From crunching numbers for year-end reports to trailing the evidence of white collar crime, accounting professionals handle a variety of fiscal duties in both the public and private sectors. Changes in accounting career requirements reflect the comprehensive influence this profession has on the business landscape.
Paving the Road
In accounting, the four-year degree is the benchmark. Junior positions are available for candidates with vocational training. However, mid and senior-level accounting and auditing positions require an undergraduate degree in accounting or a business degree with an accounting concentration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities in the four major areas of accounting--public, management, government accounting, and internal auditing-- will be best for candidates with advanced degrees. And because this industry is expected to see an 18% employment growth rate in the coming decade, there's never been a better time to start your program.
The CPA Track
CPAs, or Certified Public Accountants, are a specialized group within the industry that performs various income tax reporting duties. Candidates interested in this career track are typically required to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework as well as pass the four-part Uniform CPA Examination. In addition, CPAs are required to be recertified on an annual basis by completing on-going training through a variety of delivery methods.
Auditing and Forensics
Other specialized niches within the accounting industry include internal auditing and forensics. Due to the specific nature of these roles, successful candidates combine their knowledge of accounting with business and legal acumen. Internal auditors can earn the Certified Internal Auditor credential with two years of related experience and successful completion of a four-part exam. Forensic accountants pursue the Certified Fraud Examiner credential through a similar process with an added ethics component.
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