What Can I Do with a PhD in Accounting?

There are many different career options for individuals that hold a PhD in Accounting. Learn more below about the different career paths and requirements for someone with these qualifications. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


Someone holding a Ph.D. in Accounting can enter many different fields, including teaching accounting at colleges and universities, forensic accounting, accounting malpractice, securities fraud and more.

Important Facts about this Career

Postsecondary Business TeachersAccountants and Auditors
Median Pay (2018)$83,960$70,500
Job Outlook18% growth in employment 2016-2026 (much faster than average)10% growth (faster than average)
Work EnvironmentWork closely with students; flexible schedule; typically do not work in summer; must find time to conduct their own researchWork can be stressful and fast-paced; may be required to work in teams
Similar OccupationsCareer and Technical Education Teachers, Economists, Postsecondary Education AdministratorsAccounting Clerks, Financial Analysts, Tax Collectors and Revenue Agents

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Postsecondary Teaching

According to the University of Scranton, the accounting field lacks enough faculty members to meet the rising student demand. Determining factors are pay, workload, tenure eligibility and full-time versus part-time faculty as well as increased demand and quality accreditation standards. This has opened the door for accountants who hold a Ph.D. in Accounting to teach new students.

Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting is the presentation of information that has been gathered through scientific analysis for legal review. Forensic accountants examine and pass professional judgment on accounts and inventories. This information is used for legal proceedings, judicial review or administrative review.

Accounting Malpractice

Accounting malpractice is a legal issue, resulting from a certified public accountant (CPA) failing to perform his or her accounting duties properly. These cases are usually complex and managed by lawyers, but a person with a Ph.D. in Accounting has the knowledge and capabilities to make determinations on malpractice and may be called on to help argue for or against a case of alleged accounting malpractice.

Financial Reporting and Securities Fraud

Cases of securities fraud or financial reporting often involve the use of complex accounting procedures and transactions to hide fraudulent activities and divert funds. An accountant holding a Ph.D. in Accounting is highly qualified as a witness and researcher in financial reporting and securities fraud.

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

Someone holding a Ph.D. in Accounting is well-suited to work in IFRS, which is a set of standards used in international transactions that determine how transactions and events are reported on financial statements.

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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