If budgeting, strategic financial planning, and money management are your biggest interests, getting an accounting degree will elevate you towards a career in finance.
Even though most accounting degree holders choose to work as analysts and certified accountants, other related professions across various industries are also available.
The critical and analytical thinking skills obtained via an accounting program help prepare you for various career possibilities; the field is not as restrictive as people imagine.
It is not enough to say that you want to become an accountant. You can certainly earn your accounting degree and appear for the CPA exam, which is mandatory for you to practice as an accountant.
However, just like every other field, the field of accounting has fragmented into multiple specializations.
The best universities, business colleges, and accounting schools offer multiple specializations, including interdisciplinary studies such as accounting IT, actuarial science, and forensic accounting.
Having said that, here are six jobs you can get with an accounting degree:
1. Forensic Accountant
With most trading, banking, and financial transactions shifting online, the potential for embezzlement, scams, identity theft, and fraud has also increased.
That is why forensic accounting has become one of the highest in-demand specialties.
Company audits, determining the liability of non-profit or government records, fraud, and valuation are all produced by a forensic accountant.
They are the ones that determine whether a person or company is falsifying their book-keeping. Moreover, they make calculations for insurance companies to find repayment values.
Perhaps most importantly, forensic analysts are charged with providing court case evidence and compute estate tax valuations.
With such high demand in the job market, multiple universities and colleges have been adding forensic accounting degree programs.
You can find such programs at nationally recognized and regionally accredited universities for online and hybrid study models.
Even though this position does not need a post-graduate degree to enter, a CPA license is required. Furthermore, a forensic accountant must also be licensed as a Certified Fraud Examiner.
According to Payscale, a mid-career forensic accountant's median salary is around $79,000.
2. Environmental Accountant
Many have a passion for the environment, and accounting majors can combine their two passions for a career in environmental accounting.
By analyzing the ecological impact of a company's decisions, environmental accountants generate reports and provide recommendations for business, projects, and governmental decisions.
Environmental accountants can also determine the fiscal impacts of new regulations or generate cost-benefit analyses' for determining the financial feasibility of a project.
They must have strong accounting foundations; however, they also need to have a firm knowledge of environmental science, public policy, and government policy.
It is rare to see people specialize in environmental accounting, but lately, they are becoming more common.
This change is happening because of the rise of global warming; several companies are moving towards eco-friendly practices and see a need for environmental accountants.
We will surely see a further increase in demand for accounting experts who can see the bigger picture, focusing on the environment, regulations, and the ecological impact of running a business.
Although the position is increasing in demand, the concept is still relatively new to businesses. Therefore, an environmental accountant's median salary dwindles around $65,000 per year.
3. Personal Financial Advisor
When people achieve their 401k, gain returns on investment, or retire, they usually end up with a cache of savings.
To help them invest, save, and spend responsibly, they will usually enlist the help of a personal financial advisor.
These advisors help them make the right financial decisions to achieve their goals and prepare for the future. Therefore, becoming a personal financial advisor is currently a smart investment for the future.
Financial advisors help set up accounts and retirement plans, such as education funds, IRAs, and other accounts aligning with the client's goals.
Furthermore, people seek personal financial advisors to analyze their current economic situation when they go through major life changes such as child-birth or divorce.
To become a personal financial advisor, you will require an accounting degree, a CPA license, and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification.
CFP certification is not strictly required; however, having those credentials on your resume demonstrates your seriousness, capability, and trustworthiness to potential clients.
According to Payscale, the median salary for personal financial advisors is around $65,000 annually.
4. Financial Analyst
An accounting grad having an interest and some know-how of the stock market might be well on their way to become a financial analyst.
Being a financial analyst, an accountant must determine the benefits and risks of investment activities, including buying and selling investments.
The job includes examining the financial loss and gain of certain stocks, estates, mutual funds, and other types of investments.
They have to report and recommend solutions based on market trends to tell clients whether they should engage in selling or purchasing an investment holding.
Therefore, students getting their accounting degree looking to become financial analysts should consider a double major in finance and accounting.
Due to these specializations going well together, multiple business schools are combining them as well. If you have completed a bachelor's degree in accounting, you might further pursue an accounting and finance MBA.
Consequently, financial analysts are recommended to get Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Licenses for practice.
According to Payscale, a financial analyst's median salary rounds down to $66,000.
5. Cost Estimator
Becoming a cost estimator during a manufacturing or construction boom is the most relevant accounting specialization in the current economic climate.
A cost estimator is a highly technical career requiring greater specialized knowledge, bringing together business, mathematics, and accounting, along with public policy, urban planning, and engineering.
That is because a major construction project, or even reasonably small projects – such as building individual homes – could require a comprehensive analysis to determine specific costs.
Cost estimators work in manufacturing, construction, and civil engineering, with the job market expected to grow in the next decade.
To become a cost estimator, it would be best to get an accounting degree. It would help if you also had a double major in an area like public policy, construction management, engineering, or something similar.
Additionally, you may come across bachelor's accounting programs that might include specializations in similar areas. However, the most viable route would be through double majors or minors.
If you work in planning or construction, getting an accounting degree would elevate you to the level of cost-estimator, leading to broader opportunities in the field.
However, you may need to rely on accounting resources even after your degree to arm yourself for the position of a cost estimator.
According to BLS, the median salary of cost estimators is around $59,500 per year.
6. Anti-Money-Laundering Officer
According to the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, laws were enacted to determine how banks should record transactions. This act was primarily passed to track and catch money laundering schemes.
In the 21st century, that role has become even more important. Particularly after the passing of the Patriot Act, anti-money laundering officers play a critical role in preventing international terrorism linked with money laundering, including cyber-attacks.
These officers are responsible for placing procedures to track the illicit flow of money and ensure that international banking is being recorded and reported as per regulations.
With global financial business moving online, AML officers are expected to have intensive computer skills to perform data analysis and find any discrepancies.
Furthermore, AML officers may also have to coordinate with government agencies such as the Secret Service and Homeland Security; therefore, they must have public policy strength.
Executing these responsibilities requires specialized education, including a bachelor's degree in finance or forensic accounting. An anti-money laundering specialist certification will also provide a stepping stone into the job market.
According to Payscale, Financial Examiners like Anti-Money-Laundering specialists make up to $63,700 per annum.
Find your Calling With An Accounting Degree
Whether you want to become a financial accountant or financial analyst, you will require a bachelor's degree to start your career.
Earning an accounting degree will help you specialize in any area of accounting, like forensic accounting, environmental accounting, and auditing.
And if you want to prepare to apply for an accounting degree or need help studying for accounting exams, seek a private tutor to help you!
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