Alternative Careers for Accountants
Alternative Careers for Accountants
Alternative Careers for Accountants

Accountants have various skills under their toolbelt — more than simply crunching numbers. While many accountants are content to work in traditional accounting roles, alternative career paths can leverage these skills and offer new and exciting opportunities. These alternative careers for accountants can be excellent options for those seeking a change or expanding their skill set.

While some alternative roles utilize financial acumen and typical accounting skills, others require leadership experience or managerial skills that may require or can benefit from additional education, such as an advanced degree. Accountants or those with a finance background who don’t want to follow a typical accounting career path should consider the benefits of seeking an advanced degree to help them reach new career goals.

What Are Alternative or Second Careers for Accountants?

A significant advantage of being an accountant is that individuals can apply their skills in various settings beyond accounting firms and corporate finance departments. For instance, industries such as healthcare and government agencies require accountants who can manage budgets and finances effectively.

Furthermore, the skills learned in accounting can also transfer well to managerial positions, particularly those that conduct work related to company finances. As a result, accountants looking for a change in their industry or career path may find they are well-suited to careers in areas like management analysis, financial planning, and project management.

Pursuing an advanced education in business administration can also help accountants stand out from the competition and seek out alternative career paths. One option is earning a master’s degree, such as Maryville University’s online Master of Business Administration. Unlike a Master of Science in Accounting, this degree focuses on the managerial aspects of business, with a curriculum focusing on courses such as Business Ethics and Strategic Marketing.

Furthermore, Maryville’s MBA program also offers a concentration in accounting, which can benefit those who want to develop both management and accounting skills. It also has concentrations in financial servicesdata analytics, and other relevant fields. With a fully online curriculum that won’t stall an ongoing career and can be completed in as few as 12 to 14 months, this program can help accountants succeed in their current profession or transition to an alternative career for accountants.

With their training in financial analysis and management, accountants typically develop an array of skills that extend beyond the traditional confines of accounting roles into numerous alternative careers, including the following:

Management Analyst

Management analysts evaluate and improve organizational systems and procedures to increase efficiency and profitability. They work in various industries, such as healthcare or business consulting. Some of their responsibilities may include conducting interviews and surveys, analyzing data, and presenting recommendations to clients or management teams.

A management analyst in a healthcare organization might be tasked with streamlining patient intake procedures, reducing wait times, and improving overall patient satisfaction. In another industry, such as a government agency, a management analyst might analyze existing policies and procedures to identify inefficiencies and suggest reforms that could lead to significant cost savings.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2021, the median annual salary for management analysts is $93,000.

Financial Planner

Financial planners, or personal financial advisors, help clients achieve their financial goals, such as saving for retirement, funding a child’s education, or buying a home, by advising them on sound financial decisions and investments. They may work for banks or insurance companies or provide financial assistance services while self-employed. Some of their responsibilities may include assessing clients’ financial situations, developing investment plans, and providing advice on tax and estate planning.

A financial planner working for a wealth management firm might help high-net-worth clients diversify their investment portfolios to minimize risk while maximizing returns. Alternatively, a financial planner may choose to work independently, helping clients just starting out in their careers to develop a plan for paying off college loans. They could also assist clients in making investments, such as putting money in stocks and bonds. Depending on agreements with their clients, some financial planners can become licensed and sell and purchase these investments on their behalf.

According to BLS data from May 2021, the median annual salary for financial planners is $94,170.

An accountant works at a desk with a laptop, using a calculator and writing on a notepad.

Business Analyst

Business analysts are responsible for identifying and solving business problems and improving processes to increase efficiency and profitability. This alternative career for accountants may work in various industries, including healthcare, finance, and technology. Some of their responsibilities may include gathering and analyzing data, developing business requirements, and recommending solutions to management teams.

A business analyst in the technology industry might analyze user data to determine how to improve a product’s user experience and increase customer satisfaction. Within the healthcare industry, a business analyst might analyze patient outcome and resource utilization data to identify areas for improved processes and cost savings.

According to Payscale data from March 2023, the median annual salary for business analysts is about $66,000.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts advise businesses and individuals on how to spend money to maximize profits, often evaluating the performance of stocks, bonds, and other investments and forecasting their performance in the future. They may work in various industries, including banking, investment, and insurance.

A financial analyst working for an investment firm might analyze a company’s financial statements to determine whether to recommend purchasing or selling the company’s stock. Alternatively, a financial analyst working for a bank might be responsible for analyzing credit risks associated with loan applications to determine the likelihood of default.

According to BLS data from May 2021, the median annual salary for financial analysts is $95,570.

Project Manager

Project managers are responsible for executing a project from the planning stages to completion within a set timeline and budget. They may work in various industries, such as construction, technology, and healthcare. Some of their responsibilities may include developing project plans, identifying resources, and managing teams.

A project manager working in the construction industry might be responsible for overseeing the construction of a new building, from planning and budgeting to supervising contractors and ensuring that the project is completed on time. Alternatively, a project manager working in the technology industry might oversee the development of a new software application, from gathering requirements and developing a project plan to testing and deployment.

According to BLS data from May 2021, the median annual salary for project managers is about $94,500.

Launch Your Alternative Accounting Career with an MBA

The accounting profession offers many opportunities beyond traditional accounting roles. Pursuing an alternative career for accountants can be a rewarding and fulfilling path for those with the right skills and mindset. Whether you are interested in financial planning, business analysis, project management, or any other alternative career for accountants, Maryville University’s online Master of Business Administration program can be an essential step toward achieving your goals.

The program assists students in gaining the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a versatile profession or make a career transition. The program also offers a concentration in accounting, which provides a strong foundation in accounting principles and practices while offering a comprehensive understanding of business strategy and leadership. Unlock future career opportunities with Maryville University.

Recommended Readings

Benefits of Budgeting for Millennials and Gen Zers

Budget Analyst vs. Financial Analyst: Which Career Is Right For You?

Soft Skills: Why Businesses Crave Them


Indeed, “11 Accounting Skills To List on Your Resume (With Samples)”

Indeed, “18 Jobs That Offer a Career Change From Accounting”

Indeed, “6 MBA Skills Gained With an MBA (What Employers Look For)”

Payscale, Business Analyst (Unspecified Type) Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Personal Financial Advisors

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Project Management Specialists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

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