Do you enjoy working with numbers and balancing your households’ monthly budget? If you have a keen eye for details and wish to play an integral role in the financial efficiency of a business or organization, then a career as an accountant may be ideal for you. Accountants may hold a variety of positions within large corporations and small businesses.
Types of Accountants
There are several types of accounting concentrations an aspiring accountant may focus on. Although these positions may require specialized education, such as an accounting major with a criminal justice minor for forensic accountants, the majority of accounting positions require some form of postsecondary training.
- General Accountant – General accountants are responsible for making adjustments and accruals for a company. These professionals typically review basic financial statements, then add the necessary numerical formulas and information to create a finalized statement. General accountants in large corporations may specialize in a single department such as accounts payable or payroll.
- Bookkeeper – Generally, a bookkeeper is an entry-level accounting position found in large and small businesses. The primary responsibilities of a bookkeeper is to gather financial information from sources such as checks or invoices and record their information into spreadsheets, which are then sent off to the general accountant. Bookkeepers require the least amount of formal training.
- Controller – A controller, which is also known as the Chief Accountant, is in charge of monitoring the cash flow within a business or organization. This position requires a postsecondary degree plus several years of work as a general accountant.
- Certified Public Accountant – CPAs are licensed within their state of employment to audit various financial statements and then report their findings to the government. Aspiring CPAs must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination in order to hold this job title.
Other Accounting Positions:
- Chief Financial Officer
- Forensic Accountant
- Certified Management Accountant
- Certified Internal Auditor
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants of any specialization are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting; however, due to the high competition in this field, some employers seek candidates who have a master’s degree. Aspiring bookkeepers may obtain a position by completing a two-year degree in accounting.
In order to become a Certified Public Accountant, aspiring CPAs are required to pass the licensing examination by their state’s Board of Accountancy as well as meeting educational and work experience requirements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 46 states as well as the District of Columbia require all aspiring CPAs to complete 150 semester hours before qualifying for the CPA examination.
The actual salary range for an accountant depends on job specialty, business size and geographical location. The U.S. Department of Labor states that the average annual salary for an accountant is $61,690; however, actual salaries may range from $38,940 to $106,880 per year.