What is Accounting?
An accountant is a business professional who went to a college of business to earn their accounting degree. No matter their degree level, they should be able to find a position within the accounting industry.
Accountants and CPAs are needed in almost every industry. And, while you might be able to get into the accounting field with an associate or bachelor’s degree, accountants who plan to work as certified public auditors (CPAs) have to take their certification exam before they are officially members of this select group of accountants.
Completing an accounting major does not guarantee that you will be working in an accounting position, though you should at least be able to find one closely associated with the field. Even those who earn an associate degree should be familiar with acceptable accounting principles, which can help them move into the field once they have some experience in the business world.
For students to achieve their goal of becoming accountants, they are required to have a high school diploma or an equivalent GED. They may also begin their professional education at a community college, where they are able to earn their associate degree in accounting.
Many students choose to go farther and begin their professional education by earning a bachelor’s degree. Here is where opportunities really begin to open up. In 2020, the number of accounting jobs nationwide was 1,392,200. The employment outlook between 2020 and 2030 suggests that there will be a 7% increase in jobs during that time, which is somewhat faster than is expected for all occupations on average. This change in employment means that 96,000 new accountants will be needed in this field.
Luckily, a CPA position isn’t the only one that accounting students may aspire to. Graduates may choose to work in financial accounting, forensic accounting, cost accounting, payroll, and a number of other accounting-adjacent positions. It’s hard to specify what an “accountant” will be doing in any given position because it varies so much by company, title, and more. However, these workers will find themselves working with numbers and financial data, in command of much sensitive data for their company, customers, fellow employees, and more.
No matter what position you find, you are likely need a variety of soft and hard skills that can solidify your position. These include business knowledge, current technology expertise (because they may be using advanced accounting information systems), a good grasp of mathematics, understanding of finance and tax law, and more. Accountants also need leadership skills, good communication skills, commercial awareness, technical accounting skills, analytical skills, and the basic ability to create financial statements, journal financial transactions, and reconcile account balances. With these abilities and a degree under your belt, you will find yourself opening a world of opportunity in accounting and business.