dcsimg
Search our Site!

Search Schools
Subject:
Program:
Degree:
Campus Type:
Zip:

How to Become an Accountant

Home >> Career Search Article Directory >> How to Become an Accountant

How to Become an Accountant What accountants do

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants or auditors handle financial records to ensure their accuracy, that the correct amount of taxes are paid when they are due, and that they comply with the pertinent laws and regulations. They will scrutinize an organization’s financial structure to make sure the firm is running as efficiently as possible and make recommendations for improvement.

In general, accountants and auditors work full-time -- in 2010, one-fifth worked more than 40 hours per week. Longer hours should be expected at certain times, such as during tax season or at the end of the fiscal year. The work of accountants and auditors is usually done in an office setting; however, some accountants work from home. Auditors may have to visit their clients’ business when performing an on-site audit (BLS, 2012).

Types of accountants

According to the BLS, the four main kinds of accountants include the following:

  •  Public accountants: Public accountants work for public accounting companies and perform accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting duties
  • Management accountants: Management accountants keep track of the money spent and made by the companies for which they work
  • Internal auditors: Internal auditors make sure that a company's accounting records are accurate and look for ways to find and eliminate fraud
  • Government accountants: Government accountants and auditors oversee the financial records of those entities subject to government regulation to ensure they are in compliance with pertinent laws
  • How to become an accountant

    Most employers require a candidate to have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field and, in some cases, employers require potential candidates to possess an advanced degree with many giving preference to those who are certified, according to the BLS.

    The BLS notes that people who want to be accountants should excel at math and have good analytical and organizational skills. They also should be able to communicate well so that they can convey their findings to others, through both written reports and verbally.

    Although steps vary, the traditional method to becoming an accountant typically includes the following steps:

    • Earn a high-school diploma
    •  Enroll and complete a program of study in accounting or related field (e.g., business administration with an accounting concentration) at a college or university
    • Apply for entry-level employment

    Certification within a specific field of accounting could potentially open the door to additional job prospects according to the BLS, as it demonstrates professionalism and specialization in a field of accounting. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). According to the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs), all CPAs are accountants but not all accountants are CPAs. In many states, anyone can call himself/herself an “accountant,”but in order to become a CPA, almost all states require that an individual meet educational, experience and ethical requirements and pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

    How to become a CPA

    • Obtain a specific amount of professional work and educational experience in public accounting (the required amount and type of experience varies according to licensing jurisdiction)
    • Register for the Uniform CPA Exam
    • Pass the Uniform CPA Exam
    • Complete any other state-licensing requirements
    • Apply for employment

    Other types of certifications include the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). For those accountants who already have their CPA, the option exists to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications (BLS, 2012).

    Additional training, qualifications, education or certifications may be required. No employment is guaranteed by following steps to become an accountant or CPA.

    Career outlook for accountants

    As demand for thorough financial documentation is expected to increase in response to recent financial crises and subsequent financial regulations, employment prospects for accounts are expected to rise. The BLS reports that national employment rates of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by up to 16 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020. The annual wage of accountants and auditors varies, depending on geographical region, years of experience and the size of the firm. In May 2011, the national annual wage was $62,850 median according to BLS salary data, with the lowest-paid 10-percent making up to $39,640 nationally and the top-paid 10-percent making up to $109,870 nationally in 2011.  

    According to the BLS, the following industries employed the most accountants and auditors in 2011: accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services; management, scientific and technical consulting services; state and local government, excluding education and hospitals; and management of companies and enterprises.

    Quick Facts: Accountants and auditors

    *All data from BLS.gov*

    2011 Median National Pay       $62,850 per year $30.22 per hour
    Entry-Level Education     Bachelor's degree
    Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
    On-the-job Training    None
    Number of Jobs, 2011         1,085,150
    Job Outlook, 2010-2020     16% nationally (About as fast as national average)
    Employment Change, 2010-20    190,700

    Sources

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, Accountants and Auditors

    American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

    Featured Schools

    Refine School Matches
    Hide filters
    • SUBJECT Clear All

      See More

    • DEGREE

      See More

    • PROGRAM TYPE

    • START TIME

      LOCATION
      Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
              Results open in new window

              Searching Searching ...

              Matching School Ads
              Accounting
              • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
              • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
              • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training.
              • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto and Redding in California, and Salem in Oregon.
              • Accredited
              • Flexible Scheduling
              • Financial Aid
              • Transferable Credits
              Master - Professional Accounting
              • 100% online format, with no fixed class times, means you can earn your degree at your pace, on your schedule, while still working full-time.
              • Monthly term starts and accelerated 8-week courses so that your ideal course schedule can fit around your other commitments.
              • The B.S. in Business Management program draws from the areas management, marketing, operations, and finance.
              • Through various case studies and discussions with your classmates and faculty, you will be able to apply the theories and best practices you are learning to real-world business situations.
              • 84% of our faculty members hold terminal degrees. In addition to their academic training, instructors have years of experience working in their field
              • Every instructor has been specially trained in the technology and teaching methods that work best in CSU-Global’s 100% online learning environment.
              • Online Courses
              • Financial Aid
              • Transferable Credits
              Business Management & Accounting (AAS)
              • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
              • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
              • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
              • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
              • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

              Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

              Show more [+]
              Master of Governmental Accounting (Online)
              • Ranked among the Best Business Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
              • Ranked the #1 Public MBA program in the NYC region in 2014 by the U.S. News and World Report.
              • Educates about 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students per academic year at two campuses in New Jersey as well as five satellite locations in New Jersey and Singapore.
              • The only public university in New Jersey in the Association of American Universities (AAU), a group comprising of North America’s 63 leading research universities.
              Show more [+]
              • Online Courses
              • Accelerated Programs
              • Financial Aid
              • Transferable Credits
              Master of Accountancy

              Since 1888, The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of five graduate degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the Top 10 Universities in the North and Top 20 Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

               

              The online, master’s degree curriculum is taught by highly credentialed faculty and reflects the same rigorous academic standards as the on-campus programs. Nearly all of The University of Scranton’s instructional faculty hold doctoral or other terminal degrees in their fields – so you can excel in yours.

              • Online Courses
              Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

              See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

              Whatever your motivation for considering an undergraduate or graduate degree, Florida Tech offers programs online that can meet your needs. Here are a few reasons Florida Tech may be the right choice for you.

              • Online Courses
              MBA - Master of Business Administration - Accounting
              • Go Higher with a career-enhancing degree from Concordia Nebraska you can earn fully online. All our online programs are designed to give you the flexibility to study around your schedule. 
              • You'll also benefit from exceptional student support and a rigorous academic experience ranked in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges 2016 Midwest Regional Universities.
              • Concordia offers a wide variety of MBA program offerings in such fields as Accounting, Business Intelligence, Human Resources, Leadership and Managing, Management, Marketing and Risk Management.
              • Concordia also offers programs in the M.Ed field specializing in Early Childhood Development, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Administration, and Special Education.
              • As an institution, Concordia University, Nebraska is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of its North Central Association.
              • Concordia University, Nebraska is an excellent academic and Christ-centered community equipping men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world.
              Show more [+]
              • Online Courses