Accountants need math and technical abilities for their careers, but soft skills are also important.
Accountants need math skills to ensure accurate record-keeping. They typically use basic formulas and get assistance from computer programs. Accountants and auditors also frequently check the calculations of employee expense reports to verify accuracy.
Today’s accountants also perform analytics, and they need technical abilities to cull useful insights from large financial data sets.
Accountants are not simply number crunchers. Many positions require interacting with clients or staff members regularly. Management accountants, for example, often present findings and defend their analyses in front of company executives, and auditors need to glean information from different departments within a company.
Accountants must confirm the figures in financial statements, records and analyses. In most cases, accountants are charged with ensuring the accuracy of other employees’ work.
The focus on accuracy means that accountants need to be able to concentrate on minute details and find errors in lengthy financial records or reports.
Accountants are experienced in accounting and bookkeeping software. Even if others handle the day-to-day bookkeeping tasks, accountants must navigate accounting platforms, like QuickBooks or Oracle NetSuite.
Accountants also need to know how to use auditing software and financial analysis platforms. These specialized tools are necessary for auditors and management accountants, respectively.
Accounting can be a financially rewarding career path. As of May 2022, the annual salary for accountants ranged between $48,560 and $132,690, according to BLS, with pay depending on the size of the company, industry, experience, education and certifications.
BLS projects a 6% growth in demand for accountants from 2021 to 2031. This expansion is slightly higher than that of all professions.
Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
BLS Occupational Employment Projections, 2021-2031 is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.
In addition to developing both hard and soft skills, those pursuing an accounting career need to meet specific educational requirements, accreditations and experience.
Most accounting positions require at least a bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate accounting studies, like industry certificates or certifications, can also offer enhanced knowledge and career opportunities, depending on the specialization.
To become a CPA, you’ll need at least 150 credit hours. Online accounting courses can help students meet those required hours after they complete a bachelor’s degree. They also empower students to hone specific skills necessary for their specialization.
An accounting degree can help prepare you for an accounting career, but a business degree might also be useful for some positions. Students might also consider a finance degree, which focuses more on analytics and economics than accounting.
According to BLS, there are several possible certifications that can help with career enhancements:
- CPAs need to have experience, a degree and pass a four-part exam to earn certification.
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Institute of Management Accountants both offer certification for those who want to work as management or corporate accountants.
- The Certified Government Financial Manager certification is available for government accountants and auditors.
- The American Board of Forensic Accounting offers certification options for those interested in investigative accounting.
These certifications might make an accountant more attractive to employers, but they are not necessarily required. Some employers may require them.
Professional experience is essential. Even those with the necessary educational requirements need two years of work experience before sitting for the CPA exam. Internships and entry-level jobs are ways to gain an understanding of how to apply accounting principles in the real world.
Experience, continuing education, undergraduate course choices and certification can also help with specialties like forensic accounting, tax preparation, financial analysis or external auditing.
With carefully planned education and career choices, you can find an area of accounting that matches your skills and interests.
If learning the fundamentals of accounting interests you, University of Phoenix offers two online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting, which are designed to be flexible enough to fit into a working adult’s busy life. The University’s fixed-tuition policy ensures there are no financial surprises!
The Bachelor of Science in Accounting prepares students with the financial skills they need to help organizations run efficiently. Develop specialized skills in managerial accounting, estate taxation, accounting research and more.
If you’re interested in both accounting and business fundamentals, then consider the Bachelor of Science in Accounting with an Associate of Arts with a concentration in Business Fundamentals program. This degree covers auditing, taxation, accounting technology, accounting law and international financial reporting standards.
If you already have your bachelor’s degree and are looking to gain additional credits to meet your 150 hours, consider taking courses for the Graduate Accounting Certificate. This certificate offers courses in managerial accounting and legal aspects of business, accounting theory and research, financial reporting, auditing and more.
University of Phoenix also offers a selection of individual courses that accountants and aspiring accountants can take to meet their credit hour requirements to sit for the CPA exam or to simply enhance their accounting knowledge.
As noted, University of Phoenix offers online accounting programs if you’re looking to get started on your path to become an accountant. However, it’s important to keep in mind the following information:
Each state sets forth standards required to be eligible to take the CPA exam and apply for licensure or certification as a CPA. While the University of Phoenix program was designed with consideration for the standards proposed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA®), University of Phoenix cannot, and will not, provide any assurance that completion of this program will allow a successful student to qualify within the student’s specific jurisdiction.
Potential applicants should check with the appropriate organization within their jurisdiction to determine if this program, combined with their undergraduate degree and any other specific criteria, meets the requirements to qualify for examination in that specific jurisdiction. States frequently change their requirements for examination. There is no assurance that at the time of degree completion the specific jurisdiction’s requirements will be consistent with the requirements at the time of admission.
From corporate roles to CPAs, accounting offers a variety of opportunities to detail-oriented, financially minded professionals. Discover how University of Phoenix can help you explore potential pathways for your career!