What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Accounting?

Accountants in the 2020s are at the forefront of digital technology, including blockchain, data analytics and more. An accountant’s job can span from working with small businesses and startups to government leaders and Fortune 500 chief financial officers (CFOs).

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business can set you up with strong accounting skills. See what opportunities are available to someone with an online Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

Skills You’ll Need to Be a Great Accountant

Succeeding as an accountant is about more than just climbing the ladder. Managing people’s money means you’ll need to earn their trust, work with integrity, and — arguably above all — be a great problem solver.

Accountants keep track of and interpret financial data, capital expenditure, and tax deadlines. Without a great accountant, businesses could get into a great deal of tax trouble or even go bankrupt.

As you work through your online accounting classes and begin to flesh out the possible career paths you want to take, there are core qualities you need to possess to succeed in the industry.


At the top of the list is honesty. Your business will depend on you to tell the truth about where money is coming from and how it’s being spent. You’ll also be responsible for alerting the business about any alarming findings. A dishonest or mistaken accountant could be the reason a company fails.


It’s not always easy to advise people in higher positions. As someone in a financial analytics role, it is your duty to stay completely transparent about any updates or concerns. Communication will be essential.


When you’re handling massive amounts of information and juggling numbers all day, you need to be very organized. You should be able to take in all of the information and summarize it for whoever you are working with. Maintaining a detail-oriented system can help you do well in any position you choose in the accounting profession.

To stay on your toes, payroll software company Patriot offers five tips to help accountants find common errors:

  • Keep an audit trail.
  • Review your work.
  • Ask others to double-check your work.
  • Conduct routine reconciliations.
  • Practice consistency.

Informed About Accounting Trends

The world of accounting is always changing with new technologies and trends — such as the boom in cryptocurrency — that you’ll need to be aware of and prepared for. Keeping up to date with current accounting methodologies will help you appear as an asset to your business.


You will spend a lot of time organizing and summarizing your accounting work for your company or clients. While it may come to be a simple process to you, your company hired you because it is not simple for them. Being able to calmly communicate with clients and remain patient while they ask questions or express any concerns will help you maintain a long career in the industry. Additionally, it takes a while to complete accounting tasks, and it will require calmness to work through problems.

Female accountant advising someone on the phone.

Customer Service Oriented

All of the qualities above can help you excel in the customer service aspect of your accounting position. Customer service appears in just about every profession, and accounting is no exception. You’ll need to prioritize your employer or clients’ needs and goals for their business: This will require a customer-centric mindset as you approach analyzing their financial situation.

According to a 2021 Forbes Technology Council article, accounting “clients will increasingly expect accounting and tax professionals to become ‘holistic advisers’ rather than simply being transactional accountants.”

This means your customers should feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns and your customer service skills will help you advise them with empathy.


As accounting technology grows more advanced, professionals will need to maintain a high level of confidence in their roles. You should feel empowered to use analytical tools and lead with conviction so you can establish authority in your role.

In an interview with Forbes, Roger O’Donnell, KPMG’s global head of data and analytics, said “If you empower accountants with analytical tools that can search through the financial data for deeper meanings, they can provide valuable insights.”

He went on to say, “We’re more equipped to identify questionable or concerning items, analyzing them with a level of detail that wasn’t possible before. This gives us the ability to produce higher-quality audit results based on a higher level of analytical precision, which is of significant value to the investing public, of course.”

When you harness the power of digital analytic tools, you can launch your career in accounting on the right foot.

Job Opportunities with a Bachelor’s in Accounting

Given the fast-paced economic climate, there will always be a need for people who are good with money. Accountants know the restrictions set on financial records and ensure safe business practices are being followed.

Additionally, the future for accounting job seekers is growing more digital. According to a 2020 article by CPA Practice Advisor, traditionally manual accounting practices are a risk to businesses and have become unsustainable. It’s normal for people to miss a decimal or forget to input a transaction; however, these mistakes could be detrimental to a business’ well-being. Adopting accounting software could be your ticket into a flawless career.

But what does that mean for job opportunities for graduates in accounting? Here are some of the top accounting jobs you can look forward to during a rise in demand for skilled accountants.

Internal Auditor

Working hand in hand with the human resources (HR) department, an auditor inspects a business’ financial statements and books to ensure safe and legal practices are being followed. They’re looking for accuracy related to how much the business has claimed it earned vs. how much it actually earned on its taxes.

According to Glassdoor, the 2021 U.S. national average salary for an internal auditor is $67,795.

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst will look at how the stock market is performing, where bond performance is, and if there are any economic or business trends to help companies make investment decisions. This is a vital role in the health of a company.

U.S. News & World Report found in 2019 that the average financial analyst earned around $81,590 a year.

Certified Fraud Examiner

If a business is caught committing tax fraud, this investigation is likely done by a certified fraud examiner. A certified fraud examiner could also work in forensic accounting and land positions with the FBI or other government organizations. This field offers more job opportunities with the rise of a complex tax environment. Accountants in this role are faced with added pressure on their work, as they and their findings are presented in front of a court, judges, and attorneys.

Comparably found that the median salary in 2020 for a certified fraud examiner is around $66,670.


There are a host of responsibilities in this role depending on the company, but a CFO is generally responsible for strategizing business revenue, risk management, and financial performance. They help a business make informed decisions about where to invest, tracking the company’s cash flow and analyzing financial strengths and weaknesses to suggest actionable corrections.

Investopedia found that the median salary of a CFO is around $393,377

Information and Technology Accountant

An information technology accounting position can be great for someone who enjoys information technology (IT) and managing finances. This role is responsible for planning where a business will store its financial information. As technology becomes more cloud-based, an information and technology accountant will need to find a safe way to digitize the information and protect it in a centralized location for easy analyzing later.

Glassdoor found in 2021 that the average information technology accountant made $60,059 a year.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

You can be an accountant without earning your CPA certification, but having it does distinguish you from other people in your field. A CPA gathers and interprets financial information for their business. This information is then communicated to business leaders to help them make better financial decisions. CPAs can work on their own as contractors who give financial advice to people about how to file their taxes, invest their money, or manage their business. You can be a CPA and hold another title at a company as well. Getting certified demonstrates your dedication to the integrity and longevity of your career.

ZipRecruiter found that a CPA in the U.S. earned an average salary of $72,467.

Cost Estimator

When it comes to developing a product or service, selling it, and managing the ins and outs of the business, a cost estimator will help a business plan for how much it will cost to conduct business. This business timeline includes time, materials, employees, and labor costs necessary to make the project come to life.

Indeed found that as of 2021, the cost estimators earned an average of $65,606 per year.

In any of these roles, you may have the opportunity to move up in your company and potentially make more as you earn real-world experience. The beauty of a degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham is that you can earn your bachelor’s degree in accounting online. This gives you the freedom to obtain work experience as you learn about the foundations and strategies necessary to excel.

Salary Expectations

Accounting is the seventh-most popular major in the U.S., according to a 2021 study by College Factual. This same study found that, on average, someone with an accounting degree can earn around $44,913 right out of college. However, as you can see above, this number will vary depending on which role you take on.

Why Should You Get Certified?

Earning your degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business can help you prepare for your professional certification exams. However, sometimes when you’ve been in the same industry for a while, you may realize that you desire something new or there is more opportunity in another field. A certificate can help you find more flexibility in your career.

There are several you may want to keep on your radar:

  • Chartered Global Management Accountant
  • Certified Management Accountant
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Certified Financial Services Auditor
  • Certified Internal Auditor
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certified Government Auditing Professional
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • Certified Information Technology Professional

By earning a professional certification, you can increase your marketability to employers, enhance your skill sets, and present yourself as an asset to your employer. A business can earn more respect compared to competitors if more of its employees earn professional certifications. Helping build your company’s reputation by what you bring to the table can help promote better job security.

Another reason to earn certifications on top of your bachelor’s degree is the chance to pivot your career. One certification could help you excel in one position and another could help you move on to a different one.

Each certification can open the door to more opportunities and higher pay. A 2019 study by Robert Half found that more than 70% of CFOs will even help cover the cost of earning your certification, and 76% of CFOs said they would help you maintain the certification after it is earned. This study indicates how important it is to have some type of certification on your resume when entering the workforce.

Finding the Right Specialization for You

When you earn your online bachelor’s degree in accounting, there is a world of opportunity ahead of you. Internships are great for helping you decide what you want to do in your career and which certification to add to your bachelor’s degree.

A common concern among hiring managers in the recent past is that the applicant pool was turning up less skillful employees. As a response, job seekers have sought more certifications and skills to fill this need.

Businesses have been pivoting toward a more agile work environment since the early 2010s. Agile companies are looking for dynamic employees who can transform their department into something unlike any other. They are looking for specialists.

You have the unique opportunity to learn and apply the skills you gain through the online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program to become the best applicant you can be. As you explore industries, speak with other professionals in the field, and learn more about what interests you, then you can pinpoint where you want your career to go.

Earning a Degree in Accounting

Taking the leap to join the Collat School of Business program will help you build the foundations and confidence you’ll need to enter the workforce. Throughout your education, you’ll not only gain important skills like information systems, basic marketing and internal auditing, but you’ll also have the chance to apply them in your capstone class. There, you’ll bring together the key concepts you’ve learned and argue a thesis statement at the end.

The program is divided into lower- and upper-level core courses. The accounting core level includes 24 credit hours of legal accounting aspects for business, qualitative analysis processes, and concepts in micro and macroeconomics. The upper-level core courses involve information systems, financial management, international accounting, and more.

Begin your accounting career by earning your bachelor’s and open doors to numerous opportunities. You’ll find that you can apply your skills across any industry and in many different roles. To get started, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.


Recommended Reading:

Are Accountants in Demand?

What Is Governmental Accounting, and What Makes It Unique?

Career Paths for Someone With a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance



Patriot, “How to Find Accounting Errors in Your Books: 5 Tips to Follow”

Forbes, “Predictions For The Accounting Industry For 2021 And Beyond”

Forbes, “The Next-Generation Accountant”

CPA Practice Advisor, The Future of Accounting is Digital: F&A Predictions for 2021

College Factual, “2021 Highest Paid Accounting Graduates”

Robert Half, “Accounting Certifications Employers Really Want to See”

Forbes, “The End of a Job as We Know It”

Bookings, “The labor market doesn’t have a ‘skills gap’—it has an opportunity gap”

USNews, How Much Does a Financial Analyst Make?

US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors

What’s the Average Salary of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?

Certified Fraud Examiner Salary

How much does an Accountant make?