Accounting is one of the oldest disciplines in business. Records dating back to Mesopotamia over 7,000 years ago show the earliest accountants keeping stock of crops and livestock. Today, accountants are more likely to be tracking a business’ revenues and expenses as well as preparing tax reports and ensuring compliance with operational regulations. They’re essential to the functioning of any business, but accounting covers a broad range of expertise that translates into a variety of specific careers. If you’re considering a degree in accounting, here are five of the great careers you can look forward to.
Financial analysts are focused on helping their companies grow their profitability. They can work at banks, insurance companies, mutual or pension fund management firms, or most any other financial business. They analyze the data from financial statements, commodity prices, and review revenues, expenses, and tax regulations to forecast future earnings and make recommendations on how to maximize them. Financial analysts often ascend into senior management or executive positions, and can command salaries to match.
Forensic accountants pore over a company’s financial records, searching for any error or irregularity that may indicate potential fraud or embezzlement. Similarly, they also advise companies on best practices to avoid any inadvertent fraudulent records. This is a highly specialized area of the accounting field that requires evidence gathering, investigation, and a meticulous attention to detail.
Internal auditing is an essential role within any company to ensure that daily operations run smoothly and that all laws and regulations are adhered to. They help protect their company’s assets by mitigating risks, which can range from fraud or other legal exposure to internal mismanagement. And because of their role as an impartial watchdog, internal auditors perform their duties largely autonomously and will generally report directly to the CEO of a publicly traded company.
Managerial accountants focus on preparing the financial information of the company for internal stakeholders, particularly upper management and executives. They help inform leadership teams to make evidence-based decisions, using data to forecast and guiding the future course for the company.
Tax accountants prepare and file tax reports for individual, corporate, or government clients and help minimize their tax liabilities. They must keep abreast of ever-changing tax regulations, educate their clients on the potential tax implications of any future business plans, and help develop long-term business strategies.
An online bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business can help prepare you to pursue an advanced degree or professional certification, such as Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, or Certified Fraud Examiner – all of which will further increase your stock in the job market and help prepare you for a great career.