Average Salary: $59,304
Accountants manage and “account” for the money moving into, through, and out of all organizations. The work of an accountant involves
- examining, correcting, and interpreting accounting records and documents;
- recording costs and other data and checking for correctness;
- preparing financial reports;
- keeping up with changes in tax laws and accounting procedures; and
- using computer spreadsheet software.
Many accountants do not have a certificate beyond the college diploma. Others become a Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) to open up more opportunities. A C.P.A. must have several years of experience and pass a special state exam.
Education: Undergraduate degree in Accounting (CPA or MBA a plus). Most accountants have a college degree in accounting. Public accountants have to take a special test as well, resulting in a certification. Public accountants also must have a special license from the State in which they live. Most employers want accountants who know quite a bit about computers. Previous experience in a summer or part-time internship is also a plus.
Certificates, licenses: Preferred: C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant), P.A.
(Public Accountant), R.P.A. (Registered Public Accountant, or A.P. (Accounting Practitioner)
Entry-level opportunities: Yes
Desirable traits and skills: Focused; written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; able to understand complex financial information; mathematical reasoning
Where Jobs are Available: All utilities, consulting firms (prepares general ledger and bills clients for services rendered); Governmental agency (prepares general ledger on expenses and help prepare budget for the agency)
For more information:
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Harborside Financial Center
201 Plaza III
Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881
National Society of Accountants and the Accreditation
Council for Accountancy and Taxation
1010 North Fairfax St.
Alexandria, VA 22314