A rapidly growing field, accounting has seen a tremendous amount of change in the last few decades. The constant change has made it an exciting and attractive field to young graduates looking for their first jobs, as well as to more seasoned professionals who desire a career change.
There are a number of factors that are encouraging students to pursue a degree in accounting online right now:
Technology and Growing Demand
With continued advances made in computing and financial processing technologies, the accounting field is continuing to grow and expand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects accounting and auditing careers to grow by 11% through 2024, at a pace faster than average. Between 2014 and 2024, the BLS estimates that 142,400 jobs will be added.
With this kind of growth comes increased demand for the accounting degrees that can spur success and advancement in the field. Online students have a unique advantage in this ever-changing environment, as they are especially prepared to handle a number of technologies for collaboration and productivity. Some emerging technologies that new accountants can expect to handle include:
• Blockchain: A technology, which, according to Accounting Today, could revolutionize the ways companies record transactions and accountants handle them.
• Cloud Computing: More and more companies are shifting their information and records to the cloud – as are accounting firms.
• Artificial Intelligence and other Automation: Also according to Accounting Today, “As automation replaces…repetitive or routine tasks, employees will be able to spend more time on tasks that utilize abstract skills such as problem-solving, creativity and relationship-based persuasion.” Not only will the next generation of accountants be expected to understand and utilize these technologies, their roles will also begin to shift into more advisory, creative territory.
With these and more changes on the horizon, accounting is experiencing an unprecedented evolution that makes it uniquely attractive to young professionals.
Accounting Provides Opportunities for Advancement
Beyond working with new and evolving technologies, accountants also have opportunities to expand their skill sets and work in varied niches. Site visits and audits, for example, are dynamic elements of a growing accountant’s job. Other opportunities include helping companies that might be struggling with complex SEC or IRS regulations and issues or undertaking financial and budget analysis projects.
When today’s workers are deciding on a career to pursue, inherent opportunities for advancement are often one of the first things they consider. Today’s workers do not want to enter any career where they will remain stagnant; they want opportunities to grow and advance. Accounting is one field that is naturally ripe with opportunities for leadership advancement.
Some examples of leadership positions in accounting include:
• Account Manager/Executive
• Senior Auditor
• Tax or Audit Manager
• Consulting Manager
Accounting Is a Lucrative Field
It is clear that the unique career paths available to accounting hopefuls are numerous and varied. Salaries in the accounting field can, therefore, vary by position, but entry-level positions offer strong starting salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that accountants had a median annual income of $67,190 in May 2015. The top 10 percent of accountants in the country were earning more than $118,930.
Those accountants who choose to work in finance and insurance can expect to earn somewhere around $71,760, where those working in the management of companies may earn just slightly less. Government accountants can expect to earn around $65,000.
Accounting is unique field in that a number of different opportunities exist depending on your interests and specialties – but strong salary prospects are consistent across the board.
The Opportunity for Independence
So far, most of the positions that have been discussed involve accountants working as part of a larger team within a major company or accounting firm. There are other opportunities, however, that provide slightly more flexibility. Some accountants prefer to work independently, or elect to go out on their own and open up their own independent tax preparation service. They may do taxes for individual people or companies, depending on how they desire to set up a practice.
Obviously, these are only a few of the reasons that people should pursue a career in accounting. This field offers a unique dynamism, opportunities for advancement, lucrative pay, and promises to continue to grow in the coming years. There are numerous companies consistently looking to hire qualified accountants, and many people are looking for friendly independent accountants to provide assistance with their finances.
To take advantage of the opportunities in this field, start with a degree that will prepare you for the challenges and opportunities in accounting in 2017. Learn more by visiting New England College online.