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Gaining a degree in accounting is excellent way to get started on a successful career path that is full of options and openings in the market. Several employers search for candidates with this qualification as a prerequisite for employment. In general, accountants enjoy low stress levels on the job and receive competitive rates of benefits and compensation. The field requires a good business sense and impeccable ethics. A four-year bachelor's degree is a good way for obtaining entry level employment, though additional certifications or a post graduate degree may be needed for some positions.
The objective of this report is to analyze various aspects and facets that influence my decision making as a graduate of Accounting. The report will look into the following areas:
What kind of options do I have in selecting a company to apply to?
(Putting into consideration the industry that the company is involved in and how it relates to my areas of interest)
What are the pros and cons of the companies that I can choose from?
What should I do to make myself an adequate applicant in the companies?
Based on the information accumulated from above, which companies should I seek employment with?
A detailed analysis of the above mentioned areas should help me come up with a solid choice on which companies to apply to. This analysis will be accompanied with data from relevant sources to my topic of discussion to aid in consolidating my decisions.
2.0 JOB MARKET OUTLOOK
2.1 Nature of work
Accountants and auditors support the Nations companies to ensure they are run more proficiently, its public records accurately maintained and its taxes calculated and paid on time. They accomplish these vital roles by offering a progressively wider range of accounting services to clientele (United States Department of Labor (USDL), 2). The services comprise of public accounts management, management accounting and internal auditing. In each of these professions, accountants and auditors prepare, verify, and analyze financial documents so as to deliver information to clienteles.
Specific duties in these jobs vary across the four identified fields. Public accountants accomplish a broad range of auditing, tax, accounting, and consulting undertakings for clienteles, who may be governments, corporations, individuals or nonprofit organizations. For example, while public accountants focus on taxation, others focus on financial accounting. Still, others such as advisory companies focus on the tax rewards and drawbacks of particular business choices and making tax returns. Public accountants accomplish a broad range of auditing, tax, accounting, and consulting undertakings for clienteles, who may be governments, corporations, individuals or nonprofit organizations. For instance, a number of accountants major in taxation, such as counseling companies on the tax rewards and drawbacks of particular business choices and making specific income tax returns. Others functions involve consultancy in diverse areas as employee health care benefits or compensation; the design of accounting systems and data dispensation structures; and the range of controls to protect assets. Some concentrate in forensic accounting investigating and deducing bankruptcies and other difficult financial dealings. Still others audit a client's financial records and draft a report to the stakeholders and authorities detailing their opinion on the company's internal control systems. Public accountants, most of whom are qualified Certified Public Accountants, usually have their own ventures or are employed at public accounting companies.
Management accountants also called corporate, industrial, or private accountants record and examine the firm's financial reports for which they work for. Other duties include cost performance appraisal, management, budgeting and asset management. These auditors and accountants are customarily part of administrative teams involved in tactical planning or development of a new product. Management accountants examine and infer the financial information corporate directors require to make comprehensive business judgments. They also organize financial statements for non-management stakeholders such as creditors, stockholders, tax authorities and regulatory agencies. Inside accounting divisions, they can work in areas including planning and financial analysis, cost accounting and budgeting.
Most of the trained accountants work in public sector as government auditors and accountants. They keep and survey the records of government parastatals and review private companies and entities whose undertakings are subject to government guidelines or taxation. Accountants hired by Local, Federal and State governments ensure that incomes are received and expenses are made in harmony with rules and regulations. Those that are hired by the Federal Government mostly work as representatives of Internal Revenue Service or at office of finance and budget performing financial management or budget examination functions.
Internal auditing has become one of the most critical areas of the profession. People in this field authenticate the precision accounting records in organizations, checking for mishandling, waste, and/or fraud. Explicitly, they inspect and appraise their companies financial and information systems, administration, internal controls and procedures to guarantee that records are precise and controls are sufficient to guard against waste and fraud. Internal auditors also assess the company's compliance with company strategies as well as government operational guidelines. There are several types of extremely specialized auditors, such information system auditors, insurance premium, engineering, environmental, legal, health care and bank auditors. Explicitly, they inspect and appraise their companies financial and information systems, internal controls and administration procedures to guarantee that records are precise and controls are sufficient to guard against waste and fraud. They also assess company procedures on their effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance with company strategies, procedures and government provisions. There are some extremely specialized auditors, such as insurance premium assesors, system auditors, engineering, environmental, legal, health care and bank auditors. With computer systems making information timelier, internal auditors assist the managers to base the latter's assertions on genuine data, instead of individual surveillance. Internal auditors can also endorse controls for their company's computer system to guarantee the system's consistency and reliability of the figures.
Computers are quickly altering the work processes for many auditors and accountants. Using tailor made software packages, accountants review transactions in standard layouts for financial records and sort out data in distinct formats for financial breakdown. These accounting packages significantly decrease the amount of tiresome manual work related to bookkeeping. Personal and laptop computers empower them to be more flexible and to use their clientele's computer systems to mine information from big mainframe computers. Consequently, these developments, have necessitated auditors and accountants to possess extensive computer abilities and focus in rectifying problems with software or coming up with software that meet exclusive data requirements. These accounting packages significantly decrease the amount of tiresome manual work related to bookkeeping. Computers empower auditors and accountants to be rather flexible and to use their clientele's computer systems to mine information from big mainframe computers. Consequently, these developments, have necessitated members of the profession to possess extensive computer abilities and focus in rectifying problems with software or coming up with software that meet exclusive data requirements.
2.1.1 Working ConditionsÂ Â Â Â Â
Most auditors and accountants work in a usual office setting. However, there are a number of self-employed accountants who do their work at home. Most accountants and auditors who work for public accounting companies and/or government agencies may travel regularly to perform at the client's point of business.
Many accountants and auditors normally work a typical 40-hour week, but several work longer hours, more so those that are self-employed and handling several clients. Tax experts often work long hours throughout the tax time of year.
2.1.2 EmploymentÂ Â Â Â
Accountants and auditors seized over 2.2 million jobs in 2010 mostly in private sector. About 25% worked of these were for auditing, accounting, and bookkeeping companies. About 10% of auditors or accountants were self-employed.
Most accountants and auditors are unconstrained management accountants, government accountants and auditors, or internal auditors. Nevertheless, a huge number are licensed Public Accountants (PAs), Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Accounting Practitioners (APs), and Registered Public Accountants (RPAs). Most work in urban regions, where public accounting companies and central or local offices of companies are concentrated.
Some with qualifications in the auditing and accounting professions are full-time university and college faculty while others lecture on part-time basis.
2.2 Training and Advancement
Virtually all internal auditor and accountant openings necessitate a bachelor's degree at entry level with an accounting concentration or a correlated field. Entry level accounting jobs at the Federal Government require 4 years of university (counting 24 semester hours in auditing or accounting) or an equal blend of experience and education. Some companies prefer candidates with a post graduate degree with an accounting bias.
Prior experience in the field is beneficial to an applicant and boosts his/her chance of getting a job. Many universities offer students a chance to add onto ttheir experience by offering part-time or summer internship schemes piloted by public accounting or corporate firms. Furthermore, working knowledge of computers applications in both internal auditing and accounting is a significant edge for jobseekers in the field of accounting.
Professional acknowledgement through certification or licensure offers a distinctive edge for applicants. All qualified CPAs need to have valid practicing certificates and their partners in their organization need to have licenses obtained from State Board of Accountancy. Many of the States necessitate a CPA candidate to be a college graduate. Most schools have changed their programs accordingly, and potential accounting majors should prudently enquire on accounting programs and the respective State requirement.
All States require the same CPA Examination that is set by American Institute of CPA (IICPA). It contains four parts and takes 2 days. It is very demanding, and only about 25% of those who attempt it annually pass. Candidates must pass least two parts of the four needed to get complete credit. Besides, all four sections must be passed within a given time period. Prior accounting or auditing experience is an added advantage and can benefit an applicant acquire a job.
The titles of RPA and PA are also acknowledged by most States. These States issue licences to practice in their markets. With the number of CPAs growing, still, many of the States are scrapping non-CPA designation. Accountants who hold RPA or PA titles have legal privileges, and duties that are like those of CPAs. However, their licensure qualifications are less rigorous. AP titles require a lesser formal training and lesser years of practice than CPA.
Almost all States require CPAs to complete a definite number of hours of continuous professional education for their practicing licenses to be renewed. Deliberate warranty can confirm to professional competency in a particular field of accounting and appraising. It can also confirm that an acknowledged level of expertise has been attained by auditors and accountants who develop some experience on the job, without formal education or practical experience required to meet the demanding standards mandatory to take the CPA test.
There is also another qualification by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). IMA administers Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam on holders of bachelor's degree. Applicants have to pass an examination consisting of four-parts, consent to meet continuing education necessities, conform to principles of professional demeanor, and have a minimum of 2 years experience in management accounting.
In addition to IMA, there are other qualifications open to graduates. Graduates from recognized universities who have a 2 year experience as internal auditors can undertake a Certified Internal Auditor qualification. Upon qualification and passing a four-part test, graduates become Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). Compatibly, the Information Systems Audit besides Control Association ponders the title Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) on applicants who pass a test and at least 5 years of cumulative experience in audit of electronic data systems.
Individuals planning a livelihood in accounting should have a talent for arithmetic and the ability to evaluate, relate, and construe facts and figures rapidly. They have to be able to plainly converse the outcomes of their work to customers and executives. Accountants and auditors have to be good at team work and with computers and business systems. Because lots of financial statement handlers depend on their services, auditors and accountants ought to have high moral value standards.
Starting public accountants ordinarily start by helping with work for numerous clients. They may progress to stations with more duties in about 2 years and further to senior stations within few years. Those who are exceptional may grow into supervisors, partners and managers or even start their own public accounting operations.
Management accountants' usually start as junior internal auditors, cost accountants, or as apprentices for other accounting stations. As they escalate through the organization, they can progress to chief cost accountant, accounting manager, manager of internal auditing or budget director. Some become treasurers, controllers, financial chief financial officers, vice presidents, or corporation presidents. Most senior corporation directors have an experience in accounting, finance or internal audit.
In general, there is enormous degree of flexibility amongst public accountants, internal auditors and management accountants. Experts often move into internal auditing or management accounting from public accounting. A number of world institutions such as the World Bank and many such institutions always look of financial experts to fill various vacancies in their institutions. In some cases, these institutions end up training the new staff to ensure that they are up to speed with the requirements of the institutions and the responsibilities their jobs require of them.
2.3 Job Outlook
Job openings for accountants grows approximately as fast as for teh other occupations over 2008. Furthermore, openings resultant from development, raised the necessity to substitute accountants and auditors who transfer or retire to other professions, this produced thousands of job opportunities annually in this huge occupation.
With the growth of the economy, the quantity of business establishments will surge, demanding professionals to create systems, prepare taxes, and offer management assistance. As these businesses develop, the capacity and intricacy of information established by auditors and accountants regarding expenditures, costs and taxes will surge as well. More intricate necessities for these professions also arise from alterations in legislation associated with taxes, business investments, financial reporting mergers, standards and other financial issues. Moreover, businesses will progressively need rapid, precise, and independently custom-made financial information owing to growing competition both from the domestic and international markets. These tendencies will positively influence the employment of auditors and accountants.
The changing role of the profession is expected to will spur growth in jobs. In reaction to market demand, these experts will offer more consultancy services as they undertake a bigger consultative role and cultivate more flexible and refined accounting and auditing systems. By concentrating more on scrutinizing operations instead of just offering financial information, accountants will assist to surge the demand for their expertise. Likewise, internal auditors will progressively be sort after to find out and eradicate fraud. Every institution worth its salt needs auditors and financial analysts. If these people are not directly employed by an institution, the companies then have to outsource for the services from various organizations; some of which will be discussed later in this document.
Equally, this tendency will be countered to some degree through decreasing use of obsolete services and increased use of software in accounting. Accountants will devote less time executing audits owing to potential liability and comparatively low profits, and will move away from tax preparation because of the popularity of tax consultancy firms. As computerization continues to simplify accounting tasks, clerical staff will progressively handle numerous routine calculations.
Accountants who have received professional acknowledgement through qualifications or licensure ought to have best prospects for a job. For instance, CPAs ought to continue to appreciate a wide variety of job openings, particularly as more States endorse the 150-hour condition, making it more demanding to attain these qualifications. Likewise, CMAs should also be in high demand as their expertise is progressively more sought after. Candidates with post graduate qualification will have an added advantage. With the right qualifications and aggressively in the job market; a person never lacks to come across job prospects. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that a person knows what certifications are required, and which ones will spur their careers further and higher in the respective industries and career paths.
Expertise in accounting computer software, or proficiency in expert areas such as specific industries, international business or present legal framework may help in getting certain accounting jobs. Furthermore, employers gradually search for applicants with strong social and communication abilities. Irrespective of ones credentials, however, competition will stay keen for the most esteemed jobs in key accounting and business companies.
2.3.1 Earnings and Wages
In 2008, the median annual salaries of accountants, as well as auditors was about 38,000. Barring the upper and lower quartile, the starting salaries for the middle quartiles ranged from $29,840 - $49,460. The higher 10 % of accountants and auditors received in excess of $77,000 while the bottom 10% were paid slightly below $24,000. The professionals make a little more in most urban areas. In 2007, the annual median salaries in the industries hiring the biggest sums of auditors, in addition to, accountants were:
Auditing, Accounting and Book-keeping
Government (Local, with the exception of Hospices and Education)
As indicated by employer's survey of salaries and the National Association of Colleges, bachelor's degree applicants in accounting got starting offers from $35,000 annually in 2009 with master's degree holders ( in accounting) getting $36,800.
Before enrolling in any sort of a program, such as a Bachelor of Accounting, a person ought to put into contemplation a number of elements. These facets are vital because they are dire in helping the individual select the organization and program that is right for them
National approximations for this occupation:
Employment estimate and mean wage estimations for the occupation:
Wage RSE (3)
Percentile wage estimations for the occupation:
The Hourly Wage
Annual Wage (2)
3.0 PERSONAL EVALUATION
3.1 Public vs. Private
Accounting positions in the workforce vary between and public accounting and private accounting. Finishing a Bachelor of Accounting program may assist to prepare graduates for a position as a private accountant. Public accounting requires supplementary educational requirements that some Bachelor's curricula may not offer. It is a person's choice to decide what to pursue in life; as far as job opportunities are concerned.
3.2 Is the full Bachelor of Accounting Necessary?
While a Bachelor's degree explicitly devoted to accounting is the most common and direct conduit to a profession in accounting, it is not the solitary mode for a Bachelor's graduate to come to be an accountant. It is conceivable to be concluding an undergraduate degree in another subject and simply take the necessary accounting coursework to be suitable for some accounting positions. While a Bachelor's degree explicitly devoted to accounting is the most common and direct conduit to a profession in accounting, it is not the solitary mode for a Bachelor's graduate to come to be an accountant. It is conceivable to be concluding an undergraduate qualification in another subject and simply take the necessary accounting coursework to be suitable for some accounting positions.
This route needs individuals to accomplish 30 credit hours of accounting lessons and is a decent choice for those who have already accomplished a Bachelor's program in a different field but don't want to leave the labor force to cross-train. While this route is a legitimate route, it might not be correct for everyone. For others, paying for just 30 credit hours of accounting courses rather than going back to university to attain a graduate degree might not be worth it.
3.3 Does the Degree Suit You?
Some individuals are extroverts by nature, oft flourish on the amity of co-workers. Other individuals are introverts and desire quiet, secluded workspaces. Yahoo! Education of late ranked the position of accountant as one of the finest careers for introverts since most devote their work days with computers, spreadsheets, and data rather than interacting with their co-workers. Other individuals are introverts and desire quiet, secluded workspaces. Yahoo! Education of late ranked the position of accountant as one of the finest careers for introverts since most devote their work days with computers, spreadsheets, and data rather than interacting with their co-workers. It is vital for any student to keep this statistic in mind when applying for a Bachelor of Accounting program.
Irrespective of the degree a person pursues, it is imperative to contemplate all the factors before dedicating the resources to a degree program that may not suit them or their desires in the future.
3.3.1 Significant Points:
Most jobs necessitate at least an undergraduate accounting degree or an associated field.
Jobseekers that get professional acknowledgement through licensure or certification, a post graduate (master's) degree, expertise in usingcomputer software, or expert proficiency will have an edge.
Competition is and will stay intense for the the higher cadres in major the industry .
3.3.2 Related Occupations
Auditing and accounting professionals scheme analyze financial information and design internal control systems. Others for whom experience in accounting is vital include budget officers, appraisers, financial analysts, loan officers and managers, actuaries, bank officers, tax collectors, underwriters and revenue agents, securities sales representatives, FBI special agents and purchasing agents.
There is a lot to do when you have accounting certifications to your belt. The above mentioned related occupations are just some of the conventional ones people would think of; some people with these certifications simply end up as consultants in various fields.
4.0 THE BIG FOUR ACCOUNTING FIRMS
In the application process for a job in the auditing and accouting industry, one has to consider the big four accounting firms in the world. These are the top of the cream in the industry that offer a lucrative pay package and attract the best in the industry. These are the top of the cream in the industry that offer a lucrative pay package and attract the best in the industry. I will look at the specific facets of the pros and cons of working for each company, as all four companies have similar operational environment and specifications. These pros and cons are sourced from internal employee reviews working for the specific firms.
Working at KPMG allows one the chance to network with many persons across many industries.
One is also able to experience the business matters faced across diverse organizations that help one understand the bigger picture around a particular problem.
Employment builds a better resume.
Employment at KPMG offers one the flexibility that many industry occupations do not provide.
There exists a good sense of Job Security at KPMG. Publically operated firms are authorized by the Government to be appraised and thus, there is a stable stream of work to be done in this industry.
KPMG is run under a Partnership. Like in all partnership, it seems that it is hard to regulate the organization and navigate it in one path as a corporation would be able to. Every regional office looks to have their individual agenda, and the partners do not always seem to be in-sync with the corporation's direction. It often looks like an "every man for themselves" sort of climate, especially with this business setting.
The pay at KPMG is below par when compared to industry employments
Every so often, the idea of Work Life Balance is made-up. It is not rare for Staff an-d Management to toil 60 hour work weeks, particularly during the year-end audit hectic seasons
4.2 Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC)
Working for PwC gives an outstanding jump into the business world and shapes a strong comprehension of finance. It also permits exposure of how to manage a successful finance department as you get the opportunity to observe many different ones throughout the course of your profession.
There exists a good social network, as there is a huge number of youth.
There is hard (if sluggish) career advancement available. Most employees seem to attain promotion based on being employed a set number of years, instead of by actual skills available.
Working hours can be dreadful.
There is common interruption between the message for work life balance and expected working hours. There is also recurrent working over weekends.
The general worth of staff is meagre considering this is a service business that is constructed on the quality of its staff.
Fresh ideas are not every so often accepted by others and there is a great deal of politics practiced by more senior personnel considering to get promoted.
4.3 Ernst & Young
One acquires multinational experience with access to a comprehensive
Irrespective of the geographic location, a life/work balance is difficult to maintain.
Friendly work mates
Status Quo accompanies employment
The executive is not always ardent on communication
One has to be very careful on criticism on the company and to whom this information is said to.
The auditing and accounting industry is not only profitable, but also ideal for a graduate with an undergraduate accounting qualification. The big four all offer opportunities that any graduate would find very attractive. The industry is very competitive and rigorous and requires dedication and passion; otherwise, one would easily give up and seek a change in profession.
In the application process for a job in the auditing and accounting industry, one has to consider the big four accounting firms in the world. These are the top of the cream in the industry that offer a lucrative pay package and attract the best in the industry. These are the top of the cream in the industry that offer a lucrative pay package and attract the best in the industry. I would look at the specific facets of the pros and cons of working for each company, as all four companies have similar operational environment and specifications. These pros and cons are sourced from internal employee reviews working for the specific firms.
I would highly recommend that anyone with an undergraduate qualification in accounting supplement this with a professional certificate, such as a CPA or ACCA, as these certificates would make would make one marketable and give them an edge over the competition.
Anyone who would consider working for the big four should consider the aspect of a lack of a balance in personal life to professional life. This kind of lifestyle is suitable for young and single individuals.