7 Best Accounting Career Paths
Accounting has come to occupy an ever more significant position in the functioning of modem industrial societies. Emerging from the management practices of the estate, the trader, and the embryonic corporation, it has developed into an influential component of modem organizational and social management.
At a broader social level, Accounting has become no less influential as it has come to function in many different and ever-changing institutional areas. The emergence of the modem state has been particularly important in this respect.
The economic calculations provided by enterprise-level accounting systems have come to be used not only as a basis for governmental taxation but also as a means of enabling the state’s more general economic management policies to grow in significance and impact.
Accounting data are now used in deriving and implementing policies for economic stabilization, price and wage control, regulating particular industrial and commercial sectors, and planning national economic resources in conditions of war and peace and prosperity and depression.
Indeed in its continuing search for greater economic and social efficiency, the state has been an active agent for the continued development of accounting systems in industrial and commercial enterprises and for their introduction into more sectors of society.
In this regard, accounting is known as the driving force of the modem economy. Accounting has gained the same professional status as the medical and legal professions during the last half-century.
Millions of people today hold accounting-related positions, and it is assumed that the demand for accountants will increase rapidly. So now, accounting can be considered a career. Accountants tend to specialize in specific fields, as do the members of other professions.
7 Accounting Career Opportunities
In public accounting, an accountant offers various accounting services to the general public in much the same way a doctor or lawyer serves clients.
These public accountants are known as
- CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) in the Western world, especially in America.
- In other parts of the world, some public accountants are known as CA (Chartered Accountants),
- CMA (Cost & Management Accountant), Income Tax Practitioners, Management Consultants, etc.
To be a public accountant, some prescribed qualifications are required, e.g., having a professional degree in accounting like a CA or ACMA.
Public accountants primarily consist of auditing financial statements, income tax work, and management advisory services (management consulting).
Auditing for Accounting Career
A major portion of accounting involves auditing. A business seeking a loan or attempting to have its securities traded on a stock exchange usually must provide financial statements to support its request.
Users of the company’s financial statements are more confident if a CA firm audits them.
So companies hire CA firms to conduct independent audits and give an expert opinion on whether the financial statements are showing an accurate and fair view or not.
Tax Services for Accounting Career
Public accountants often provide expert advice on tax planning and .preparing various tax returns.
The objective of preparing tax returns is to use legal means to minimize the taxes paid. Almost every major business decision has a tax impact. Tax planning helps clients know the tax effects of each financial decision.
Management Advisory (or Consulting) Services for Accounting Career
Providing management advisory services is perhaps, the fastest growing area in public accounting.
The advisory services extend well beyond tax planning and accounting matters. The public accountants advise management on such diverse issues as international mergers, manufacturing processes, and introducing new products.
They might also suggest improvements in the design. Installation of an accounting system, the electronic processing of accounting data, inventory control, budgeting, or financial planning.
The entry of accountants into the management consulting field reflects that financial considerations enter almost every business decision.
Private or Managerial Accounting
In contrast to public accountants, who provide accounting services for many clients, management accountants provide accounting services for a single business.
Managerial accountants develop and interpret accounting information designed specifically to meet the various needs of management.
An organization’s chief accounting officer is usually called the controller in recognition that one basic purpose of accounting data is to aid in controlling business operations.
He is a member of the top management, responsible for running the business, setting its objectives, and seeing that the objectives are achieved.
Many management accountants specialize in one particular area of accounting.
For example, some may specialize in measuring and controlling costs, others in budgeting (developing plans for future operations), and others in financial accounting and reporting.
Many management accountants become specialists in designing and installing computerized accounting systems.
As the responsibilities of managerial accountants are so broad, many areas of specialization have been developed. Among the more important are the following:
- General accounting: Recording daily transactions and preparing financial statements and related relevant, reliable, and timely information for the users.
- Cost accounting: Determining the per-unit cost of business activities and manufactured products and interpreting this cost data to make effective and efficient business decisions.
- Budgeting: A financial forecast that assists management in quantifying goals concerning revenues, costs of goods sold, and operating expenses.
- Accounting Information System: Designing both manual and computerized data processing systems to ensure the accountability of the resources used and to provide relevant, reliable, and timely information to conduct business activities properly.
- Tax accounting: Preparing tax returns and doing tax planning for the company.
- Internal auditing: Reviewing the company’s operations to see if they comply with management policies and evaluating the efficiency of operations.
- Human resource accounting: An attempt to recognize an organization’s human resources, quantify them in monetary terms, and show them in the financial statements.
- Environmental accounting / green reporting: An attempt to quantify the costs and benefits of a company’s operations concerning the environment.
- Social responsibility accounting: Reporting of the costs and benefits of social accounting issues by business-like charitable donations of equipment and time, education initiatives, product safety, community involvement, employment of disadvantaged groups, and the provisions of sports equipment or sponsorship.
Governmental & Not-for-Profit Accounting
Many accountants, including CAs, CPAs & CMAs, work in governmental and other non-profitable concerns. They have essentially the same educational background and training as public and private accounting accountants.
Governmental offices like various ministries, governmental departments, undertakings, and local bodies employ governmental accountants. Often the duties of these accountants relate to tax revenues and expenditures.
For example, the Internal Revenue Service (or National Board of Revenue in some countries) employees uses their accounting knowledge to review tax returns and invest in tax frauds. Governmental agencies use accounting information to allocate resources and control their operations.
Besides, the government performs several audits since it has to provide information to legislators, citizens, employees, and creditors.
Government auditors audit accounts of various ministries, government departments, undertakings, and local bodies.
Not-for-Profit organizations, such as churches, charities, hospitals, colleges, universities, etc., need accountants to record and account for funds received and disbursed.
Even though these agencies do not have a profit motive, they should operate efficiently and use resources effectively.
Learning cost accounting, principles of accounting, and management accounting are very important. Many accountants have chosen to pursue careers in accounting education.
The activities of these academic accountants include teaching accounting courses effectively, conducting scholarly and applied research, publishing the results, and performing service for the institution and the community.