Accountants are valued for their ability to cut through legal jargon and complex financial information to deliver a clear picture to the clients they serve. Across public and private sectors, these skilled workers earn a healthy living in a career requiring formal accountant training.
Accountant Training Overview
Working as an accountant means putting your math, finance and organizational skills to work for the benefit of individuals and groups. Aspiring accountants choose between popular specialties in the field, such as:
Public Accounting. Work for corporations or individuals. May specialize in forensic accounting
Management Accounting. Work with companies on budgeting, cost management and accounting standards
Government Accounting. Work in the public sector, auditing businesses and monitoring government funds
Technology has reinvented the job description for accountants. While the job used to require tedious bookkeeping and data management, advanced software has helped automate much of the accounting process. As a result, accountants often take on high-tech responsibilities at work. Many use advanced computer skills to help troubleshoot and correct problems with the software they use.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accountants earned mean annual wages of $ 67,430 in 2009. Those working in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services earned slightly more, at $ 73,920, and those working for local governments earned less, at $ 57,490.
Although no accountant training program can guarantee you can secure a career or salary, training in this complex field is typically required or recommended by hiring managers. Accounting degree programs give you a chance to turn your mathematics and reasoning skills into a lucrative career.
Accountant Training: Degrees and Coursework
Working as an accountant typically requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Although much of the accountant’s world is automated, workers still need to have a nuanced concept of tax laws, corporate accounting, business finance rules and more. Earning the 4-year bachelor’s degree plus a CPA license provides the technical skills you need to support your existing strengths.
Because accountants often specialize within the field, accountant training programs offer a wide range of accounting training. Courses are also designed to help you find your ideal focus in the field as you try out different concepts and get a broader understanding of the industry. A bachelor’s degree program in accounting might include the following coursework:
Accounting courses are designed to give you the broad base of knowledge you need as they give you the power to specialize your knowledge in one aspect of the field. Ultimately, accountant training programs help prepare you for the CPA license examination. In order to earn a CPA in most states, you must:
Complete 150 hours of accredited coursework
Pass the four-part Uniform CPA Examination
Have some accounting experience
Experienced accountants looking for career advancement may consider earning an MBA with a specialization in accounting. Many accountants go on to higher levels of company infrastructure, meaning that training in management and leadership principles can serve you well as an accountant. Earning a master’s degree gives you an advanced level of skill that is easily customized to your job duties and career goals.
Accountant Career Outlook
The job outlook for accountants is expected to be good in the coming years. The BLS projects that 279,400 new jobs for accountants and auditors could enter the market between 2008 and 2018 for an overall growth of 22 percent. Opportunities are expected to be best for accountants who hold CPA certification.
Within the field, career growth is varied by your interests. Skilled and experienced accountants might rise to management or supervisory positions. Some accountants go on to open and lead their own accounting firms, while others move up the ranks within companies and take on head executive positions. Regardless of your ideal career path, formal education and on-the-job accountant training are a vital part of your success as an accountant.
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