According to the Bureau of labor statistics, between 2012 and 2022, the number of job openings for accountants is set to increase at the rate of 13%. The job of an accountant has been in existence ever since there was business in this world. Any business venture, irrespective of its type, size, geography and intent, is measured by its performance. Accountants world over are responsible for how this performance is measured. In today’s world it is a very lucrative profession that garners high pay scales, respect and reputation. Accounting today is more challenging than before with technological advancements and ever evolving business environment.
Let’s start with the basics. How do you know that accountancy is your calling? Start by answering these simple questions:
Do you have a flair for numbers?
Do you have an analytical mind?
Are you organized and meticulous?
Are you good in following standards?
Do you have attention for detail and at the same time see the big picture?
If you answer in affirmative to all or most of the above questions, then you can confidently embark upon this journey of numbers.
As with any field, education plays a very important role in shaping your career in accountancy. Even for entry level accounting jobs, most organizations require bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. For middle level positions, they prefer Master’s degree in accounting or business administration with an elective in accounting. Once on the job, it is important to be open to new learning opportunities that are presented in your organization.
Accounting is a very broad job category and encompasses roles such as branch accountant, cost accountant, public accountant, tax accountant, auditor, clerk etc. You might want to choose a specific job role that will satisfy your career ambition and try to progress in it. This way, you will gain specialization in that particular role that will help to build your reputation and name. Check out http://accountantinterviewquestions.com for the different kinds of questions asked in an accounting interview and the best ways to answer them.
Apart from standard educational qualifications, there are certifications available to further enhance your knowledge and proficiency in accounting. You can choose to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Chartered Accountant (CA) as recognized by your country. These certifications are held in high esteem by big organizations and allow you to pursue different areas in the accounting field like auditing, taxation, corporate governance, forensic accounting, venture capital, management consulting etc., in addition to end to end financial management. Accountants who are certified have better job opportunities in the market, growth prospects and higher pay scales. Experienced accountants coupled with the required qualification and certifications have leadership possibilities with roles like the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who leads an entire accounting department of large organizations.
Apart from hard accounting concepts and principles accountants should possess some behavioral skills to be successful. This includes good communication skills, leadership skills, time management, attention to detail, analytical skills, investigative abilities, inter-personal skills, problem solving ability, professionalism and business ethics. All these skills are imperative for a good accountant and helps achieve above par performance. An accountant should work on acquiring these skills right from the beginning and apply it as and when needed, to be successful.
In today’s world where corporates are functioning across national boundaries and in multiple countries, the need for standardized accounting practices is inevitable. Without one, the task of maintaining books of accounts that are comparable across the different entities is unimaginable. There are accounting bodies that sets these standards like the International Accounting Standards Boards (IASB) which has formulated the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Countries use IFRS to arrive at their own Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). These accounting standards serve as the guidebook for accountants worldwide on how to maintain books of accounts that are consistent and generally acceptable. It is important for an accountant to be aware of the current rules and regulations imposed by the accounting standards. This gives them an edge over others when it comes to placement in multinational companies. Technical questions in accounting are sometimes based on the accounting standards.
Check http://accountantinterviewquestions.com for how to answer such questions.
In addition to all the above, an accountant should be open to learning new concepts and adapting to technologies which will be advantageous in a competitive environment. For example, consider learning any current accounting software that will be of great help in a computerized environment.
At some point in their career, an accountant can also look at self-employment opportunities. Not every profession offers this career path. Accounting field is very accommodative when it comes to going on your own. As an independent accountant you can choose to be a consultant for private or public companies and also the government. However before going on the entrepreneurial path, an accountant must consider spending a few years in mid-level roles in organizations to gain experience and a strong accounting foundation.
Accounting is undoubtedly an excellent professional choice for finance aspirants.