Bachelor's Degree in Accounting: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in accounting. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job market information. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I do with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting?

An accounting degree can lead you to a variety of rewarding careers, such as accountant, auditor, financial analyst, tax examiner and many more. Accountants and auditors closely examine financial documents and statements to make sure that they are accurate and contain no mistakes, as errors could be a violation of federal tax laws and regulations. During tax season, they file taxes for individuals and companies and must be knowledgeable of various tax rules. They also are generally in charge of keeping track of financial documents. The following chart gives detailed information about accountants, as well as a couple of related careers, and this article examines a wider field.

Accountants and Auditors Financial Analysts Tax Examiners, Tax Collectors and Revenue Agents
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's Bachelor's
Training Required Not applicable Not applicable Upon hiring
Certification Voluntary, but common Voluntary, but recommended Not applicable
Key Responsibilities Prepare and review taxes and other financial documents, keep records, suggest ways to increase profits Help people and businesses with investments, evaluate stocks' historical performance, meet with investors Go over tax returns, audit taxpayers, keep case records
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11%* 12%* -6% (decline)*
Median Salary (2015) $67,190* $80,310* $51,430*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting?

A bachelor's degree in accounting may be either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts. If you select a B.S. program, you will choose from marketing and business courses for your electives. If you decide to earn a B.A., you may need to study a foreign language or choose general education courses for electives. Both programs require courses such as economics, business, finance, taxation, auditing and managerial accounting.

Typically, the bachelor's degree in accounting is a 4-year degree offered by many colleges and universities. A summer job in accounting or an internship may help you learn about the variety of jobs available to accountants.

After I Complete an Accounting Bachelor's Degree, What's Next?

After completing a B.A. or B.S. in Accounting, you can begin the credentialing process. Check with your state Board of Accountancy to determine if you qualify for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and state licensure. Sometimes, additional coursework is necessary after the bachelor's degree program. The CPA exam demonstrates your proficiency in accounting. Once you take and pass the CPA exam, you can apply for a license from your state. Some states require a certain amount of experience before granting you a license.

What Jobs Are There in Accounting?

CPAs have many options. Most businesses and government agencies hire accountants to perform many different jobs. If you become an auditor, you might review accounting records for accuracy. As a bookkeeper, you would track business expenditures and income. As a tax accountant, you complete required income tax documents, understand and explain tax issues to your client and file tax returns on behalf of your client.

You could go into business for yourself, providing public accounting services to individuals or small businesses. You may enter banking or finance. Financial analysts, investment bankers and loan officers often have bachelor's degrees in accounting. Sometimes, these jobs require a graduate-level degree.

If you are interested in working for the government, you may become a budget analyst or a tax examiner. A budget analyst ensures that money earmarked for specific projects is indeed spent on those projects. Government accountants work in all agencies but are concentrated in agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. Tax examiners at the IRS ensure accuracy of tax returns.

What Is the Job Market Like for Accountants?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many accounting jobs will experience average or just above average growth in the period 2014 to 2024. This includes accountants and auditors at 11% growth and loan officers at 8% growth. Financial analysts will experience faster-than-average growth at 12%, whereas budget analysts will see sa lower-than-average growth of 3%. Tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents will see a decline of 6% in the same period, and bookkeeping, auditing and accounting clerks will experience an 8% decline. If you become a CPA, you may have more job opportunities than those with just accounting degrees.

How Much Money Do Accountants Make?

BLS data shows that the median pay for accountants and auditors in the U.S. was about $67,190 in 2015. For bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, the median was lower at $37,250. In the field of finance and banking, financial analysts earned a median of $80,310 and loan officers earned $63,430. The median wage for budget analysts was $71,590 and for tax examiners, tax collectors and revenue agents, it was $51,430 (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As mentioned, a degree in accounting could also prepare you for several other jobs. You may be interested in becoming a financial analyst. As a financial analyst, you would also work with both individuals and companies and provide them with financial guidance in terms of investment decisions and managing financial portfolios. Another option is becoming a tax examiner or collector. These professionals review company and individual taxes and help determine whether they owe money to the government or merit a tax return.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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