If you believe in the stereotype that accountants do nothing more than number crunching, think again. There is so much more to the role of an accountant than doing math. While a strong, mathematically inclined mind will obviously be a significant boon to any accountant, the job’s responsibilities require much more. You’ll need to have excellent communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well in a team. It’s also a good idea to keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technology, as well as learn some Excel tips and tricks that can make your job easier and more efficient.
Accountants work individually, owning an accounting firm and performing accountancy services for clients, or as employees for various private, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. They perform tasks such as audits, creating financial reports, and completing taxes. Whichever employment setup they happen to be in, they will have to work with others to communicate the organization or individual’s tax liability, for example. That means accountants must have a range of soft skills to succeed, including solid communication.
If you enjoy math and are relieved to know that a job as an accountant doesn’t entail you being stuck alone in an office crunching numbers, you’ll also be glad to hear that the accountancy field is thriving and there are plenty of accounting-related roles on the market. To qualify for a majority of these roles, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, finance, or a similar subject at the very least, and many employers prefer candidates to have a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Accounting. Keep reading to learn more about ten of the fastest-growing accounting industry careers.
Auditors play a vital role in ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial reporting. They are responsible for reviewing a company’s financial statements to ensure they are accurate and comply with generally accepted accounting principles. Auditors may also investigate potential fraud or mismanagement and provide recommendations on improving financial reporting and internal controls. While some auditors work for public accounting firms, others work in-house for the companies they audit. Regardless of where they work, all auditors must have a strong understanding of accounting and auditing standards, be able to identify risk areas and communicate their findings.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes auditors with general accountants. According to the BLS, auditors have a median annual salary of $77,250 and a 6% average growth rate through 2031, or about as fast as average for all occupations.
A controller, or financial controller, is a senior-level executive responsible for a company’s financial health. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies to ensure the company meets its financial goals. Financial controllers also work closely with other senior management team members to ensure their organization’s money is being spent wisely. The financial controller may report to the chief financial officer (CFO) in larger companies. In smaller companies, the financial controller may be the CFO. The exact duties of a financial controller vary depending on the size and type of company. However, all controllers are responsible for ensuring their organization’s financial stability.
The BLS combines controllers with financial managers and reports a median annual salary of $131,710 with a 17% average growth rate through 2031, much faster than average for all occupations.
3. Certified Public Accountant
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a designation given to accounting professionals who have met specific education and experience requirements and have passed a Uniform CPA Examination. CPAs are regulated by state boards of accountancy and are bound by a code of professional ethics. They provide a wide range of services for public accounting firms, corporations, or government agencies, including auditing, tax preparation, and financial consulting. Some CPAs also work as freelance consultants. To become a CPA, candidates must complete a certain amount of college-level coursework in accounting and related subjects. They must also pass the CPA Exam, administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Once they have met these requirements, they can apply for licensure from their state board of accountancy. Licensure allows CPAs to practice public accounting within their state. Each state has different requirements for licensure, so it is important to check with your state board for specific details. CPAs are the only accounting professional who may represent their client in court before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The BLS categorizes certified public accountants with general accountants. According to the BLS, accountants have a median annual salary of $77,250 and a 6% average growth rate through 2031, or about as fast as average for all occupations.
4. Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant specializes in examining financial records to look for evidence of criminal activity. They use their accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to detect and prevent financial crimes, including everything from embezzlement and money laundering to fraud and tax evasion. They may work for law enforcement agencies, private investigation firms, or accounting firms. Many forensic accountants have experience working in public accounting or as auditors. This experience helps them to understand financial statements and identify irregularities that may indicate fraud. To be effective, forensic accountants must have a strong understanding of both accounting and the law. They must be able to spot irregularities in financial records and then use this information to build a case against the person or persons responsible. Forensic accountants play an important role in bringing criminals to justice, and their skills are in high demand by both law enforcement agencies and private companies.
The BLS categorizes forensic accountants with general accountants. According to the BLS, accountants have a median annual salary of $77,250 and a 6% average growth rate through 2031, or about as fast as the average for all occupations.
5. Financial Analyst
A financial analyst is a professional who performs work concerned with forecasting financial performance and managing financial risks. Financial analysts are employed in various industries, including banking, insurance, accounting, and investment. They typically have a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, or finance, and many also hold certification, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. The job of a financial analyst can be divided into two main categories: sell-side and buy-side. Sell-side analysts work for banks and other institutions that trade securities, while buy-side analysts work for institutional investors, such as insurance companies, pension funds, and mutual funds. Financial analysts use their skills to analyze financial data and recommend to their clients or employers how to best manage their finances. Financial analysis can be used to make investment decisions, assess a company’s performance, or predict future economic trends.
According to the BLS, financial analysts have a median annual salary of $95,570 and a projected 9% average growth rate through 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
6. Financial Manager
A financial manager is a professional who oversees the financial affairs of an organization, and as such, they must be an expert in financial planning, analysis, and decision-making. The role of a financial manager can vary depending on the size and type of organization but typically includes creating budgets, analyzing variances, and forecasting future needs. In small organizations, the financial manager may perform all of the duties related to financial management. In larger organizations, there may be multiple financial managers, each responsible for a specific area, such as budgeting, investments, or risk management. Financial managers must be able to effectively communicate their recommendations to both senior management and front-line employees. They also need to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are essential, as is the ability to think creatively. Financial managers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting, and many also hold advanced degrees. Certifications such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) are becoming increasingly common.
According to the BLS, financial managers have a median annual salary of $131,710 and a projected 17% average growth rate through 2031, which is much faster than average for all occupations.
7. Management Consultant
A management consultant is a professional who advises organizations to help them improve their performance. Management consultants work with organizations to identify problems and opportunities and develop and implement solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness. To be successful, management consultants must have a deep understanding of business operations and be able to think strategically. They must also be excellent communicators, as they often need to present their findings and recommendations to senior executives. While the role of a management consultant can vary depending on the organization, most management consultants provide advice on strategy, marketing, finance, and operations.
The BLS combines management consultants and management analysts. According to the BLS, management consultants have a median annual salary of $93,000 and a 6% average growth rate through 2031, or about as fast as the average for all occupations.
8. Tax Manager
A tax manager is a professional who helps businesses and individuals comply with tax regulations. Tax managers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, from ensuring that financial records are accurate to preparing tax returns. In many cases, tax managers also provide consulting services and offer advice on how to minimize tax liability. Because of tax law’s complex and ever-changing nature, tax managers must be highly knowledgeable and up-to-date on the latest developments. At the same time, they must also be able to communicate effectively with clients and other members of the financial team. As a result, tax managers play a vital role in ensuring that businesses and individuals meet their tax obligations.
The BLS combines tax managers and financial managers. According to the BLS, tax managers have a median annual salary of $131,710 and a 17% average growth rate through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
9. Budget Analyst
Budget analysts play an essential role in helping organizations to stay financially prudent and to make the most of their resources. A budget analyst reviews an organization’s financial documents and recommends how the organization can save money and improve its financial health. Budget analysts typically have a background in accounting or finance, and they use this knowledge to examine an organization’s spending patterns and make recommendations for where cuts can be made. In many cases, budget analysts also work with organizations to develop long-term financial plans. This may involve projecting future income and expenses and making recommendations for how the organization can best allocate its resources.
According to the BLS, budget analysts have a median annual salary of $79,940 and a projected 3% average growth rate through 2031, slightly slower than average for all occupations.
10. Internal Auditor
Internal auditors ensure an organization is operating effectively and efficiently. They evaluate internal controls, financial reporting, and risk management processes. Internal auditors may also advise on improving operations and compliance with laws and regulations. Internal auditors typically report to the board of directors or audit committee and may also be involved in training staff on financial and risk management topics. While the specific duties of an internal auditor vary depending on the organization, all internal auditors play a critical role in promoting good governance and preventing fraud.
The BLS categorizes internal auditors with general auditors and accountants. According to the BLS, internal auditors have a median annual salary of $77,250 and a 6% average growth rate through 2031, or about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Johnson & Wales University offers a Master of Business in Accounting that can set you on the path toward an accounting industry career and set you up for professional success. Delivered 100 percent online, this program is ideal for busy professionals interested in advancing their careers while holding down a job. For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].