Considering a career as an Accountant? Find out all you need to know to decide whether this career is right for you.
- What does an Accountant do?
- How to become an Accountant?
- What is an Accountant's Salary?
- How does the future look for an Accountant?
What does an Accountant do?
The term "accountant" is a broad distinction for a career. Accountants can perform a large variety of tasks for an organization in areas from taxation, to auditing to estate planning and much more.
A broad explanation for the function of an Accountant can be coined as follows; accounting is the act of analyzing, measuring, interpreting and conveying the activity of an oganization's finances.
However, in terms that are more important to the individual considering a career as an Accountant, an accountant's job is to understand the functions of an organization at a fundamental level. As an Accountant, you will often be charged with the responsibility of understanding the mechanics of a company better than the owner.
As one considering the occupation of an accountant, this should be good news. Through gaining the proper accounting education, you will be gaining a firm understanding of the financial foundation companies and industries are based on. With this kind of valuable knowledge at the heart of an Accountant's job, it is easy to see why many CEO's and CFO's of companies have backgrounds in accounting.
An an Accountant, you will need a variety of skills to insure the advancement of a successful career. You will need to be flexible. The needs of organizations change often and in an increasingly competitive global market, this trend is going to strengthen in the future. Budgets will change, methods of collecting and analyzing data will change continuously as markets fluctuate.
You will need to have strong communication skills in order to help those without accounting backgrounds understand an organization's financial status and to understand the reasons for any of your advice. In close proximity to communication skills is interpersonal and networking skills. If you do not know already, every successful career is forged on strong relationships.
Lastly, you will need to have excellent computer skills. Most organizations have implemented accounting software into their accounting deparments. Many have thought such accounting software would eliminate the need for accountants, however, this has not been the case. Accountants are simply needed for more complex and detailed work while also helping to explain the constant flow of new accounting software to business owners or management.
How to Become an Accountant?
Educational requirements may vary slightly depending on the company, the area you wish to work and your previous work experience.
For most accounting careers, the minimum educational requirement is the completion of a Bachelor's degree. However, there are many organizations who hire individuals with an Associate's degree in Accounting.
If you are interested in becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), then you may wish to earn an advanced degree such as an MBA with an emphasis in Accounting. You will need at least 150 hours of education as well as accounting work experience to qualify to take the Uniform CPA Examination.
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Beyond a quality education and the development of skills necessary to succeed as an Accountant, you will need to learn where to gain experience by finding career opportunities.
You will find some career opportunities on Accounting association portals such as ThePASA.org; however, you will probably have quicker results if you contact a local recruiter or begin contacting hiring firms directly. You may find accountant openings under newspaper or online classifieds (Craigslist or Monster.com).
What is an Accountant's Salary?
As an Accountant, your salary can vary significantly depending on your level of experience, your level of acquired education and size of the company you work for.
The median salary* for an Accountant is $54,600.
However, the top 10% of Accountants are pulling in an average of $94,100.
In order to boost yourself to this level of success, you will need to perform highly, develop years of experience at a respectable company, acquire all associated certifications and lastly, earn yourself an advanced degree.
Request information from some of the top online schools in the United States. Online schools are becoming more popular for the working professional and are already highly respected in the business arena.
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* Source: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2006
How does the future look for an Accountant?
With the influx of accounting software into corporations accounting procedures, it had previously been thought the demand on Accountants will slowly decline. However, the opposite has been the case. The demand on accounting expertise has been consistently on the rise in the form of consulting for smaller businesses learning to use their accounting software to larger companies needing more educated Accountants to fill managerial roles.
The U.S. Department of Labor believes between 2004 and 2014, Accountant career opportunities will increase by 22% from 1,176,200 to 1,440,100.
The future looks bright for the Accounting profession, so go ahead and get started!
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