An accounting degree is the most flexible of all college degrees. This is due to the fact that the ability to read, understand, and analyze financial numbers is needed for nearly every real-world application. While most accounting graduates are likely to pursue a career as a staff accountant, there are numerous other career opportunities and paths they could also pursue. Popular alternative career choices include payroll analyst, financial manager, actuary and real estate assessor. This article offers a list of the best accounting careers and how to attain them.
1) Payroll Analyst
A college graduate with an accounting degree is generally skilled in analytical thinking. This automatically makes her a prime candidate for careers and jobs with an “analyst” title. Among the popular jobs for people with an accounting background is payroll analyst. Candidates for this position are tasked with establishing payroll procedures (that conform to company guidelines and labor laws), auditing payroll accounts, and preparing financial reports. Payroll analysts are typically well compensated and highly sought. Prior accounting experience is a prerequisite for the position.
2) Financial Analyst
Financial analyst is another career that is tailor-made for accounting graduates. Candidates for this position are tasked with analyzing, assessing, and forecasting financial numbers. Incidentally, most accounting people are trained to do just that making them perfect fits for a career as financial analyst. Financial analysts are generally a lot more active than the typical accountants. They get to travel a lot and are given many opportunities to expand the scope of their expertise.
Another good career for people with an accounting degree is the profession of actuary. An actuary is a person whose job is to assess, estimate, and minimize risks. This position, which requires passage of several exams, is typically one of the highest paid professions. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an actuary in 2008 was $95,980 which was $30,000 more than that of an accountant. As this is more or less a consultant job, most actuaries have their own offices and enjoy a flexible work schedule. Unfortunately, this profession is very difficult to pursue because one will have to pass several math-heavy exams to earn the necessary credentials. While an accounting degree is a good starting point, it is essential that one also takes advanced courses in mathematics to properly prepare for these exams.
4) Certified Public Accountant
Another popular choice for accounting graduates is to pursue a career as a certified public accountant (CPA). This profession is a good fit for business-minded people, since it is effectively self employment. Most CPAs offer their services directly to the public. As they are the owners of their business, they will have to take up all the risks associated with entrepreneurship. The greatest thing about this accounting career is job security. Since you are your own employer, you are immune from the ups and downs of the job market. The only downside about a CPA career is that one will have to pass a tough exam to earn the required license. Fortunately, one CPA exam is infinitely easier than the 9 different exams required for an actuary credential.