What are career opportunities in accounting?

April 23, 2012

Learn about job opportunities in accounting and benefits of accounting careers.

1. Accounting job statistics and benefits of accounting careers

The knowledge of accounting provides career opportunities at different levels (from entry-level to executive) in many - if not all - industries. In the United States alone, accounting services industry generates revenue of about $125 billion per year and includes approximately 100,000 firms, according to the Research and Markets report released in April 2012. These firms provide general accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, tax preparation, auditing, forensic accounting, IT-auditing, internal auditing, assurance, consulting, risk advising, personal financial planning, estate planning, and many other services.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics review released in January 2012, employment in accounting and bookkeeping industry grew 8% and the national average hourly earnings were $21.38. According to the Department of Labor, employment in the accounting industry is projected to grow 22% by 2018.

Examples of accounting and bookkeeping jobs include the following: bookkeeper, accounting clerk, staff/senior accountant, accounting manager, cost accountant, staff/senior auditor, audit manager/senior manager, audit partner/senior partner, tax staff/senior/manager/senior manager/partner/senior partner, junior/senior internal auditor, internal audit manager, treasurer, controller, vice president of finance, chief financial officer (CFO), government accountant, forensic accountant, nonprofit director, etc.

People choose an accounting career path for many reasons such as:

  • Job growth prospects: accounting industry has promising employment and salary growth prospects
  • Transferable skills: accounting professions require quantitative, technical, communication, critical thinking, and many other skills that can be applied in many industries (business, government, education, nonprofits)
  • On-the-job learning: accounting professions provide an opportunity to learn how organizations operate
  • Challenging environment: accounting professions require strong problem-solving and critical  thinking skills
  • Good lifestyle: many accounting professions provide good work-life balance and offer many perks
  • Interpersonal communication: many accounting professions require working more with people than numbers
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