Accounting

What is Accounting All About?

Accounting is dedicated to examining, analyzing, and interpreting accounting records for the purpose of giving advice or preparing statements. It also includes occupations involved in devising or installing accounting systems and advising on cost-recording systems or other financial and budgetary data.

The objective of the accounting program is to enable students to understand the intricate processes of the economic system. The program is designed to prepare students for professional study in law, business management, and public administration and for graduate study in economics.

SAMPLING OF SKILLS NEEDED

  • Using insight to deal effectively with people
  • Conducting surveys and interpreting results
  • Analyzing statistical data
  • Using computers and creating spreadsheets
  • Sensitivity to behavioral dynamics

TRANSFERABLE SKILLS:

Managing, advising, organizing, problem solving, detail orientation, reasoning, analyzing, statistical analysis, ability to think conceptually, evaluating evidence, advising, and selling.

WORK SETTINGS:

As you step into the wonderful world of accounting, you have three obvious career options: (1) work for a Big Five public accounting; (2) work for a smaller national or regional public accounting firm; or (3) work for a corporation. If you go the public accounting route (options 1 and 2), you'll typically start by studying for and taking the CPA exam and then working for several years on a variety of tax or audit assignments. At that point, assuming you want to remain in accounting, you'll either leave to join a client or stay and try for the partner track. If you start in the private sector (option 3), you won't be able to get your CPA (you have to be working for a public accounting firm to do this), but you will learn in far greater depth about one business than your public accounting pals will in their short-term auditing assignments. All three options can eventually lead to lucrative and interesting responsibilities in senior management. All three will also serve as excellent preparation for a variety of business careers should you want to leave the world of debits and credits behind.

SOME TYPES OF EMPLOYERS

  • Arthur Anderson
  • Deloitte and Touche
  • Ernst and Young
  • Price Waterhouse
  • Small Accounting Firm
  • Corporations
  • Businesses
  • Government
  • Health
  • Education

SAMPLING OF JOBS

Tax Accountant - prepares federal, state, or local tax returns of individuals, business establishments, or other organizations.

Tax Auditor - audits financial records to determine tax liability: reviews information gathered from taxpayer, such as material assets, income, surpluses, liabilities, and expenditures to verify net worth or reported financial status and identify potential tax issues.

Bursar - directs and coordinates activities of workers engaged in keeping complete books of tuition fees and other receipts for educational institutions.

Controller - prepares, using computer or calculator, reports which summarize and forecast company business activity and financial position in areas of income, expenses, and earnings, based on past, present, and expected operations.

Investment Analyst - analyzes financial information to forecast business, industry, and economic conditions, for use in investment decisions: gathers and analyzes company financial statements, industry, regulatory and economic information, and financial periodicals and newspapers.

SOME OTHER RELATED OCCUPATIONS:
  • Accountant
  • Budget Accountant
  • Cost Accountant
  • Data Processing Auditor
  • Property Accountant
  • Systems Accountant
  • Auditor, County or City
  • Internal Auditor
  • Chief Bank Examiner
  • Revenue Agent
  • Auditor
  • Credit Counselor
  • Utility Accounts Director
  • Credit Analyst

SOURCES FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION

Occupational Outlook Handbook

What Color is your Parachute?

Federal Jobs for College Graduates

College, Knowledge, and Jobs


WEBSITES

Association for Management Information in Financial Services: http://www.amifs.org/

The Institute of Internal Auditors: http://www.theiia.org/

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: http://www.aicpa.org/

SALARIES

Salaries range greatly from one occupation, position, and work setting to another. According to the Summer 2008 NACE national salary survey for Bachelor's Degree Candidates in Management Science with a track in Accounting, the average salary was $48,020.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Bankers Association
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(Tel) 1-800-338-0626
http://www.aba.com/

Institute of Management Accountants
10 Paragon Drive
Montvale, NJ 07645-1759
(Tel) 1-800-638-4427
(Fax) 201-573-8438
http://www.imanet.org/