Accountants are dynamic, interesting, highly intelligent, hard-working individuals.Alexa Loo
Several professionals are choosing a career in the field of accounting. It is an exciting field of commerce, where there are innumerable opportunities in many industries, followed by attractive salaries, and many more perks. Research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6.9 percent employment growth for accountants between 2020 and 2030. In that period, an estimated 96,000 jobs will be available.
The job role of an Accountant
The role of an Accountant is to keep a track of past, present, and future financial accounts and economic activities that are related to a particular enterprise. The accountant plays a vital role in auditing and preparing annual reports, and assets by gathering related information from Investors by taking help from several tools to analyze the essential data.
The job role also demands reconciling discrepancies, verifying, and allocating to produce error-free accounting reports to higher officials. It takes a rightful skill for the accountant to prepare management reports with the right amount of accuracy, detail, and illustration. A few essential elements that an accountant must be well-versed with are:
- Tax Compliance
- Industrial Accounting
- Financial Accounting
- Cost Accounting
- Preparing accounts
- Financial reports
- Business computer application software such as SAP, Tally, etc.
- Investment Accounting
- Management Accounting
- CA, CS, CPA
The field of accounting offers plenty of opportunities and the role of an Accountant can truly open doors for the aspirants who are willing to take up this as their profession. As accountants, they will be in demand, all across the world.
Essential skills to be an Accountant
The profession of accounting is one of the top career choices, which are preferred by several individuals. About 135,000 openings for accountants and auditors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Having good knowledge of accounting is a must to grow in accounting and finance careers. The professionals also should have the right kind of skills and many more important aspects.
1. Sound knowledge of practical accounting
One of the in-demand skills is contextual awareness to determine the best response to a given situation. For example, AI can be able to process thousands of documents within a few minutes and identify quantitative trends, but AI can’t yet make recommendations depending on this information. Accountants who possess enough insights into analytics and AI, alongside an understanding of accountancy practices and knowledge of their firms will be able to fill this gap.
2. Accounting program in tech and analytics
Doing an accounting program, especially in teaching and analytics boosts a career in this massive field. One can set themselves apart by taking up a course that gives one enough understanding of emerging technologies and the ways it is evolving in the accounting field. Gain knowledge in some very good areas like big data, cloud computing, and mobile applications will be a great add-on. This will also help budding accountants to enhance their skills in terms of data analytics. Seeking out these programs in specialized areas will be a greater boost to one’s employability after graduation.
3. Understanding the basic concepts
Accounting is based on the concepts where problem-solving skills play a key role. Individuals need to have a firm understanding of underlying ideas and rules. Only then will they be able to numerically solve anything that is presented to them. This will further translate into skills that help deal with clients’ requirements once the individual ventures out to the campus and faces the real world of accounting at the professional level.
4. Curious mindset
Curiosity is a key trait in any dynamic environment as it builds a tendency to ask questions, understand ongoing challenges on a deeper level, and challenge assumptions. Innovation and technology is not the main job role of an accountant, they can easily miss important changes in the tech landscape.
Curiosity is very helpful to solve this issue by empowering accountants to understand new technologies as opportunities to improve their work.
5. Business and communication skills
As the role of an accountant is more focused on decision-making, strategy, and planning, there will be a huge need for communication and business skills. In addition to being able to look at quantitative data through a strategic lens, communicating recommendations play an essential role. Communication skills are very essential to employers who require accounting professionals with a collaborative personality, better executive presence, conflict management, and adaptability.
6. Better networking
Getting a better employment opportunity is the main goal of every accounting student. To achieve this they must invest time in networking. This involves attending career expo events organized by the university, connecting with recruiters, and actively participating in the professional gatherings hosted by the companies. Doing so will maximize one’s exposure to hiring managers who can select candidates for interviews. Those who prefer some less traditional methods of expanding their network can certainly do whatever they have in mind as the possibilities are pretty much unlimited. The objective is to connect with those who can lead one to a better offer.
7. Fundamental data skills
The most successful accountant professionals will have good knowledge of core data skills that will ensure success as they serve clients with various systems and policies. These include data strategy and data processing skills, as well as proficiency in statistics, probability, and deductive reasoning.
Individuals can also witness processes used by clients that can be enhanced through automation. Whether those are production processes or finance processes, the ability to implement automation to enhance efficiency and reduce costs will be a differentiator.
Industries that hire accountants
While many accountants work in independent practice, according to a report from BLS the following industries employed the largest number of accountants:
- Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services
- Management of Companies
- Local and State Government
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
Salaries of Accountants in various industries
The salary in the accounting field is based upon the position one is holding in the accounting department. Accountants made a median salary of USD 73,560 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made USD 97,530 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made USD 57,110. The salary increases steadily for the employees who have more experience in a certain industry.
Let’s have a look at the average salary for accountants in various industries.
- Finance and Insurance – USD 78,600
- Management of organizations and enterprises – USD 76,230
- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services – USD 73,180
- Government agencies – USD 72,260
The demand for accounting professionals has increased faster than the global job growth rate average for all occupations. Accountants’ main responsibility is to seek ways to enhance profitability through accounting and finance. The role can also be seen as a stepping stone. Sometimes, they also play an active role in helping to take serious business and financial decisions for an organization.