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Accounting: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Public Accounting

  • Auditing/Assurance services
  • Tax
  • Environmental accounting
  • Forensic/Investigative accounting
  • Information technology services
  • International accounting
  • Personal financial planning

Employers

  • Public accounting firms, including large and multinational, regional, and local
  • Sole practitioners

Information & Strategies

  • Public accounting firms hire candidates who meet the educational requirements for sitting for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam: 150 hours of education including 24 hours of accounting, i.e. the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in accounting.
  • State laws govern the practice of accountancy and specify the requirements to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. In most states, the State Board of Accountancy has a website that outlines these requirements.

Corporate Accounting

  • Financial management
  • Financial reporting
  • Internal auditing
  • Cost accounting
  • Tax planning
  • Budget analysis

Employers

  • Companies of all sizes, in all industries

Information & Strategies

  • Many managers in corporate settings obtain an MBA degree after several years of work experience.

Government

  • Auditing
  • Financial reporting
  • Financial management
  • Budget analysis
  • Research

Employers

Federal agencies and departments including:
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Department of the Treasury
  • General Accounting Office
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Securities Exchange Commission
  • State and local agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Become familiar with the government application process.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Consulting

Employers

  • Universities and colleges

Information & Strategies

  • A PhD in accounting or a DBA –doctorate in business administration –in accounting is generally required.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations for admittance into graduate school.

Nonprofit

  • Accounting
  • Internal audit
  • Financial planning
  • Budgeting
  • Money handling
  • Record keeping

Employers

  • Social service agencies and organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Public school systems
  • Universities and colleges
  • Religious organizations
  • Libraries and museums
  • Political parties
  • Labor unions

Information & Strategies

  • Volunteer at nonprofit organizations and build a network of contacts in the nonprofit sector.

Strategies for Placement in Accounting

  • Earn good grades. Grades are an indicator of technical competence in accounting and of a person’s work ethic.
  • Actively participate in student organizations to develop leadership skills.
  • Develop excellent computer skills.
  • Learn to work well within a team.
  • Develop strong communication skills.
  • Gain work experience and information about careers through internships.
  • Join Beta Alpha Psi, the honorary fraternity for accounting and finance information professionals, to gain knowledge about the accounting profession.
  • Certifications available through the Institute of Internal Auditors or the Institute of Management Accountants may increase job marketability in some areas of accounting.
  • Accounting students should develop their analytical, critical-thinking, and problem solving skills. Develop high ethical standards.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail are important traits for accountants.
  • Accounting is a versatile degree. Students who graduate with a major in accounting may find jobs in many areas of business including: sales, production management, client management, product development, procurement, general management, banking, and financial planning.
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Next Steps

Learn about a concentration in accounting through North Park's business program.

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