6 Different Accountancy Career Paths: Which is Right for You?

Accountancy Career Paths

6 Different Accountancy Career Paths: Which is Right for You?

A career in accountancy is a surefire way to get a stable job that will be in high demand regardless of the current economic climate. Businesses, government organizations, nonprofits, and individuals need accounting services, so you’ll have no problem finding customers regardless of location.

Moreover, the skills you develop working as an accountant are transferable, and you can advance in your career by taking exam certifications for various specializations. Speaking of which, did you know there are several types of accountants?

If you want to enter the field, here are some of the most common career paths to follow as an accountant:

1. Corporate Accountant

Corporate accountants are what most people think of when they talk about accountancy and the professionals in this field. These professionals work for businesses and organizations, and their main job is to manage the financial aspects of the activity. They also provide financial reports and advice and make sure the organization is tax compliant.

Accountants, in general, are detail-oriented and organized, so if you have the right skills, it’s rather easy to start your career working for a corporation. The education requirements vary from state to state, but you’ll probably need a bachelor’s degree in accounting to work in the field.

2. CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

A CPA is a licensed accounting professional who is licensed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to practice in a specific state. To get their license, interested professionals must meet specific educational and experience requirements, and they must pass the CPA exam.

This step is quite challenging, especially if your study time is limited. However, if you have access to the right resources and implement an efficient study method, things should go rather smoothly. To find the best resources, here is a comparison of the best CPA prep courses of 2023 and how you can use them to improve your exam score.

Once licensed, CPAs are authorized to provide a wide range of accounting services to clients, including financial statement audits, tax preparation and planning, management consulting, and forensic accounting.

3. Financial Accountant

Financial accountants are responsible for recording and summarizing the financial transactions of an organization. They prepare financial statements like balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements and make sure that the financial records are accurate and comply with accounting standards and regulations.

Financial accountants typically work within an organization’s accounting or finance department and may report to a Financial Controller or Chief Financial Officer (CFO). They also work closely with other departments, such as procurement, sales, and operations, to ensure that financial data is accurate and up-to-date. 

In addition, financial accountants may work with external auditors or regulatory agencies to ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations.

4. Management Accountant

Management accountants provide financial information and analysis to help managers make business decisions. They analyze financial data, create reports, and advise on strategies to improve performance, reduce costs, and increase profits.

To get into this position, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Plus, some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in accounting, finance, or business administration (MBA).

It’s also a good idea to get a professional certification, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants Financial accountants (IMA).

5. Tax Accountant

As the name suggests, tax accountants specialize in tax preparation, planning, and compliance. They help individuals and businesses understand tax laws, minimize their tax liabilities, and file tax returns. 

These professionals may also represent clients before tax authorities in case of audits.

6. Forensic Accountant

If you like the more adventurous side of the job, then you may find forensic accountancy a lot more interesting. 

Professionals in this position investigate financial fraud and provide litigation support. They use accounting principles and techniques to uncover financial misconduct, analyze financial data, and present their findings in legal proceedings. 

Forensic accountants may work for accounting firms and law enforcement agencies, but they can also consult as independent experts. However, to become one, you need several years of experience in accounting or auditing and various professional certifications, like the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF).

Wrap Up

Accountancy is a diverse field with many options, and if you have the right skill set, you can have a thriving career. The good news is that you can learn the skills you need through experience and education, so don’t be afraid to try.