Exploring career prospects for accounting graduates

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Accounting graduates have a healthy career prospect which makes them land lucrative jobs right after college. In fact it is said that, ''an accountant is a man who watches the battle from the safety of the hills and then comes down to bayonet the wounded.'' The jobs range from working in a small business, an individual client, to working for a large organization. Market standards for accounting students are high. ''Individuals with BA degrees and the required course work are more likely to find employment in smaller firms, but individual strengths and abilities will have an impact.'' This makes someone without accounting qualifications to have very slim chances of finding a job in accounting. ''Every business major in college must take accounting classes just so that they have some brief knowledge in the subject.'' This paper will discuss the career prospects of students graduating with an accounting degree. It will explain where accounting graduates end up working. In addition, the paper will explain whether any certification, licenses or experience are required.

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Accounting students develop an extensive range of vital skills for their prospect career. They study the use of popular accounting software, writing financial reports, and interpreting different kinds of financial information. They also learn on how to advise organizations and individuals on financial planning and understanding state and federal tax laws. In addition, they acquire skills in customer service and become recognizable with ethical trade practices. Most prospect jobs require a minimum of an accounting degree or any related field. Opportunities must be favorable. ''Accounting firms hire plenty of students out of college through internships.'' Those with professional recognition, for instance certification or licensure like CPA, enjoy best prospects. ''The main advancement for an accountant fresh out with a business degree is a CPA, this is a certified public accountant, however there is also a CMA, and this is a certified management accountant. '' ''A CMA is recognized worldwide, where a CPA is generally recognized in North America.'' There is a wide range of duties in the four major accounting fields namely; management accounting, internal auditing, public accounting, and government accounting.

Management accountants, also called managerial, corporate, private, cost, or industrial accountants, record and analyze companies' financial information. Their other duties include budgeting, cost management, asset management, and performance evaluation. Management accountants, being among executive teams, involve themselves in strategic planning and new products development. Analyzing and interpreting monetary information desirable by corporate executives in making sound business decisions is among their duties. Other duties include preparing financial reports for groups like stockholders, regulatory agencies, tax authorities, and creditors. ''There will be more competition on work for smaller private businesses. We understand that. We welcome it and we think we are in a good position to be the market leaders. We have a long history of brand recognition.'' Within accounting departments, the management accountants may do financial analysis, cost accounting, planning and budgeting.

Public accountants execute a wide range of accounting, tax, consulting and auditing activities for their customers. The clients may be individuals, government organizations, or corporations. For instance, some public accountants contemplate on tax matters, like advising companies on advantages and disadvantages of tax on certain business decisions. They also prepare individual profits tax returns. Others may offer advice on employee healthcare benefits or compensation, data processing systems and design of accounting, and selection of controls for safeguarding assets. Public accountants can also be called external auditors. ''A professional is a person who can do his best at a time when he does not particularly feel like it.'' These accountants, of whom many have qualified as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), normally work for accounting firms or own businesses. Some public accountants focus in forensic accounting. They investigate and interpret crimes like securities fraud and misappropriation, contract disputes and bankruptcies, and other criminal financial transactions, for example money laundering.

Technology is hastily changing the work nature of most accountants. Special software packages help accountants to summarize transactions in financial records using standard formats. Accounting packages reduce the tiresome work linked to record keeping and data management. ''Being an accountant is much harder than taking a few classes, but the payout in the end comes in handy when becoming wealthy.'' This is because ''the average income for an accountant straight out of college with a BS in accounting is around fifty thousand dollars.'' Computers enable accountants to be mobile and to make use of computer systems of their clients in extracting information from the internet and databases. Consequently, many accountants with broad computer skills may specialize in correcting software problems or developing software to ensure unique analytical and data management needs are met. Accountants also execute technical duties like developing technology plans, and auditing, implementing, and controlling computer systems.

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Most accountants work in a distinctive office setting although some may work partly from home. ''Working for a firm creates different opportunities for college graduates because it helps build a portfolio, and in return the portfolio will be used to attract new customers.''

Accountants employed by government agencies, public accounting organizations, and firms with various locations may take trips frequently to do audits at government facilities or places of business for their clients. A survey conducted in 2008 showed that half of the accountants worked a typical 40-hour week. Many who worked longer hours were either self-employed or had many clients. Accountants with tax specialization often worked longer during taxation period. It is said that ''there are endless career choices for an accounting degree, because people will always have their taxes done.''

Fresh accountants may work under close supervision of an experienced accountant before becoming independent. ''Enough working experience at a high enough level as determined by the CGA point system is required. Usually it is two to three years of full time work. The hours are counted so if you work part time it would take much longer to get this piece completed.'' ''There are about 20,000 CGAs in Ontario and 8,000 graduate students working towards the designation - Toronto star.'' Any accountant who needs to file a report with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Senior accountants working in public companies registered with SEC may be included among Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). ''Helpful for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to have as it gives a person a better rounded accounting understanding.'' State Board of Accountancy licenses CPAs. Any accountant, having passed a national exam can become a CPA. ''Very few people opt to start with a CA and then move on to other designations as the CA is a field in itself.'' ''The Ca designation is in no way less than the CMA or CGA.'' ''The CA employees are likely to be recruited right out of university. Large firms like KPMG and others do so and have the ability to pick the BComm graduates with the top marks. ''

In summing up, ''there are endless opportunities that lie ahead of an accountant. In addition, there is a lot of money to be made in the business, and the knowledge of how to stay wealthy should make people want to become an accountant.'' There is a wide range of duties in the four major accounting fields namely management accounting, internal auditing, public accounting, and government accounting. Management accountants, also called managerial, corporate, private, cost, or industrial accountants, record and analyze companies' financial information. Internal auditors verify internal control effectiveness in their organizations. They check for waste, fraud, or mismanagement. Public accountants execute a wide range of accounting, tax, consulting and auditing activities for their customers. Government accountants work in public sectors. They maintain and examine government agencies' records, audit private businesses including individuals whose activities must be regulated by the government. State Board of Accountancy licenses CPAs. Any accountant, having passed a national exam can become a CPA. This is in addition to having met all the other state requirements in their area of practice.