What Can You Do With an Accounting Degree
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What Can You Do With an Accounting Degree?

Graduates in accounting usually have tons of questions concerning what they can do with the degree and what the future holds for them. Some of these questions may include what range of pay to expect, what jobs are available, where to work, what to expect during job interviews etc. Answering these questions will help you make proper decisions and help them plan and achieve their career goals. In this article, we will look at the various accounting degree jobs available, their salaries and outlook, and the types of accounting courses to expect – both bachelors and associate courses. 

Accounting Degree Jobs: Salaries and Outlook

Having a degree in accounting gives you many career options to choose from. An average accountant working in the USA earns an average salary of $53,642 annually. The top three highest-paid accountants in the states are:

  • Financial controller 
  • Certified management accountant 
  • Chartered account. 

They have an annual salary ranging from 60,170$ to 92,246$.

Career Outlook

Having an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in accounting provides you with a solid foundation in theory and practice, which will help prepare you for specific jobs in nearly every industry. In 2020, the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics shows that auditors, bookkeepers, account clerks made $42,410 as an annual salary. Financial managers earned an average of $134,180, actuaries made $111,030. Investment analysts, financial analysts, made an average yearly income of $83,660. The U.S.  Bureau of Labor projects over 96,000 new accounting field jobs to open by 2030. This means that the profession is expected to grow by 5% on average above other occupations throughout 2029. With your associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting, you’ll be qualified for the following listed accounting degree jobs below. 

Bookkeeper 

You can earn an hourly wage of $21.30 or a monthly salary of $42,410 in the US in this domain. Their primary role is to record financial transactions and information daily about a business. Bookkeeping provides information from which accounts are prepared. The primary duties are to complete data entry, process invoices and track debits. About 170,200 openings for bookkeeping jobs are projected each year in the United States. The benefits include work-from-home opportunities, training that takes about six months, and a flexible schedule. To qualify for this job, you need administration skills, math knowledge, communication skills, customer service skills, etc.

Staff Accountant

An accountant in this field prepares company budgets, maintains financial ledgers and reports, keeps the company’s records, and completes general bookkeeping. To qualify for this job, for the basics, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance and excellent computer skills, especially in Microsoft Excel. A staff accountant makes an average salary of $63,775 yearly in New York City. Staff accountants are in the US’s top five most demanding accounting jobs, especially in cities like New Jersey, Virginia etc. Their duties include reconciling bank statements, balancing ledgers for regular reports, ensuring compliance with IRS rules ( Internal Revenue Service).

Accounts Payable Clerks

This set of accountants receive invoices, process them and then verify the account’s payables. They’re responsible for completing payments and controlling expenses. You can become one by earning a high school diploma or equivalent. Another name for an account payable clerk is a purchase ledger clerk. One crucial role they carry out is to ensure that their organizations or business entities in which they work pay the proper amount of their bills and on time.  

Internal Auditor

An internal auditor is a person who provides risk management strategies and reviews the internal controls of a company to ensure timely and accurate financial reports. They help the company to safeguard against financial fraud. There are four types of internal audits which are operational, information technology audits, compliance, and financial audits. Internal audits can be carried out by observation, documentation review, and interviewing. The board of directors appoints internal auditors in consultations with shareholders of the organization to carry out their audit functions (they guard against fraud, screen financial reports, and serve as watchdogs over the company’s integrity and accountability).

Cost Accountant

Cost accountants determine the cost of producing specific products by overseeing and analyzing purchases and expenditures within the company. Graduates interested in this field should have excellent knowledge of presentation and analytical skills. Cost accounting helps a company to identify where money is being spent and how much is being earned and how much/where money is lost. Cost accountants are always in great demand in the government, banking, private, and finance sectors. They earn a median salary of $73,560 annually in the US.

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst provides monthly reports on the company’s financial position, cash flows, comprehensive income, and changes in equity needed by external users like banks, creditors, etc., and internal users of the company. To qualify for a job in this field, you need a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, good computer skills, especially Microsoft Excel, a perfect mastery of decision making and problem-solving skills. 

Tax Manager

A tax accountant ensures the business complies with the tax regulations of the state, local, and federal tax laws. They prepare the company’s tax returns, apply and interpret tax rules and regulations, and provide tax consultancy services. Graduates interested in this job description should have a vital mastery of state tax laws, tax accounting, tax software and have a bachelor’s degree with tax as a major. An average tax manager earns $119,555 annually in the United States of America, Alongside some expected benefits such as life insurance, parental leave, dental insurance, work from home, flexible schedule, flexible spending account, health insurance, etc. 

Non-accounting Jobs With an Accounting Degree 

Now here are some of the jobs you can get besides accountancy but with your accounting degree. We shouldn’t limit ourselves only to what we study and what we want to become. There are a billion things you can do and still find happiness. At the same time, at it because as humans, we are intelligent multitaskers, and we can do anything we put our mind to. 

Chief Financial Officer

A chief financial officer analyzes financial statements, assesses foreign business risks, approves all wire transfers above a certain amount of money stated by the company, prepares financial reports, annually creates and reviews a company’s capital plan, which aligns with the business strategies and business plans. Its qualifications include a master’s degree in finance or accounting and good communication skills. Chief financial officers have lots of benefits. Some include life insurance, stock compensations, incentive bonuses, etc. On average, they earn $393,377 annually in the US.

Real Estate Agent 

They’re otherwise known as property consultants. They help clients rent, sell or purchase properties. They help make sure clients get the best house options. They carry out various checkups to ensure everything is in good order before closing a deal. Being a real estate agent can be demanding yet fulfilling and financially rewarding. It would require you to promote yourself, track leads, handle complex paperwork, provide customer services, etc. 

Medical Biller

This is a fantastic field for you interested in the healthcare industry and loves working with others. A medical biller acts like an intermediary between a patient and an insurance company. He handles and transfers the health claims of the patient to the insurance company and ensures payment is made and received on time. Medical billers provide accurate information, and he monitors and resolves financial discrepancies. One of the benefits of becoming a medical biller is that the medical billing and coding programs take only about a year or less to complete.

Private Investigator

Statistics have shown that the demand for private investigators in the next decade will be rampant in various cities in the US. A private detective gathers evidence by looking for clues that are used in court cases. Their role is to conduct interviews with suspects in the said case, collect vital information, solve puzzles and carry out surveillance, and verify people’s backgrounds. A private investigator makes an average of $50 per hour.

Communication Specialist

The demand for communication specialists is projected to grow up to 14% from 2020 to 2030. Chief executives, sales managers, and legislators having a degree in communication are at the top list of the highest paying jobs in the US. Their central role is to represent the company in the outside world and to manage all the internal and external communication of the business. To become an expert in this field, you need to communicate with others fluently, talk boldly, be good with creative and captivating writing, and be versed with all social media platforms. 

Writer

Statistics have shown that an average annual wage of a writer was $67,120 in May 2020. A professional writer writes for a reward. He considers the opinions of his clients at all times, regardless of his specifications or style. To be a great writer, you need good communication and research skills. It would be best if you were organized and disciplined. Writing helps in controlling emotions, improves mental health, evokes mindfulness, and it encourages you to read and learn new words.

Fraud Investigator

The name says it all. A fraud investigator conducts fair, unbiased, and timely investigations of clients fraud cases against the company. Their prominent role is to investigate how much money was lost, to know the persons involved, and to examine all evidence presented adequately. To stand out in this field, you have to pay attention to the tiniest detail, be confident, trustworthy, and possess good communication skills.

Actuary

Actuaries earn an average wage of $145,180 yearly in New York City, while in Washington, D.C, they make a mean salary of $127,00 annually. Actuaries perform complex calculations to know the probability of specific outcomes related to illness, investments, accidents, etc. Critical skills for this domain include an excellent mastery of economics, mathematics and computer skills, good research abilities, etc. Their primary role is to help companies assess certain risks related to specific events. They also aid in planning and analyzing the financial costs of particular stakes in the company.

Investor Relations Manager

Investor relations managers earn a median salary of $82,600 in the United States of America. Their primary role is to communicate to investors and the company’s corporate management. To be qualified for this job, you need a bachelor’s degree in communication, economics, and accounting. Investors play a vital part in the growth and success of a company, and as such, robust and transparent relationships are made between them and the company. This is where the investor relations department comes into play. They represent the company to investors, and they provide timely and accurate financial information to investors. They build receptive capital markets.

Accounting Courses to Expect

You are at the point of no return, but I want to remind you that you’re on a good path, and before we round up, you would’ve picked up a thing or two that would be useful in getting you started and taking you all the way up in your dream career. In this section of the article, we will enlighten you on the various accounting courses to expect and what you will learn from each one of them. So brace yourselves, because this section will enable you to evaluate the benefits of studying accounting and help you make proper decisions about the career path to follow. With that said, let’s get back to business. There are two types of accounting degree courses to expect, the bachelor’s degree courses and the associate degree courses. Ever wondered what the difference between the two is? Well, we are here to tell you. So before we start, I’ll give you a hint on what an associate degree is and how it differs from a bachelor’s degree. 

Hint: An associate degree is an undergraduate degree awarded after a two or three-year post-secondary study. Associate degrees qualify a student above a high school diploma or a GED. The significant difference between an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree is that degree programs usually last longer, and they teach students in detail in their respective fields of study. On the other hand, associate degree programs stay a year or two to help students advance in their education and give them higher earning potential and better job security.

Bachelor’s Degree Courses in Accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting provides you with a solid foundation for getting started in the business world. The number of years it takes to study and get a bachelor’s degree in accounting may vary according to each university or country. Below are some courses you’ll encounter in this field.   

Financial Accounting

It deals with preparing financial statements (it summarizes, reports, and analyzes financial transactions) to be used by banks, financial institutions, creditors, etc. The primary function of financial accounting is to prepare financial reports which provide information about a company’s performance. There are four main statements prepared in financial accounting, and they include:

  • Statement of company’s financial position 
  • Statement of cash flows
  • Income statement
  • Notice of changes in equity  

Managerial Accounting

This field involves identifying, interpreting, and presenting data used by managers in decision making, strategy formulation, optimizing the usage of the company’s resources, planning and controlling various activities in the company. The information that is presented entails detailed financial statements which are timely and up to date. 

Cost Accounting

This course involves detailed systematic procedures used in measuring the cost of a product or a service that was purchased to help the company’s management in controlling costs and pricing them. The primary function of cost accounting is to provide accurate data that allows the company to price allocation and to know the cost per unit of every product manufactured by the company. There are many types of cost accounting. Some of them are standard costing (it estimates costs used in labor and materials used to produce certain goods), activity-based costing (which specializes in identifying and allocating overhead costs to activities involved in the production of goods and services). Also, there are various types of expenses, some of which include direct costs, operating costs, fixed and variable charges. All of them are essential for businesses to know and understand to control their expenses better and improve their operational efficiency.     

Government Accounting

This field is concentrated on providing the data management services of a company. It relates to the financial management of the federal or state government. This section teaches you the government’s accounting, which is the modified accrual accounting. They use this type because it focuses on current financial resources and it keeps the records of public funds. Governmental accounting is used in resource allocation, budgetary control, etc.

Fiduciary Accounting

Involves recording and reporting conservations during a specific period which a court usually initiates. The primary role of fiduciaries is to update accounting records and create fiduciary accounts (bank accounts owned by you but managed by your agent). State laws and governing instruments regulate fiduciary accounting.  

National Income Accounting

Entails giving information about the purchasing capacity of a country per year. It is used to track and predict the future growth rate and development of an economy. National income accounting provides accurate information, and the government primarily uses its statistics to modify monetary policies, interest rates, and economic policies of the economy. 

Project Accounting

This field helps companies schedule deliveries concerning specific project reports. Learning this course helps students master accounting concepts which help in analyzing financial statements, managing cash flows and revenue, and engaging in project budgeting properly. The primary purpose of this course is to learn how to track the economic benefits of a project and the specific cost needed to carry out a project.

Forensic Accounting

The primary purpose of this course is to teach students how to examine data in detail which helps to identify where missing or stolen money went and how to recover it. Forensic accountants present evidence (financial findings) during court hearings and often testify as expert witnesses. They investigate fraud, bribery, embezzlement, and money laundering activities. They do this by checking and analyzing financial transactions in detail, tracing assets, and many more strategies, thus teaching students how to gather evidence used in court during accounting malpractices.

Tax Accounting

It ensures that the company follows local and federal tax laws governing them. It aids in planning tax laws and tax consultancy services. Tax accounting helps companies in paying the right amount of tax which provides them with good credit ratings to other agencies as well as financial institutions.  

Fund Accounting

This field is used mainly by non-profit entities to track cash assigned for specific company purposes and how money is used within the organization. This course teaches students how to monitor and record assets acquired through tax payments, donations, grants, etc by outside parties.  Fund accounting provides a solid grounding in the fund administration process, financial instruments, etc. It is applied to investment accounting, securities, and portfolio accounting.      

Associate Degree Courses in Accounting 

The degree programs would entail  the following:

  • Federal tax
  • Managerial accounting 
  • Financial accounting 
  • Intermediate accounting 

Getting Your Accounting Degree Online

The internet plus the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic created a fertile atmosphere for remote and online learning  This is suitable for a full-time stay-at-home mom or a stay-at-home dad. It could be for you who’s working that nine to five job all week and now needs something new. It could be for anyone. Online studies can be very flexible, and you can enroll and learn from anywhere in the world without traveling or relocating. Below are a few online degree programs offered in accounting in the US. These programs will not only prepare you to enter the world of accounting but also set  you up for a career in the field.

Auditing: this course teaches students how to use software auditing. 

Business laws and ethics: here, you’ll learn the fundamental principles that accountants abide by to enhance their profession.

Federal taxation: involves the tax rules and laws governing the state and requires that the company follows them. 

Intermediate accounting: this course teaches students how to prepare financial statements.

Governmental accounting involves the financial management of state or regional, and federal governments.

 FAQ’s

What is the difference between Finance and Accounting?

 Accounting is the art of recording, classifying, summarizing, and interpreting monetary transactions, while finance is concerned with managing funds and resource allocation. Accounting is responsible for preparing financial statements, while finance is responsible for analyzing them.

What can I do with an accounting degree?

The various accounting degree jobs that could be yours include:

  • Financial analyst 
  • Staff accountant
  • Accounts payable clerk
  •  Internal auditor
  • Cost accountant
  • Financial analyst
  •  Accounting manager 
  • Tax manager
What can I do with an accounting degree besides accounting?
  •  Chief financial officer
  •  Financial manager
  •  Actuary
  • Personal financial advisor
  •  Auditor
  • Medical biller
  • Private investigator
  •  Fraud investigator
  • Writer
  • Real estate agent
  • Investor relations manager
Do accountants get paid well?

Yes, with the top three highest-paid careers being:

  • Financial controller 
  • Certified management accountant 
  • Chartered account

They have an annual salary ranging from 60,170$ to 92,246$. 

Conclusion

To conclude, the purpose of this article was to provide an outlook on what accounting graduates can do with their accounting degree certificates, the various accounting courses to expect when studying for a bachelor’s or an associate degree in accounting, and the salary to expect in specific careers. Current findings suggest that having good communication, analytical, and interpretation skills go a long way in achieving your goals and make you an expert in a particular field. Statistics from the BLS prove the future of accounting is bright; therefore, accounting graduates should look into the future with great expectations. And even though the journey into an accounting career won’t always be a smooth one, you should be prepared for the challenges that life can throw at you.  We hope you picked up some tidbits from this article that will help you in the long run. And if that is the case, we’re delighted to have been of help. Thank you for reading.