A career in accounting offers above-average earnings, and demand for qualified professionals should remain strong for years to come. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $70,500 in 2018. The BLS also projects a 10% increase for accounting jobs between 2016 and 2026, resulting in roughly 140,000 new positions. Certified professional accountants (CPAs) and other accountants who have earned professional recognition have the most promising prospects.
ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, ACCOUNTANTS AND AUDITORS EARNED A MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY OF $70,500 IN 2018.
Most jobs you can get with an accounting degree require a bachelor’s in accounting or another related field, such as finance or internal auditing. Through core coursework and onsite internship opportunities, the bachelor’s pathway equips students with skills and knowledge needed to succeed in accounting careers.
In addition to traditional accountant and auditor positions, candidates with a bachelor’s degree in accounting may qualify for roles such as financial advisors, executives, and forensic accountants. Read on to learn more about potential jobs with a bachelor’s in accounting.
WHAT IS A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING?
According to U.S. News & World Report, the bachelor’s in accounting introduces students to fundamental principles and legal and ethical guidelines for professional accountants. Other course areas may include macroeconomics and microeconomics, auditing, and taxation. Some programs also provide training for the CPA certification exam.
The BLS notes that most states require CPAs to complete at least 150 college credits, which exceeds the typical bachelor’s program by 30 credits. For this reason, many schools offer 150-credit accounting bachelor’s degrees to help graduates qualify for CPA certification. Some institutions also offer combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees to meet this benchmark. The master’s in accounting builds on undergraduate course areas such as financial accounting and business IT, and it incorporates more academic research than the bachelor’s.
- Time to complete: 4 years
- Format: Online or On Campus
- Average Annual Salary: $69,000
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TOP JOBS FOR BACHELOR’S IN ACCOUNTING GRADUATES
The following jobs for accounting majors require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a closely related field, such as finance. Each profile includes common duties and responsibilities, along with salary expectations for each role.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Personal financial advisors consult with clients about money-related matters, such as investments, mortgage payments, retirement and estate planning, and college savings. Many employers prefer to hire financial advisors with bachelor’s degrees in accounting, finance, or economics.
Core Responsibilities: Explain complex financial matters to clients, track client accounts to remain current on standings, recommend and/or choose investments for clients.
Median Annual Salary: $88,890
Students may choose from different subfields of accounting. CPAs specialize in tax and financial documents with legal disclosure requirements. Other roles include management accountants, who primarily work in corporate settings, and government accountants, who audit individuals and organizations based on state and federal regulations.
Core Responsibilities: Verify financial records for accuracy and compliance, prepare and submit tax documents, consult with organizational leaders about financial management strategies.
Median Annual Salary: $50,646
Financial analysts specialize in evaluating stocks, bonds, and other investments. Buy-side analysts make portfolio recommendations to organizations based on market performance, while sell-side analysts work with the service agents selling investments. Most financial analysts have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.
Core Responsibilities: Study current and historical market trends, make portfolio recommendations based on client needs and investment performance, consult with organizational leaders to discuss financial needs.
Median Annual Salary: $85,660
Forensic accountants analyze tax forms, financial statements, and other documents for fraudulent practices. Common employers include insurance companies, banks, and law enforcement agencies. Most forensic accounting positions require a bachelor’s in accounting and a CPA certification.
Core Responsibilities: Examine documents for discrepancies or omissions that indicate fraudulent activity, use specialized software platforms to analyze data, remain current on accounting laws and related criminal activities.
Median Annual Salary: $65,590
Internal auditors examine their organization’s financial records for errors and discrepancies, and ensure compliance with different laws and regulations. Students interested in this role should focus on the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, while earning their bachelor’s.
Core Responsibilities: Analyze financial records and statements, report fraudulent activities, consult with the CEO and other executives about best practices.
Median Annual Salary: $57,520
Budget analysts compile and submit reports that reflect their organization’s financial needs and spending practices. They may also have a hand in analyzing budget proposals for accuracy and compliance. Most budget analyst roles require a bachelor’s in accounting with a course background in economics and statistics.
Core Responsibilities: Prepare budget reports on behalf of their organization, monitor and evaluate budget proposals, discuss funding availability with executives and managers.
Median Annual Salary: $76,220
EXPLORE MORE ACCOUNTING CAREERS
Uncover illicit activity and track criminal funding.
Oversee financial operations to lead a business to success.
Assist organizations and individuals with financial reporting and accounting tasks.
Report fiscal standings to investors and the public.
Ensure compliance with financial laws and regulations in a variety of industries.
Manage budgets, expenses and revenues at all levels of government.
WANT TO TAKE YOUR CAREER EVEN FURTHER?
Although many accountants enter the workforce with a bachelor’s degree, some students continue on to earn their master’s degree. A master’s may help graduates qualify for higher-paying jobs, including managerial positions. Visit the page below to learn more.
Kick off your finance career with one of these affordable online accounting degrees. Compare the top programs, crunch the numbers, and get the best value.
A master's in accounting opens the door to in-demand, lucrative careers. Explore our list of the best accounting master's degree programs for 2021.
Bachelor's degrees in accounting can build strong careers. Become an accountant through an accredited, affordable program that leads to CPA certification.
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