Accountants, auditors, bookkeepers and other related professionals use accounting software to create financial statements and tax returns. The following resource may help you decide if a career in accounting or bookkeeping is right for you and includes information about education and employment.
Accounting software is generally used for a variety of day-to-day operations, including tasks associated with auditing, bookkeeping, financial documentation and tax work. Software applications may be customized for a specific company or provide general accountancy support.
Accounting and auditing clerks provide administrative support in a financial setting. You can pursue a position as an accounting clerk, which requires that you work on specific tasks, such as accounts receivable and accounts payable. If you work as a bookkeeper, you can expect to manage a group of accounting tasks, such as updating the general ledger and creating reports. As an auditing clerk, you would verify the accuracy of existing financial documents and possibly correct errors created by other staff members.
You may also purse a career as an accountant for a small local business, major corporation or government agency. Many accountants choose to open their own practice and specialize in forensic or managerial accounting, auditing or tax preparation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the need for accountants and auditors is expected to grow by an average rate nationwide between 2012 and 2022. An average increase in employment is also projected for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks through 2022. As of May 2013, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks earned a mean annual wage of $37,250. In the same month, the mean annual wage for accountants and auditors was $72,500, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).
Accounting and auditing clerks may not need more than a high school diploma to land a position. However, some employers prefer job applicants with college education; many postsecondary schools offer certificate programs in bookkeeping and associate's programs in accounting.
Most employers of accountants prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or a related field of study. In addition to basic accounting, a bachelor's program can include topics related to costs, management and financial accounting.
You could also pursue an online master's degree in accounting to further improve job prospects and your understanding of specific areas, such as taxes or auditing. When researching programs, look for those that provide training in the use of current accounting software, along with the traditional classes in business, finance and mathematics.
Although requirements can vary by state, accountants need to be certified and meet certain educational requirements. Many accountants pursue the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential, which is also required to file Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports.