Accounting careers are more than just tabulating numbers and preparing financial statements. Accountants work for a wide range of both public and private clients and perform a number of different services, ranging from verifying the accuracy of financial documents to consulting on how a business can become more efficient.
Many accountants work either as public accountants or government accountants. These two distinctions merely designate whether you are employed by the government or by an accounting firm, or as a self-employed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Both public and government accounting careers encompass duties such as offering advice on how to economically provide benefits to employees; presenting information to shareholders, taxpayers, or other investors; and preparing records of financial transactions.
Some corporations or other private companies hire internal auditors or management accountants. These positions are held by accountants who work in-house for one organization as opposed to maintaining a variety of external clients, as one would while working for a public accounting firm. Internal auditors are responsible for a company’s financial records. They may prepare the records themselves or else verify that records prepared by someone else were done legitimately. Management accountants fulfill a consulting role. They advise their employers on how to save money on taxes and cut excess production costs. Also referred to as corporate or industrial accountants, management accountants may be completely in charge of their employers’ budgets.
An accounting career or an educational background in accounting also are great foundations for other careers. Many accountants go on to work as financial planners or loan officers. Financial planners advise their clients on what investments they need to meet their financial goals, such as paying for a child’s college education or saving for retirement. Loan officers prepare loan applications for their clients. They assess their clients’ abilities to repay loans and offer advice to their clients about how to improve their potential to have loans accepted.
Different accounting careers offer different lifestyles. If you like to travel a lot, working as an auditor for a public accounting firm will give you the chance to visit a lot of clients’ sites. Many people in accounting careers decide to become self-employed after gaining some experience in the field. A number of certified public accountants start their own firms, and many financial planners work for themselves as well. Your personal priorities will dictate which kinds of accounting careers suit you best.