Compiled and Written by Accounting.com Staff


Accounting information system (AIS) professionals use computerized systems to collect, store, and process accounting numbers to help businesses conduct audits and interpret commercial documents.

Accountants, financial analysts, auditors, and business managers use accounting systems. These professionals rely on information systems to produce and analyze financial statements to gain a thorough understanding of revenue and costs.

With information technology (IT) playing a more active role in daily accounting practices, such as economic analysis, specialists with accounting and IT expertise can experience career growth.

This guide covers various accounting information systems jobs as well as relevant degrees and answers to frequently asked questions.

Accounting Information Systems Jobs

Aspiring accounting information systems professionals can work in diverse roles, such as accountant, auditor, and business manager. They can also work in various types of organizations, such as government agencies, nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, corporations, and small businesses.

The following sections outline common AIS careers.

Accountant

Accountants manage the finances of individuals and organizations. Various roles fall under the "accountant" umbrella, some of which require particular certification and/or specific skills. These roles include certified public accountant, auditor, financial analyst, financial manager, and business accountant.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Analyze Data: Accountants often analyze financial data for individuals and organizations to ensure accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Maintain Financial Records: Accountants maintain financial records to help individuals and organizations track and organize their finances.
  • Prepare Tax Returns: Accountants need a thorough understanding of tax laws and regulations to help prepare tax returns for clients.
  • Identify Cost Reduction Opportunities: Accountants assess the financial standing of a company to identify savings and cost overruns.
  • Provide Economic Feedback: Accountants investigate finances for organizations and individuals and provide feedback to help them maximize their savings and revenue.

JOB STATS

Employment Numbers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors accounted for an estimated 1.4 million jobs in 2018. Nearly 25% of those professionals worked in accounting, tax filing, payroll, and bookkeeping services.

Salary

BLS data reveals that the median annual salary for accountants and auditors in 2019 was $71,550, with the top 10% of earners making more than $124,450.

Projected Growth

The BLS projects employment growth of 6% for accountants and auditors from 2018-2028.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

Education Requirements

According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree meets the entry-level education requirement for accountants, but a master's degree leads to roles with more responsibility and higher earning potential.

Why an AIS Concentration Helps

Understanding the intricacies of how information systems operate can help accountants broaden their career prospects and add value to businesses.

Experience Requirements

Many entry-level roles do not require experience beyond a bachelor's degree in accounting, but professional experience can help accountants advance their careers.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS RECOMMENDED

  • Certified Public Accountant: Typically, more advanced accounting responsibilities, such as regulatory compliance, require professional credentials, such as certified public accountant.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor: This certification demonstrates the investigative and technological expertise needed to conduct in-depth investigations of IT systems.
  • Certified Management Accountant: For professionals who use accounting in information management, certified management accountant credentials provide a pathway to executive positions.

Financial Auditor

Financial auditors analyze financial data and ensure compliance with laws. They help identify financial fraud and inaccuracies and often report to the CFO or CEO of a company.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Investigate Financial Fraud: One of the most essential obligations of an auditor involves reviewing financial statements for misrepresentations and inconsistencies. These investigations help safeguard companies from potential fines from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Evaluate Information Systems: Auditors monitor and assess a company's computer system to ensure the accuracy of financial data.
  • Manage Financial Reports: Auditors generally rely on standard accounting practices to create and authenticate various financial reports detailing earnings, tax deductions, and business expenses.
  • Communicate Economic Changes: After investigating fraud and compiling financial reports, an auditor may recommend potential adjustments in how the business conducts daily operations to cut costs or enhance practices.
  • Assess Accounting Procedures: Auditors constantly reassess accounting standards and methods to help companies manage finances efficiently and adjust to changing technology in information systems.

JOB STATS

Employment Numbers

According to the BLS, accountants and auditors accounted for about 1.4 million jobs in 2018.

Salary

According to the BLS, the lowest 10% of earners in the accounting and auditing field made less than $44,480 in 2019, which is still higher than the median annual wage of all workers.

Projected Growth

The BLS projects employment for auditors and accountants to grow 6% from 2018-2028.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

Education Requirements

Entry-level auditors typically need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school.

Why an AIS Concentration Helps

Auditors must analyze complex business data. An AIS concentration helps auditors use emerging technology for data analysis.

Experience Requirements

While not always required, relevant professional experience can help auditors advance their careers.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS RECOMMENDED

  • Certified Public Accountant: An auditor does not need a CPA license to perform financial reviews of accounting books. However, auditors can obtain CPA credentials to advance their careers.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor: For more extensive and complex audits regarding information systems, CISA certification is required. This certification demonstrates an ability to perform technology and business system audits for entities in various sectors, including government and private organizations.
  • Certified Fraud Examiner: Specializing in certain types of auditing often requires industry expertise. Becoming a CFE helps auditors exhibit expertise needed to work as fraud detection specialists.
  • Certified Internal Auditor: Working as an internal auditor does not require CIA certification, but the certification demonstrates an auditor's ability to perform audits based on a set of strict standards and ethics.

Systems Analyst

Typically operating within a company's IT department, systems analysts maintain and develop information systems for various organizations. Similar jobs include systems architect, systems programmer, and software analyst.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Study IT Systems: By researching and finding the most effective computer systems for a business, a systems analyst can help streamline employees' daily tasks.
  • Implement IT Solutions: IT systems can experience malfunctions that cause business disruption, and a systems analyst possesses the skills to discover and fix glitches.
  • Conduct IT Tests: Many businesses can't afford to slow operations down when an IT system fails to work properly, which makes testing and analyzing the functionality of IT systems a significant responsibility for systems analysts.
  • Teach IT Systems to Employees: Accountants often rely on an accounting information system to perform their duties. A systems analyst can train workers to interact and interpret data for accounting purposes.
  • Customize IT Systems: A systems analyst can customize internal controls and hardware to adjust how an IT system operates within a company's infrastructure.

JOB STATS

Employment Numbers

The BLS reports that computer systems analysts held approximately 633,900 jobs in 2018. The largest area of the profession involved computer systems design and related services, which accounted for 29% of the workforce that same year.

Salary

According to the BLS, computer systems analysts earned a median annual salary of $90,920 in 2019, with the top 10% of earners making more than $147,670.

Projected Growth

The BLS projects 56,000 new jobs for systems analysts between 2018-2028 due to the increasing use of IT systems to manage health records.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree is the typical education requirement for an entry-level position as a systems analyst.

Why an AIS Concentration Helps

Graduating with an AIS concentration demonstrates the expertise needed to manage IT systems.

Experience Requirements

Gaining entry into the profession generally requires only a related degree, while management positions usually need a few years of experience in the field.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS RECOMMENDED

Financial Manager

A financial manager commonly performs their daily tasks within a company's finance department, but a professional in this position can also operate their own business. Often tasked with overseeing the economic health of an organization, a financial manager normally reports to upper management. Similar positions include financial consultant, advisor, and analyst.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Monitor Financial Operations: Financial managers commonly conduct daily checks on financial procedures to ensure companies are meeting fiscal and legal obligations.
  • Craft Monetary Reports: A financial manager generally prepares and reviews banking statements in accordance with an organization's information systems department.
  • Analyze Economic Markets: Researching economic trends enables a financial manager to identify expansion opportunities for a particular business.
  • Oversee Finance Departments: Coordinating and supervising the daily operations of an organization's finance department, a financial manager often establishes the procedures for payroll, auditing, and invoicing.
  • Recommend Economic Changes: A financial manager commonly advises how a company can cut costs, reallocate resources, and identify additional revenue opportunities to improve its performance.

JOB STATS

Employment Numbers

According to the BLS, financial managers held about 653,600 jobs in 2018, with 30% of employees working in the finance and insurance industry and 7% involved in government roles.

Salary

The BLS reports that financial managers earned a yearly median wage of $129,890 in 2019.

Projected Growth

As the need for professionals with economic management experience grows due to emerging world markets, the BLS projects nearly 105,000 new openings for financial managers from 2018-2028.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

Education Requirements

The BLS recommends obtaining a bachelor's degree to start a career in the profession.

Why an AIS Concentration Helps

An AIS degree combines accounting skills with expertise in information systems, both of which help financial managers excel in their careers.

Experience Requirements

Finance managers often need several years of related experience to qualify for top-level roles.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS RECOMMENDED

  • Certified Public Accountant: Financial managers can find work without acquiring CPA credentials, but some employers may require this credential.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor: This certification is not necessary for the role of a financial manager but can open more career options involving corporate or government audits.
  • Certified Management Accountant: This certification demonstrates expertise in making executive-level decisions, which can expand career opportunities for financial managers.
  • Master of Business Administration: Graduates with this degree can pursue top-level finance roles, particularly if they also hold relevant experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a BS in accounting information systems?
A BS in accounting information systems focuses on how businesses use information systems to maintain their finances. The degree typically comprises 120 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete.
How do accountants use information systems?
Information systems are computerized storage units used for financial data. Accountants use the information in these systems to analyze and create reports regarding companies' financial health.
What's the importance of accounting information systems?
The ability to properly store and track financial data allows companies to identify financial issues and make more informed business decisions.

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