If you’re good with numbers and interested in a well-paying, stable career path, it may be time to turn your attention to accounting. In fact, according to the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, the employment of accountants is projected to grow by four percent by 2029.
If that’s not reason enough to strongly consider this career, here’s another statistic from the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections: The median annual wage for accountants, as of May 2019, is $71,550. This is much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations, which sits at $53,490. And although the pay is certainly an influencing factor for most when choosing an accounting career path, it isn’t the only reason why it’s become so popular.
Accounting Career Paths
Unlike some career fields, in which there’s only one path to travel, there’s more than what meets the eye when it comes to accounting. Generally speaking, you’ll choose one of the following routes:
- Managerial: Managerial accountants generate documents that are used internally within a company. This can include documents such as those used for tax purposes and recurring expenses.
- Financial: Financial accountants generate documents, such as balance sheets and a variety of income statements, which are used by outside parties, such as investors.
By understanding the similarities and differences between managerial and financial accounting, it’s easier to decide which path you’re most passionate about.
With that in mind, let’s examine some of the most common types of accountants:
- Staff Accountant: For many individuals with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, this is the first job they seek. Reporting to a CPA, you’ll take on responsibilities such as creating financial reports and analyzing a variety of data. You’ll also use a variety of tools, such as a cash flow calculator, to track progress and make informed decisions.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA): From the outside looking in, it’s easy to believe that CPAs focus on nothing more than the preparation of state and federal tax returns. However, this career path goes much deeper than that. For example, companies often hire a CPA to oversee other accountants.
- Investment Accountant: Investment accountants typically work for financial management or investment management firm. With this career, you have the opportunity to help individuals and companies make better investments, such as sharing advice on how specific decisions will affect their taxes.
- Project Accountant: As the name implies, project accountants are hired to manage a specific project. Some of the tasks they may take on include preparing invoices, maintaining budgets, and managing and approving expenses. In many cases, project accountants are hired on a contract basis.
- Cost Accountant: The primary responsibility of a cost accountant is to maintain cost efficiency on behalf of an organization. However, unlike a project accountant, these individuals are generally hired on a full-time basis.
- Management Accountant: There’s no shortage of management accountant responsibilities, which often include external financial reporting, budgeting, and creating reports on the overall financial health of an organization.
While these are among the most common accounting career paths, there are others to consider as you gain experience and come to better understand what you’re most passionate about. However, no matter the type of accounting path you may choose, there are plenty of benefits as well.
Top Reasons to Become an Accountant
There’s no shortage of reasons to become an accountant, but there’s something you must remember: It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reach your goal, so you must be 100 percent confident that it’s the right career path for you.
Here are five reasons to consider this career:
- Above-average pay: As noted above, the median annual wage for accountants is more than $71,000/year.
- Job security: Every organization needs accountants, so job security is typically high.
- Career advancement opportunities: As you gain experience and knowledge, you can seek out career advancement opportunities within your company and at other employers. For example, after several years of working as a staff accountant, you may want to consider becoming a CPA.
- The opportunity to be your own boss: There may come a point when you realize that you no longer want to work for someone else. As an accountant, you can start your firm, such as helping individuals and/or companies with tax preparation.
- Puzzle-solving fun: Accounting isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but if you like working with numbers it could be the perfect career path.
Now that you better understand the reasons to pursue a career in accounting, it’s time to answer one very important question: Are you ready to head down this path?
If the answer is yes, assess your situation and decide what you need to do next. Become a trained and certified Professional Bookkeeper. Once you have the right education and training, it’s time to land your first job. With the help of our job placement assistance program, it won’t be long before you have a career that puts a smile on your face, money in your pocket, and joy in your heart.