9 Careers for Accounting Graduates
Do you love to play with numbers? Do you enjoy spotting patterns in complex data sets?
If this sounds like you, a degree in accounting might be a perfect match. Over the course of their studies, accounting majors master essential financial principles such as reporting, auditing, following tax regulations, and budgeting. They learn to make sense of complicated numerical records, identify financial trends, and communicate their ideas with clarity and conviction. By the time they graduate, most will have developed excellent skills in problem solving, time management, deductive reasoning, and active learning—valuable qualities that set them up for a bright professional future.
But contrary to popular belief, pursuing this major doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up working in accounting. Accounting graduates can find success in a wide array of careers, including positions in finance, education, business, and more.
This article will be covering the following careers:
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Sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice. Many accounting graduates go on to pursue exactly what they studied—accounting—with great success. In this stable and growing profession, accounting majors can enjoy putting their hard-earned skills into practice. Whether they're employed at a professional accounting firm, providing freelance services to small businesses, or working in-house at a large corporation, this important position is all about helping clients maintain better financial records and systems.
An accountant is one of the main players in any business that he or she works for, whether it is a large corporation or a small business.
It's a common mistake to confuse accounting and auditing, but, in practice, these professions are quite different from one another. While accountants typically work with their clients on an ongoing basis, auditors are usually hired for short-term, project-specific contracts. For example, a company might hire an auditor at the end of the fiscal year to review its financial records for accounting mistakes, notable trends, or evidence of fraud.
An auditor is someone who prepares and examines financial records.
Just like auditing, bookkeeping is a similar but distinct profession from accounting. While accountants tend to play an interpretive role within their organization—analyzing, summarizing, and reporting financial data—a bookkeeper's primary responsibility is to record the organization's financial transactions. But despite these differences, many of the same core interests come into play: an eye for detail, strong organizational skills, and a true love of numbers.
A bookkeeper is someone who produces financial records for businesses or organizations.
Although a degree in accounting isn't required to become a bank teller, it definitely doesn't hurt! In fact, a bachelor's in accounting provides candidates with virtually all of the key skills needed to excel in this role: a high level of numeracy, great attention to detail, and a thorough knowledge of basic financial principles. In addition, accounting majors tend to be talented communicators, especially when it comes to money matters—another essential skill for success in this social position.
A teller is someone who works for a bank and is responsible for accurately processing routine bank transactions at a bank.
5. Financial Analyst
Financial analysts assist clients such as banks, corporations, and other institutions make better, more sound financial decisions. To do so, they gather and analyze data, explore current and historic economic trends, and use this information to identify desirable financial strategies. They also create presentations, reports, and Excel models to share their findings with their clients. Accounting majors possess both the numerical and communication skills needed to thrive in this intellectually stimulating role.
A financial analyst is someone who manages various aspects of other people’s money.
6. Operations Manager
Operations managers help business of all sizes operate as smoothly as possible. To do so, they coordinate with departments such as human resources, finance, and IT to assess overall productivity and efficiency and implement improvement programs where needed. While operations management isn’t technically a finance position, it does involve a great deal of budgeting, planning, and reporting—all tasks which accounting majors are well-equipped to tackle.
An operations manager has a niche in companies that offer products and services, and is responsible for the aspects of operations and production within a company.
7. Computer Programmer
Another atypical choice, a career in computer programming can nevertheless be a natural fit for an accounting major. Unlike many other technology-related professions, there is no “set” degree required to become a programmer. With the right mindset, most—if not all—of the core skills needed for the job can be learned independently. Accounting students—with their strong reasoning abilities, systems analysis skills, and knack for solving complicated puzzles—are up for the challenge.
A computer programmer, or coder, is someone who writes computer software.
8. Business Analyst
As every businesses owner knows, there’s always a way things could be done better. Business analysts work with organizations of all kinds to help them achieve that goal. They use a variety of analytical techniques to assess their clients’ technical and financial systems, and suggest ways in which they could be made more efficient or productive. Requiring strong competencies in logic, finance, data analysis, and communication, this is a natural fit for an accounting graduate.
A business analyst is someone who analyzes information and investigates the goals and issues of a company.
Last, but definitely not least, some accounting students finish their degree only to realize that their true passion lies within the university walls. As professors, they’ll have the chance express their love of accounting to the fullest. Not only will they have an opportunity to conduct their own research, they’ll also help aspiring accountants find their footing in this intellectually challenging industry.