Career Growth Opportunities for Accountants
Accountants have an important role in helping individuals and businesses prepare tax returns and financial statements, and ensuring that all tax and financial regulations are being followed. Most accountants enter the field with a bachelor's degree. After working as an accountant, many professionals will wish to pursue other career opportunities in the financial sector. A range of these opportunities is presented below.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2017)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Education and Certification|
|Certified Public Accountants||$63,393 (2018)**||10%(accountants and auditors)||Bachelor's degree, additional college coursework, and uniform CPA exam|
|Revenue Agents (Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents )||$53,130||-1%||Bachelor's degree|
|Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents||$63,780||6%||Bachelor's degree and FINRA registration|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale
Certified Public Accountants
Accountants have a great deal of experience with the basic functions of accountancy. As such, one way to move up would be to achieve certification. Certified public accountants, or CPAs, examine financial statements, organize the financial records for individuals and companies, and suggest ways to increase revenues. Compliance with tax and other financial regulations is assured by these professionals. They might be employed by public firms, government organizations or other industries. The CPA credential can be achieved by passing the uniform CPA exam and completing 150 semester hours of college coursework, which is often achieved as a 5-year bachelor's and master's degree. Experience as an accountant is also required.
Accountants must be familiar with tax codes and developing financial statements that comply with tax laws. Therefore, a career move as a revenue agent would be a logical next step. Most revenue agents work for the Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. government, but some may work for state governmental agencies. They review complicated tax returns of large businesses for accuracy. Revenue agents must maintain intimate familiarity with changes in the tax code. Revenue agents must possess a bachelor's degree in an accounting or finance-related subject, and have work-related experience.
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are often known as stockbrokers. These professionals give advice on whether clients should buy or sell a range of stocks and bonds and execute those transactions. They study the financials of companies to give advice regarding mergers and acquisitions. Stockbrokers must closely monitor market conditions and have good negotiation skills. This work is very fast-paced and must deal with a wide range of people. Most stockbrokers have at least a bachelor's degree and then receive on-the-job training from their employer. They must then pass exams to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. Many stockbrokers go on to pursue a Master of Business Administration.
Considering their knowledge of tax codes and laws, accountants may wish to pursue a career as a tax attorney. Tax attorneys prepare documents and represent their clients in regulatory and other court proceedings. They research laws, and advise their clients as to steps to take to comply with the law. They could also work for governmental agencies, writing regulations. To become an attorney, one must attend law school to earn the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, and pass the bar exam to be licensed in the state of practice.