What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in Accounting?
Written by: Hilbert College • May 9, 2023
What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in Accounting? ¶
In the world of business, accurate and transparent accounting may not grab headlines, but it’s vital to any organization’s success. Sound accounting enables organizations to:
- Monitor their financial health
- Refine their strategies and enhance decision making
- Provide important information to shareholders
- Identify where to reduce costs or invest more resources
Individuals who are considering earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting likely have some curiosity about the careers they could pursue. What can you do with a bachelor’s in accounting? The answer to that question reveals a number of diverse career options.
Accounting Career Fields ¶
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides the following examples of accounting career fields.
- Public accounting. Public accounting firms provide accounting services to multiple external clients. They also offer services in auditing, tax accounting and consulting.
- Corporate accounting. When employed by corporations, accountants can work in areas such as financial reporting, tax accounting or internal audit.
- Government accounting. Working in government accounting involves performing financial reporting, management accounting and auditing responsibilities for local, state and federal agencies. It also could entail investigating white-collar crime.
- Nonprofit accounting. In addition to typical responsibilities such as maintaining a general ledger and preparing financial statements, nonprofit accountants help organizations address tax issues and prepare financial data for fundraising purposes.
What Jobs Can You Get With a Bachelor’s in Accounting Degree? ¶
What you can do with a bachelor’s degree in accounting encompasses a range of options.
Accountants perform duties such as recording financial transactions and performing financial reconciliations. Accountants also prepare important financial reports such as income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets in accordance with specific accounting principles. These reports are useful to internal audiences (such as decision makers in operations management) or external audiences (such as shareholders).
Accountants can earn a number of certifications, such as the Certified Public Accountant credential through the AICPA or the Certified Forensic Accountant designation through the American Board of Forensic Accounting.
As of May 2021, the median annual salary for accountants was $77,250, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Forensic Accountant ¶
Forensic accountants analyze financial records for indications of fraud or investigate suspicious bookkeeping activity. They can also testify in court as expert witnesses. Forensic accountants work for government and law enforcement agencies, accounting firms or financial institutions.
Forensic accountants benefit from becoming Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). They also can become Certified Fraud Examiners through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
The median annual salary for accountants such as forensic accountants was $77,250 as of May 2021, according to the BLS.
Becoming an auditor is another career option for individuals who have an accounting degree. Auditors’ duties can vary depending on whether they are internal auditors or external auditors.
- Internal auditors are employees of the organizations they audit. Internal auditors perform audits to provide assurance that internal financial controls are adequate and that organizational financial processes are efficient and effective.
- External auditors (also referred to as independent auditors) are typically employees of public accounting firms. The functions of an external auditor include conducting client audits to express an opinion on whether an organization’s financial statements are presented fairly, and evaluating the effectiveness of an organization’s financial controls.
Auditors can pursue certifications such as the Certified Internal Auditor credential from the IIA and the Certified Information Systems Auditor designation from ISACA.
The BLS reports the median annual salary for auditors was $77,250 as of May 2021.
Financial Analyst ¶
Financial analysts examine financial information to identify trends or benchmarks and develop financial forecasts. They also make recommendations in areas such as cost cutting, improving market share and strengthening the efficiency of financial processes.
Individuals who work as financial analysts can earn the Chartered Financial Analyst credential from the CFI. They also benefit from pursuing other certifications such as the Certified Management Accountant designation from the Institute of Management Accountants.
As of May 2021, financial analysts earned a median annual salary of $95,570, according to the BLS.
As they continue on their career path, the career options for individuals with an accounting degree expand. For example, the career portal Indeed reports that after a minimum of five years of experience, accounting professionals may qualify to work in the position of controller, overseeing all of an organization’s accounting and financial reporting functions. If they work for publicly traded companies, controllers also oversee the process for filing required public financial reports.
Controllers can benefit from obtaining certification as a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Management Accountant.
The median annual salary for financial managers such as controllers was $131,710 as of May 2021, according to the BLS.
Bachelor’s in Accounting Degree Skills ¶
Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting enables students to acquire an array of skills that are important in the workplace and the financial landscape. Examples of those skills are discussed below.
Technical Skills in Accounting ¶
Students who pursue accounting degrees acquire technical skills in general accounting. In addition, they learn specific types of accounting, such as forensic accounting, tax accounting and managerial accounting.
Working With Accounting Information Systems ¶
The days of hard-copy general ledgers are long gone, so it’s important for accounting students to acquire key skills in the automated systems, software and digital platforms that record transactions and generate accounting reports.
Adhering to Accounting Principles ¶
Conducting accounting in accordance with accounting principles is critical for any organization. Students in accounting programs can acquire knowledge and skills regarding compliance with the guidelines that govern accounting in general.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) consists of a common set of accounting rules, requirements and practices issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). GAAP sets out to standardize the classifications, assumptions and procedures used in accounting in industries across the U.S.
Conducting Audits ¶
No matter which career they pursue, it’s important for accounting students to understand how audits are conducted. Even if they don’t work in auditing, the financial statements accountants prepare could be audited, so it’s critical for accountants to know what audits entail.
Using Statistics and Data Analytics ¶
Statistics and data analytics have become mainstream in business. When accounting students begin working in the field, they will be preparing information on which data analysis will be conducted. They also could be called on to conduct their own data analysis to extract key insights hidden in data.
Soft Skills ¶
Bachelor’s degree programs in accounting also typically include opportunities to participate in an internship. Internships provide students a chance to acquire real-world work experience and refine their soft skills in areas such as:
- Business communications
- Problem solving
Explore What You Can Do with a Bachelor’s in Accounting Degree ¶
The career choices with a bachelor’s degree in accounting make the degree an appealing option. Whether working in public accounting, corporate accounting, nonprofit accounting or auditing, professionals with accounting expertise perform important work that enables organizations to achieve their objectives.
Individuals who have an interest in accounting would do well to explore the online Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree program at Hilbert College Global. Offering students the opportunity to learn in-demand accounting skills, the program is designed to jumpstart the journey to a rewarding career.
Embark on your path toward a career in accounting today.
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American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Become a CPA
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, CPAs in Government
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, CPAs in Non-Profit
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Positions in Business and Industry Accounting
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Positions in Public Accounting
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, How to Earn Your CFE Credential
Business News Daily, “What Are Accounting Reports?”
Corporate Finance Institute, CFA Institute Programs
Corporate Finance Institute, “What Does a Financial Analyst Do?”
Deloitte, Audit Committee Oversight Responsibilities
Indeed, “Accounting Reports: Definition, Importance and 3 Types”
Indeed, “Learn About Being a Forensic Accountant”
Indeed, “Learn About Being an Accountant”
Indeed, “What Is a Financial Controller? (Duties, Salary and FAQs)”
Institute of Internal Auditors, Certified Internal Auditor
Institute of Internal Auditors, What Is Internal Audit?
Institute of Management Accountants, What Is a CMA?
ISACA, What Is the CISA Difference?
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts