Careers in Accounting
If you're interested in a career in accounting, you're no doubt good at math, but what else does it take to be an accountant? Many accounting jobs require advanced degrees, but once you reach your goal you'll realized the extra classes were worth the effort!
Accounting is more than just keeping track of numbers, though numbers are the root of what every accountant does. Several disciplines have developed that service everyone from large corporations to private citizens, and while each discipline requires the same basic skills, they each require specific skills that help their clients make informed decision about their money.
Auditing is one of the key jobs in the accounting universe. It usually involves double-checking accounting ledgers and financial statements for governments and corporations. People who pursue auditing should prepare for significant travel. But the tradeoff is learning how money is made in each company. This is a typical job for accountants who are just out of college.
Budget analysis concentrates more on creating a business plan, rather than simply double-checking financial statements. Two of the most important skills for this type of job are qualitative skills and people skills, as oftentimes analysts are required to present their work to clients or bosses. Many governments and businesses employ budget analysts.
This career combines pure number crunching and analysis and requires accountants who can handle different tasks on a regular basis. Versatility is essential. In a corporate environment, financial accountants may be asked to run spreadsheets, prepare financial statements and participate in major financial decisions, such as mergers and acquisitions, benefits planning and financial projections.
Careers-in-accounting.com calls this the "bean counter" position, but it has many functions. These accountants provide services such as cost analysis, contract analysis and cost control. Cost control involves analyzing the structure of the organization to make sure money is being spent properly. Management accountants can also take part in capital budgeting and line-of-business analysis.
These accountants work primarily with the federal tax code. They are capable of working on both corporate and business statements, but their tasks go beyond simply filing their client's return. They help formulate tax strategies for their clients and their advice can help in areas like mergers and acquisitions and deferral of taxes. Many tax accountants who work with large corporations have a legal background, too.