When people think of a career in accounting, they think of the typical clerk or bookkeeper job. While most accountant jobs do involve recording and analyzing data, each has its own financial management specialties and responsibilities. Let’s take a look at some of the main types of accounting jobs.
The job of public accountant (PA) is one of the most popular types because it is the broadest. Some people call public accounting assurance services because they keep the books, conduct financial analysis, and perform account management services for various entities. Most times, a public accountant prepares taxes, audits financial records, and gives advice. The public accountant reviews financial statements and reports findings and errors should they occur. They may provide guidance on employee compensation plans and accounting computer systems.
In some cases, the public accountant may decide to become certified in the field. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is a rigorous test that nationally certifies the qualifications and skills of the accountant. Although this designation is highly respected, the accountant still needs to be licensed in the state in which he or she plans to practice. Many CPAs work in high-level, senior positions at firms, for example, chief financial officer (CFO) or chief executive officer (CEO).
In recent years, forensic accounting has gained popularity. Forensic accounting is used in the case of white-collar crimes, money laundering, embezzlement, or securities fraud. The forensic accountant uses historical financial data and works with law enforcement officials and lawyers to solve cases. In many instances, the forensic accountant is asked to testify as an expert witness in a trial.
A second type of accounting that is very popular is that of management accounting. A management accountant is usually a private accountant employed by a business or agency. Once again, he or she analyzes and records the company’s financial data to determine new product costs, oversee asset management, and evaluate performance. A management accountant uses past and current financial data to project future results. They are used to report earnings to investors and tax authorities. Government accounting is used to report those entities subject to government regulations. Accountants in this field are tasked with making sure that revenues and expenditures are carried out according to law. Most government accountants work for the federal government, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); however, some do work in the private sector. They may be involved in budgeting, asset management, or more typical accounting duties.
The fourth very popular type of accounting is internal auditing. Internal auditors could be involved in a variety of duties ranging from budgeting, information technology, and compliance to environmental auditing. Their job is to check the firm’s financial management practices to make sure they are using revenue appropriately, to protect the company from mismanagement, and to ensure efficiency and compliance.
According to Payscale.com, most people working in the accounting field are women-currently, 68 percent. Accounting tends to be a highly educated field, with most people having at least a bachelor’s degree or above. Of course, an accounting salary increases with experience and education. On average, people with bachelor’s degrees earn between $31,000 and $59,000 a year; however, a master’s in business administration (MBA) yields an annual accounting salary of more than $61,000. Top salaries are earned at Deloitte and Touche LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst and Young LLP. For instance, the salary range at Deloitte and Touche is between $37,000 and $225,000 a year.
Future prospects for accounting jobs are very good as our country moves toward more transparency and tighter monetary policy laws. Job roles that should be in demand will be that of senior accountant, staff accountant, and accounting manager.