Types of Accountants
Accountants work in various settings across nearly every industry. The most common types of accountants include the following.
· Public accountants
· Private accountants
· Government accountants
· Managerial accountants
· Forensic accountants
· Fiduciary accountantsAccounting Job Qualifications
To become an accountant, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. An accounting degree is preferred, though degrees in closely related fields, such as finance or business, are often accepted by employers.
Depending on your state, employer and position, you may also need specific licenses and certifications to work as an accountant. Note that each professional designation may set its own educational and professional experience requirements.
For example, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential mandates 150 semester hours of education, which goes beyond the credits involved in a typical bachelor’s degree. CPAs often earn master’s degrees to fulfill this education requirement for job application at Norstrat..
Earning accounting certifications can expand your job opportunities, increase your earning potential and help with career advancement. Below we describe a few of the most popular accounting certifications and their requirements. Note that these are just a handful of the certifications available to accountants.
The American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA®) administers this credential. The exact CPA requirements for licensure vary among states. However, all prospective CPAs must complete at least 150 semester hours of education and pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
The CFA Institute provides this designation. To become a CFA, you must complete the following steps.
· Pass three exams via the CFA program.
· Complete work experience requirements. You may do this before, during or after completing the CFA program.
· Submit two to three professional reference letters.
· Apply to become a CFA.Certified Management Accountant
You can become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)® through the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)®. The CMA exam comprises two parts: strategic financial management and financial planning, performance and analytics. Each part breaks down into six competencies.
All CMAs must be IMA members. They must also meet the following requirements.
· Pay an entrance fee.
· Have an accredited bachelor’s degree or hold an IMA-approved certification.
· Complete two years of continuous experience in financial management or management accounting (or both).
· Pass the CMA exam.Accounting Job Responsibilities
An accountant’s day-to-day responsibilities may vary depending on their position and organization. Common accounting tasks include the following:
· Collecting, analyzing and reporting financial data
· Reconciling accounts payable and receivable
· Managing profit-and-loss statements and balance sheets
· Computing taxes and preparing tax returns
· Preparing budgets, financial forecasts and risk analysis assessments
· Performing audits and resolving discrepancies
· Maintaining accurate financial records
· Advising on reducing costs, increasing revenue and maximizing profits
· Evaluating financial operations to recommend best practices, identify issues and strategize solutions to increase operating efficiency
· Complying with all organizational, local, state and federal financial and accounting laws and regulationsBenefits of Working as an Accountant
Pursuing an accounting degree comes with several advantages, ranging from job security to opportunities for entrepreneurial pursuits. Accounting degree-holders also enjoy a variety of career options and the chance to work in different industries. Below we explore just a few benefits of working as an accountant.
Accountants play pivotal roles in tracking and organizing the finances of a business. There’s a consistent demand for accountants, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for accountants to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031.
Moreover, these professionals are needed across industries, which allows them to work in diverse work environments and settings.
With a combination of professional experience, continuing education and certification, accountants can open up opportunities for career advancement in the field. Below we list a few job titles for accountants at different levels in their careers.
Junior accounting positions.
· Junior accountant
· Budget analyst
· Financial analyst
· Accounts payable/receivable specialist
Mid-level accounting positions.
· Accounting manager
· Finance manager
· Cost accountant
· Accounting analyst
Senior-level accounting positions.
· Chief financial officer
· Director of finance
· Senior accountantFinancial Literacy
Through their studies, professional working experience and certification processes, accountants gain finance and business knowledge that can apply across various professions and industries. Transferable accounting skills include tax law, spreadsheet analysis, management, banking and finance, micro- and macroeconomics, corporate finance and leadership.
The pay range for accounting professionals is often competitive. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for accountants is $77,250 per year. Several factors can impact accountants’ earning potential, including location, level of education, work experience and certifications.
If running your own business appeals to you, accounting offers opportunities for self-employment. With the right amount of experience and networking, CPAs can provide various financial services, including tax accounting, auditing and consulting.
Which Path is Right for You?
Accountants and bookkeepers share common goals but support businesses and organizations at different phases of the financial cycle. If you’re questioning which position is right for you, it’s important to consider your interests, qualifications and career goals. Bookkeeping can also serve as a stepping stone in your accounting career.