which professionals can opt to enroll in without compromising work or career.
Often mixed up with Financial Accounting, Management Accounting involves cost monitoring, sales management, past/future trend prediction, internal financial directing, financial assistance, and auditing. The main difference between the two is that management accountants focus on creating reports on the company’s business decisions, while financial accountants mostly work with external sources like stockholders.
Management accountants prepare accurate and timely statistical and financial statements on sales revenue, debts, inventory, and accounts of the business they work for. Management Accounting classes are aimed at sharpening students’ computer and math skills, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills.
To become a management accountant, students must complete the required training under the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants or CIMA. CIMA training is composed of two processes: CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting and the CIMA Professional Qualification, both of which involve a series of tests. It is advised that professionals first gain work experience before pursuing an occupation in Management Accounting.
Information Management and Technology Assurance is an interesting niche in accounting, specifically in the business technology subfield. This career path is for CPAs that want to manage and protect financial data with the help of technology. Accounting students with IMTA concentration are trained in business intelligence, internal controls, risk assessment, and fraud or cybercrime activity identification.
Under the IMTA concentration, the Accounting coursework consists of data security, protection against potential threats, procedures or policies examination for information asset safety, as well as capturing unauthorized system access. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or AICPA is the primary organization responsible for training Certified Public Accountants.
Incidents of fraud have increased with the rise of online trading and banking. This is the main reason why forensic accountants are high-demand specialists today; businesses and organizations want to be safeguarded from possible embezzlement, identity theft, and scams.
Bachelor’s degree programs that tackle the essential courses for Forensic Accounting concentration are on the rise. But to be a forensic accountant, you must be a Certified Public Accountant and hold a license as a Certified Fraud Examiner. A graduate degree is not required.
A forensic accountant’s duties include forensic auditing, reviewing financial statements, identifying fund discrepancies, and preparing expert witness testimony for cases. The BLS reveals that forensic accountants in their mid-career earn $74,000 annually. Depending on your level of experience in the field and your location, you can enjoy much as a six-figure wage.
A taxation accountant does the tax record keeping for a firm or organization. Students who choose this Accounting concentration are expected to be proficient in tax laws and have in-depth knowledge in tax document preparation to ensure that the company they work for is fully compliant.
A bachelor’s degree in Accounting is a requirement to pursue Taxation Accounting as a concentration. The courses include statistics, calculus, statistics, auditing, taxation, tax law, and business law. You need to earn a Master’s Degree in Accounting and pass the CPA exam to proceed with licensing.
Becoming a taxation accountant takes longer than more concentrations, but it is financially rewarding and promises career stability. These days, tax accountants enjoy excellent benefits such as high wages and potential for career advancement.
Auditors are highly-accurate in the internal (company-hired) and external (contracted by investor or stakeholder benefit) financial auditing of a business firm, a private agency, or a non-profit organization. It is required for public traded companies to have their audits conducted by third-party financial auditors.
To be a financial auditor, you must first earn an undergraduate degree in accounting which involves coursework regarding the structure of financial reports. Acquire more accounting classes and certificates is an advantage to passing the CPA examination then earning the license to work. Most audit firms seek auditors that are a Certified Public Accountant.
If you want to become an internal auditor in the business you work for, you must earn the Certified Internal Auditor designation. Complete this requirement by passing an examination that assesses your knowledge of the Accounting structures and principles as mandated by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Memberships in associations, such as the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, help you develop your skills in the field of Accounting and lets you network with individuals in the field.
Environmental Accounting as a concentration involves the identification of resource consumption, analysis of the impact of company decisions, and a measurement of the costs of business and organizational activities that create an environmental impact.
Quite a few schools offer environmental accounting programs at the graduate level. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you’ll also need to pass the CPA examination. Acquiring more certificates enhances your job prospects and career advancements for future environmental accountants.
Environmental Accountants can become Certified Professional Environmental Auditors or CPEAs by obtaining a certificate from the Board of Environmental, Health, and Safety Auditors, which is DOE and EPA recognized.
A typical day in the profession includes making project recommendations, analyzing cost-benefits of developments, determining the fiscal effects of new regulations, and producing reports for the firm or organization. Environmental accountants are proficient in financial accounting and managerial accounting.
Sports Accountants focus on an Accounting concentration that lets them work working in an athletic setting. They do essential accounting work within an agency, a team, or an organization. This position is usually filled seasonally, but the job can be quite demanding. Being a sports accountant means you get to always work with coaches, players, athletes, trainers, and staff.
To land an entry-level position accountant for a local or national sports team, you first need a bachelor’s degree, then pass the CPA exam. However, a Master’s in Accounting with an emphasis on Sports Management gives you a more significant advantage. You can become a sports team’s tax accountant, payroll accountant, or auditor. This job involves salary and bonus analysis, tax compliance, and auditing.
Becoming a Merchandise Accountant is another option. The responsibilities include managing the stock and revenue of sports goods sold, setting products prices, and maximizing profits while reducing costs. You can also opt to become a Financial Controller or Comptroller if you have Sports Accounting work experience tucked under your belt. Accounting statistics show that the median salary of a sports accountant is $74,250 or more, depending on the location or the client.