Many prospective students and working professionals will research the field they’re considering before investing in higher education. This includes investigating current job opportunities, growth in employment, as well as the responsibilities and salaries of particular roles. It’s a smart move, as these individuals may be better prepared to make strides toward a new career after graduating.
When it comes to the accounting sector, there are numerous job roles that individuals with an accounting degree can pursue.
Rising demand for accounting professionals
Professionals with bachelor’s- or master’s-level accounting degrees are in demand in the current employment landscape. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for accountants and auditors — individuals responsible for examining, organizing, and maintaining financial records, among other key duties — will grow 6% from 2018 to 2028, in line with the average growth seen in other sectors.
What’s more, MoneyWise notes that accountant and auditor roles are among the 15 fastest-growing jobs in America, and more than 139,000 roles are expected to open up over the next seven years.
There are several reasons why the job market for accounting professionals is seeing high demand:
- Economic conditions: As MoneyWise points out, one of the chief drivers behind job growth is the robust economy. As the unemployment rate declines and other factors contribute to a healthier U.S. economy, there is greater need for professional accounting services, especially around tax time. In addition, changes to industry standards and regulatory policies also increase the need for professional accounting services.
- Replacing the retiring workforce: While not unique to the accounting profession, the financial services industry is among many seeing high numbers of current employees preparing for retirement. In fact, according to Accounting Today, about three-fourths of current certified public accountants are getting ready to retire before 2030. This will create an influx of roles requiring qualified, skilled candidates.
This only scratches the surface when it comes to the reasons for growing employment opportunities for graduates of financial services degree programs. With a degree in accounting, there are several different accounting jobs that graduates can strive toward.
Accountants and auditors
As mentioned, accountants and internal auditors are among high-demand financial services careers.
As the BLS notes, these professionals typically work full time in traditional office settings primarily within accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. Other opportunities for accountants and internal auditors also exist in government, insurance, and enterprise businesses, and some accountants are self-employed.
In addition to organizing and maintaining financial reports, these professionals also handle tax preparations, financial assessments, and are responsible for maintaining internal accounting systems to ensure accuracy and efficiency. Accountants and auditors will also make recommendations for reducing costs, boosting revenues, and improving financial operations.
According to the BLS, accountants and internal auditors earn a median pay of $70,500 annually, but can increase to $74,690 in the finance and insurance sectors.
Individuals need at least a bachelor’s degree to pursue these roles, although some employers prefer a master’s degree, particularly for certified public accountant positions.
Another potential career for individuals with an accounting degree is financial analyst. This high-demand role is a bit different from accounting and auditing, as the financial analyst is responsible for evaluating current and historical financial data, studying economic trends, and assessing an organization’s current financial condition and strengths. These individuals will also meet with the management team to make recommendations about investments or other financial prospects.
Most employers require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. Financial analysts work full time in industries like securities and commodities, science and technology, credit intermediation, enterprise, and insurance.
Financial analysts earn an median annual salary of $85,660, according to the BLS, but this can increase to more than $100,000 for those in securities and commodities.
Graduates with a master’s degree can pursue more advanced roles, including lead accountant. These individuals are responsible for analyzing data and preparing financial reports, and also handling records related to clients’ assets and liabilities. In addition, this is a leadership role, and lead accountants often oversee the operations of the entire internal accounting department. The lead accountant directs and guides other internal accountants and auditors, and is also responsible for maintaining a close eye on the organization’s financial condition.
Many lead accountants work in the enterprise field, but opportunities also exist in other sectors, including government and insurance. Lead accountants earn a median annual salary of $85,058, according to the BLS.
Taking the next step with a degree in accounting
There are numerous roles available for individuals with financial service knowledge and skills. In addition to those described above, graduates can also consider roles like budget analyst, financial manager, and more, depending on their path of study and interests.
To take advantage of the demand in this industry, students and working professionals should consider earning a degree in accounting. One of the best options is an online degree program, such as the online Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business.
To find out more about this program, the Collat School of Business online master’s degree in accounting or the online bachelor’s in accounting, reach out to one of our expert enrollment advisors today.