With an accounting degree, you can pursue a career in auditing, cost accounting, forensic accounting, public accounting, tax accounting, private accounting, trust accounting or financial advising, among specialities. What are the different types of accountants?
Regardless of the type of accountant you choose to be, you will help businesses, individuals or the government to analyse and understand financial information. Accountants help businesses run efficiently by preparing and analysing financial documents. Auditors ensure that financial records are accurate to protect investors and employees. Financial advisers assist in investment planning and help individuals prepare for retirement. Forensic accountants investigate white-collar crimes including issues like securities fraud, embezzlement and bankruptcies.
If you choose to be an accountant for the business sector, there are still many different accounting functions you can perform. Businesses need general ledger accountants who among other things may take care of posting sales, purchases, payroll and depreciation. Businesses need cost accountants who may calculate actual production costs, standard costs or estimate new product costs for bids. Internal auditors verify inventories as well as department compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP.
Some accountants desire the prestige associated with certification in one of the 46 accounting specialities such as CPA, CMA, CFE, PFS or CFP, to name a few. Passing a series of intense examinations ensures your competence and thus increases your potential earnings as an accountant. A Certified Public Accountant title will open doors in government, non-profit and other industries who want to hire a certified professional. A Certified Management Accountant title will help those accountants interested in seeking supervisory or managerial positions in business accounting departments. Those who are interested in financial planning should consider pursuing a Personal Financial Specialist title. They become certified to buy and sell securities on the stock exchange.
Those accountants who are interested in budgeting, cost management, asset management and evaluating company performance should consider becoming management accountants. These accountants are responsible for analysing financial information, reducing costs and the accuracy of data input among other job duties.
Federal legislation restricts some of the services public accountants provide to individual clients. For example, if an accounting firm provides an audit of financial statements for a client, the firm cannot advise the same client about investment, legal matters, human resources or technology. Accountants may create financial statements for a company to be distributed to creditors, stockholders, tax authorities and regulatory agencies. Therefore, those considering an accounting career should be able to compare numbers and quickly analyse and interpret figures.