Considering a career in accounting is a sound choice for those who are keen on accounting. It is also one of the safest professional careers in today’s industry. An accounting professional is the most significant position for every business to lodge their daily journals, profit-and-loss statements, bank reconciliations statements, income and balance sheets, and many more accounting functions.
There is no fixed career path in the accounting industry. Through various mediums, you can upskill your knowledge and interest to get hold of a rewarding profession. There are many fields in accounting for you to pursue. According to your interest and skill set, you can choose your own area of specialisation.
Are you unsure of how to start a career in accounting? We will help you draft a career path that will lead you to the perfect accounting career. This blog will explain how to choose the right accounting career path.
Accounting Career Path Planning
An essential step to craft a career path in accounting, education and proper certification is mandatory. In deciding what you want to specialise in, you must have the appropriate educational qualification.
A degree in accounting, finance, or business will help you pursue a private or public accounting career. An aspiring accountant can earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree.
Those who are interested in accounting must have a solid understanding of several industry standards. A degree in accounting would be the first step in creating a career path, and the next step would achieve certifications for your specialisation. Tips for building a career in accounting will help you build a strong career in accounting.
With the appropriate work experience and a keen interest, you can pursue accounting certifications to boost your career opportunities and salary potential. Some of the accounting certifications that can serve you well in the industry include CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant).
Accounting Career Outlook
Private and public accounting are two different paths in the accounting industry. Firms like Big Four, PWC, and KPMG look for accounting graduates with high skills and passion. These well-reputed public firms enable you to provide accounting services, such as taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, and consulting services.
Private companies have much of a consistent work schedule compared to an ever-changing work environment with dynamic learning in public firms. They hire more accounting staff with senior positions in financial analyst and payroll professionals.
Your accounting career path can begin with an entry-level job after earning your degree. On the on-set of choosing between public and private firms, evaluate them individually. Being a public accountant enables you to work with various clients, increasing your learning dynamics. Working at a private firm will teach you to function internally within a company to manage its financial transactions.
The next step into your career is a mid-level job, which will help you work your way up the corporate ladder. With the initial experience and skills, you can explore the variety of options prevailing in the accounting industry. With 2 to 8 years of experience, you can hold the job title of an accounting manager, accounting analyst, audit manager, controller, or cost accountant.
Once you have proven your skill set for nine or more years, you can avail a senior-level role in the accounting industry. With your level of expertise comes a load of responsibilities. Becoming a partner in a public accounting firm is one of the ultimate destinations for public accountants. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) role is at the top of the corporate ladder for private accountants.
Various Career Fields in Accounting
There are various fields of specialisation in the accounting industry, each having its skills and job description. Accountants also work in a range of industries, and their roles and responsibilities vary from size and type of organisation.
You will need an accounting degree to be competitive in accounting fields like auditing, business services, finance, financial control, forensic, funding, management and tax. Accounting skills are imperative in such areas, along with a CA or a CPA. Some of the well-rewarded accounting careers you can pursue with a perfect accounting career path include:
- Public Accountant
- Forensic Accountant
- Tax Accountant
- Financial Accountant
- Public Accountant
You can get the role of a public accountant with the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification, and then you will be eligible to work in a public accounting firm. As a public accountant, you will be responsible for taxes, preparing, reviewing and analysing financial reports, analysing budgets, consulting, and advising on a range of economic issues.
You will need the experience of a Senior Accountant or a Certified Public Accountant to pursue a career as a public accountant. You should also have a basic understanding of Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Some of the essential requirements of being a public accountant are analytical skills, attention to detail, integrity, and experience with accounting software.
- Forensic Accountant
As a Forensic Accountant, you will have the responsibility to examine companies’ financial reports, provide analysis for legal cases, and investigate crimes and fraud such as tax evasion, money laundering and embezzlement. These experts will also analyse financial information for court cases.
The role of a forensic accountant will require you to be highly detail-oriented as they often assist courts, and judges, attorneys and juries will scrutinise their reports. To advance in this career field, you must buy an accounting degree and professional certification such as Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).
- Tax Accountant
One of the rigorous accounting careers is Tax Accountant. The role solely focuses on tax accounting work, such as interviewing tax fillers, handling audits, financial records, and tax returns for individuals and corporations.
To fulfil the responsibility of preparing quarterly and annual taxes, you must have a sound understanding of accounting software, analytical skills, solid knowledge of accounting and the bookkeeping processes. Tax accountant experts will closely work with individuals to correctly fill tax forms and advise financial decisions.
- Financial Accountant
A Financial Accountant expert is vital to any organisation in order to provide financial information to external parties such as shareholders and investors. As a financial accountant, you will gather and monitor financial data, correcting procedures to get financial reports, forecasting costs and revenues, managing tax, and organising internal audits.
To excel in Financial Accounting, you will require an accounting degree and a professional registration as a CPA or a CA. You will work for a business organisation to prepare reports that will assess the financial performance of external individuals.
With the qualification of CA (Chartered Accountant) or CPA (Certified Practising Accountant), you can achieve the role of an Auditor. With the classification of the internal and external auditors, you will check accounting books, authenticating assets and liability, assessing financial data, and examining their financial data.
To Sum Up
A career in accounting is a fascinating path for those with a keen interest in accounting. You can pursue this career by achieving an accounting degree and then specialising in any professional certifications. Gain experience in your interested field and then climb up your career ladder.
Mohamed Shafi is a subject matter expert in Finance & Accounting with 7 years of teaching experience in Financial accounting fundamentals and software. Apart from training experience, he has industry experience of two years as a senior accountant at GCC countries. He is well versed in Tally, Sage 50, Zoho Books and SAP FICO.His passion for teaching and training engages him to attend conferences and in exploring new areas of learning.He is now an accounting trainer at Edoxi Training Institute, Dubai.