There is a common misconception that accountants just deal with numbers. With technological advancements and the increasing complexity of businesses, accounting is constantly evolving and can no longer be considered “one-dimensional” or “flat.”
Accountants do more than just crunch the numbers. They now play the role of business advisors, who holds the power to change the business’s financial outlook for the better.
Additionally, when you explore the field, you’ll find that there are so many career paths, each with its perks and outlooks. It’s a broad career track with many possibilities of where you can work or what you can do.
What’s more? There has never been a better time to kickstart your career in accounting than now, with excellent career growth outlooks, a higher-than-average salary and job satisfaction ratio, and growing demand for competent accountants.
Keep scrolling to learn all you need to know about pursuing a successful career in accounting.
How to become a successful accountant
Whether you have a bachelor’s in accounting or something entirely different, there is no right or wrong way to pursue this career path. Below we have outlined the general requirement to excel in an accounting role:
- Get your bachelor’s degree
The minimum requirement for an entry-level accountant role is a bachelor’s degree. Although earning a bachelor’s in accounting is highly recommended, it’s not a prerequisite set in stone.
However, if you’re intent on becoming an accountant earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting makes it a lot easier for you to pursue this career path and others related to it. A strong background in mathematics, statistics, and business is the core accountant degree requirement for most competitive programs.
- Pursue accounting certifications
Once you have your bachelor’s in hand, decide whether you want to go for certifications or not. You may feel confused about what difference getting an accounting qualification even makes. However, being an accountant is different from being someone who holds accounting certifications, whether it’s CPA, ACCA, or CIMA.
Accounting qualifications enhance your skillset, add value to your accounting career and make you more marketable to employers. Many financial institutions also offer incentives to those who pursue such qualifications.
- Choose a specialization
It’s better to pursue a specialized career path in accounting, a role specific to an industry, rather than settling on becoming an accountant. Specializing can open many new doors and make way for better career opportunities with improved job security and higher compensation. By specializing, you can work in various industries, from education and banking to consulting and law.
A significant advantage of specializing in accounting is that doing so makes you highly marketable to prospective customers and thus increases the amount of money you earn compared to your peers.
- Pursue advanced education
Accounting is a rapidly expanding field, but it still has fierce competition. Setting yourself apart from the competition is essential if you want to work at top businesses and compete for highly paid accounting roles. Both education and experience count towards a lucrative career in accounting. A master’s degree in accounting can help you stand out in the cut-throat job market, earn better, and keep up with the competition; nevertheless, it is ultimately your decision.
Five high-paying career tracks in accounting
- Forensic Accountant
Experts in forensic accounting examine financial records in search of signs of misconduct. They are commonly employed by insurance agencies, banks, and law firms.
Forensic accountants use audit procedures, accounting, and investigative abilities when evaluating financial records. In the course of their work, forensic accountants often examine books and records that pertain to judicial and police inquiries.
Accountants specializing in forensic accounting investigate misuse of funds, such as embezzlement, by analyzing a company’s financial records, and they can also provide their testimony in court.
Forensic accountants can expect to earn $71,000 on average.
- Tax Accountant
The primary responsibility of a tax account is to compile quarterly and yearly tax filings on all levels, from local to federal, for individuals and businesses. They are tasked with helping taxpayers file their returns accurately, within the bounds of the law, and for the greatest potential refund. Gathering and maintaining client documentation, searching for tax deductions, and writing out tax returns are part of their job description.
Tax accountants make an average salary of $61,946
- Financial Accountant
Financial accountants work for small, medium, and large business enterprises. They generate financial performance reports (cash flows and balance sheets) for sharing with shareholders, creditors, and taxation authorities.
Financial statement and report preparation, as well as consulting with firm management on investment policy and strategy, are their primary responsibilities. They must stay updated with the latest economic developments that may impact a company’s finances and communicate this information with essential stakeholders and everyone concerned.
Financial accountants make an average salary of $67,009.
- Managerial Accountant
Managerial accountants help organizations plan, budget, and improve fiscal performance; the work is very similar to financial accountants but focuses on company higher-ups.
Management accountants are responsible for analyzing critical financial data to improve the business budget. They advise upper-level managers on financial matters, compile financial data for analysis, and execute plans to save expenses.
They make an average salary of $57,901.
- Financial Planner
Financial planners help in all personal and professional finance areas, including budgeting, tax preparation, and asset management. Financial planning aims to help individuals and businesses make informed choices about their expenses, savings, and investments by providing a framework.
Financial planners can work for both individuals and businesses. They help customers make long-term financial and investment decisions by drawing on their expertise in tax and investment planning, stocks, policies, retirement funds, and property investments. The job includes analyzing the client’s assets, obligations, cash flow, insurance, tax situation, and financial goals.
They make an average salary of $65,539.
Without a doubt, the field of accounting offers a wealth of possibilities. You may choose to specialize, work for someone else, or establish your own business. Becoming an accountant is a challenging goal that demands hard work and research. Despite that, it offers many benefits and is a rewarding career path. Anyone from recent graduates to seasoned experts may find employment in many different sectors and capacities. An accounting job is highly lucrative, has substantial room for advancement, and is in high demand because of the nature of the work.