Information about Accounting Professions
Accountants and auditors help to ensure that the Nation’s firms are run efficiently, its public records kept accurately, and its taxes paid properly and on time. They analyze and communicate financial information for various entities such as companies, individual clients, and government. Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupation—preparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents in order to provide information to clients—many accountants also offer budget analysis, financial and investment planning, information technology consulting, and limited legal services.
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Accounting Schools and Programs
Schools with Bachelor of Accounting Programs
Schools with Master of Accounting Programs
Accounting Job Types:
Government accountants and auditors
Education Required for Accountants
Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, or a related field. Many accountants and auditors choose to obtain certification to help advance their careers, such as becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Beginning accounting and auditing positions in the Federal Government, for example, usually require 4 years of college or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Some employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree in accounting, or with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Some universities and colleges are now offering programs to prepare students to work in growing specialty professions such as internal auditing. Many professional associations offer continuing professional education courses, conferences, and seminars. Also, many accounting internships are available as well.
As of 2009, 46 States and the District of Columbia required CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework—an additional 30 hours beyond the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. California, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont are the only States that do not require 150 semester hours for certification.
Employment Outlook for Accountants
Accountants and auditors are expected to experience much faster than average employment growth from 2008-18. Job opportunities should be favorable; accountants and auditors who have a professional certification, especially CPAs, should have the best prospects.
Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will have a very large number of new jobs arise, about 279,400 over the projections decade. An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization’s stakeholders will drive job growth.
Earnings and Salaries for Accountants
Median annual wages of wage and salary accountants and auditors were $59,430 in May 2008. The middle half of the occupation earned between $45,900 and $78,210. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $36,720, and the top 10 percent earned more than $102,380. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of accountants and auditors were as follows:
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 20010-11 Edition, Accountants and Auditors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm