An entry level accounting position usually requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Accounting is a specialized major requiring training in standard accounting procedures, tax regulations, laws, and regulations impacting recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
Typical courses include introductory, intermediate, and advanced accounting; cost accounting; nonprofit accounting; taxation; auditing; ethics; international accounting and financial reporting; preparation of financial statements; technology to learn best practices for using computerized accounting software; and business discipline courses including business law and economics.
Students planning on earning the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation after graduation will often attend one or more preparatory courses. A bachelor’s degree in accounting allows you to pursue other certifications including Certified Management Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst, or Certified Internal Auditor. Your choice of specialization determines which electives you will take while working on your degree.
Jobs: Accountant and Auditor
There are four main areas of accounting: management accounting, public accounting, internal auditing, and government accounting. Licensed accountants also start their own businesses providing bookkeeping, accounting, financial, or investment planning services.
The specific job title will depend on the duties. For example, you may have the title of Forensic Accountant, Cost Accountant, Corporate Accountant, Financial Advisor, Tax Accountant, or Internal Auditor. Accountants maintain financial records including revenue documentation and expense receipts, make entries in accounting systems, prepare financial statements and budgets, advise management on financial matters, audit accounts and records, prepare tax statements, process payroll, and manage healthcare benefits.
Though accountants usually work in an office environment, they are increasingly working from home using computer access to office records. Auditors must visit client sites to inspect records so they are often working in the field.