A bachelor’s in accounting is one of the most flexible degree options for individuals looking to advance their careers. Most organizations need at least one accountant to manage the books, and many accounting agencies work with businesses in multiple industries. This opens the door to a few career paths to consider as you ask yourself, “What can I do with an accounting degree?”
You Can Help Individuals and Businesses File Taxes
Tax laws in America change from year to year, which is why skilled professionals with accounting degrees are in high demand to help businesses and individuals get the most back from their taxes. No one wants to lose money without reason, so having a trustworthy tax professional filling out the forms can reduce the stress of filing taxes for many people. As a tax professional, you will likely help your clients make financial decisions that could alleviate concerns about audits from the IRS.
Some tax professionals work full time for one specific company. However, there are other options for those with an accounting degree, such as:
● Working as a freelancer for small businesses and entrepreneurs in your area.
● Filing tax forms for nonprofits as pro bono work to support a good cause.
● Helping individuals file their taxes, either as a freelance professional or as part of a tax-help organization.
You can choose which communities you want to help and whether you will handle business taxes or personal taxes, depending on your career goals and preferences. Considering that most individuals and companies need to file taxes, there can be plenty of employment options to choose from.
You Can Evaluate Investments and Help People Retire
If filing doesn’t interest you, then you may consider pursuing a career in financial advising. Financial advisors work with people to determine the best uses for their money. If someone is considering a business investment or buying a home, they might turn to a financial advisor to see if doing so is a strategic decision. The advisor will review the state of the client’s finances (including other investments, collateral, and cash) and provide recommendations accordingly.
Some advisors also review external factors, like home interest rates or stock market fluctuations, when they give advice. This requires professionals to have their fingers on the pulse of the financial sector in order to make the best decisions possible. Legally, financial advisors are required to act in the best interest of their clients, so failing to stay on top of trends could cost you both professionally and legally.
Working as a financial advisor does not necessarily mean you will only be helping wealthy Americans. One of the most in-demand careers is that of retirement specialist. According to Bloomberg, two-thirds of Americans do not contribute to a 401(k) or other workplace retirement savings plan. Many cannot afford it or do not have access to one. This information is coupled with the fact that the average American lives to be 79 (according to NPR) and typically retires in his or her sixties.
Financial advisors are needed to help older workers figure out how they can enjoy their retirement years without running out of money. By pursuing an accounting degree, you can help dozens of older Americans plan for retirement and beyond.
You Can Stop Waste and Abuse as a Forensic Accountant
Forensic accountants either work inside a company or are hired when an organization suspects foul play. For example, companies will call a forensic accountant if they suspect that an employee is embezzling money or committing fraud. These accountants also dig into a company’s books to look for waste and to prevent businesses from overpaying their vendors.
According to the Forensic CPA Society, “forensic” means suitable for use in court. The society emphasizes that forensic accountants must collect evidence and provide undeniable proof of the abuse that could hold up in a court of law. This means that along with finding abuse, forensic accountants are called upon to:
● Calculate and quantify losses or economic damages to a company.
● Review disagreements about company acquisitions or breaches of warranties.
● Analyze business valuations.
The top forensic accountants have a strong drive to prevent abuse within a company and to stop criminal activity as soon as it is found.
You Can Rise to Upper Management Levels Within a Company
Even if you do not work directly in the accounting department, an accounting degree can still help you succeed in your field. Many company departments need managers who understand the basics of accounting in order to keep their teams running smoothly. For example, the vice president or senior manager of a marketing department would use accounting to:
● Track payroll expenses to determine if the department can hire additional staff.
● Manage the department budget and make sure it is spent efficiently.
● Analyze return on investment and overall gross profit from their market efforts.
Even though the marketing department is different from the finance department, senior marketers use accounting to track their success. The same can be said for other departments, such as operations and human resources.
This makes accounting one of the more flexible bachelor’s degrees students can choose when they’re looking to advance their careers. Working toward a bachelor’s in accounting can help prepare you for a dynamic career with a number of responsibilities, within and outside of your main expertise.
Whether you are planning to advance in your field and enter the managerial ranks, or just want to kick off your accounting career as a financial advisor, a bachelor’s degree in accounting can start you on the path to success.