Accounting Jobs

Accounting Job Guide

Thinking about a new career in Accounting or Finance?

An education in, or understanding of, accounting and bookkeeping procedures can open many doors for new careers. Follow the links to the left to learn what the job outlook and education requirements are for some of the jobs held by people with accounting backgrounds

Accountants & Auditors

Key Points

  • Most jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field.
  • Jobseekers who obtain professional recognition through certification or licensure, a master’s degree, proficiency in accounting and auditing computer software, or specialized expertise will have an advantage in the job market.
  • The competition will remain keen for the most prestigious jobs in major accounting and business firms.

Job Outlook

Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition through certification or licensure should have the best job prospects. For example, Certified Public Accountants should continue to enjoy a wide range of job opportunities, especially as more States require candidates to have 150 hours of college coursework, making it more difficult to obtain this certification. Similarly, Certified Management Accountants should be in demand as their management advice is increasingly sought. Applicants with a master’s degree in accounting, or a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting, also will have an advantage in the job market


Bookkeeping Clerks

Nature of the Work

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are an organization’s financial recordkeepers. They update and maintain one or more accounting records, including those that tabulate expenditures, receipts, accounts payable and receivable, and profit and loss. They have a wide range of skills and knowledge, from full-charge bookkeepers, who can maintain an entire company’s books, to accounting clerks who handle specific accounts. All of these clerks make numerous computations each day and increasingly must be comfortable using computers to calculate and record data

Job Outlook

Virtually all job openings will stem from replacement needs. Each year, numerous jobs will become available as these clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work, even though turnover is lower than for other clerical jobs


Financial Analyst

Key Points

  • A college degree and good interpersonal skills are among the most important qualifications for these workers
  • Although both occupations will benefit from an increase in investing by individuals, personal financial advisors will benefit more.
  • Financial analysts may face keen competition for jobs, especially at top securities firms, where pay can be lucrative.

Job Outlook

Increased investment by businesses and individuals is expected to result in faster-than-average employment growth of financial analysts and personal financial advisors through 2010. Both occupations will benefit as baby boomers save for retirement and a generally better educated and wealthier population requires investment advice. In addition, people are living longer and must plan to finance more years of retirement. The rapid expansion of self-directed retirement plans, such as the 401(k) plans, is expected to continue. Most of the money in these plans are invested in mutual funds. As the number of mutual funds and the number of assets invested in the fund’s increases, mutual fund companies will need increasing numbers of financial analysts to recommend which financial products the funds should buy or sell. Growth in retirement plans will also increase demand for personal financial advisors to provide advice on how to invest this money


Tax & Revenue Agents

Key Points

  • Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents work for Federal, State, and local governments.
  • Long hours may be required during income tax season, from January to April.
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting is becoming the standard source of training for tax examiners, although some prospective workers may be able to enter the occupation with only a high school diploma and a few months of general work experience.
  • Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.

Job Outlook

Employment of tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations between 2000 and 2010. Opportunities at the Federal level will arise from the relaxing of budget constraints imposed on the IRS, the primary employer of these workers. Also, labor force growth during the 2000-10 projection period will mean more taxpayers—and therefore, more tax returns. Dampening these effects, however, is a decrease in the proportion of tax returns selected for audit and collection. As taxpayers increasingly file their tax returns electronically, computers can examine a larger number of returns. Because much of the work done by IRS tax examiners and revenue agents is now computerized, productivity has increased, leading to smaller employment gains.


Payroll Clerk

Nature of the Work

Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform a vital function—ensuring that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate. If inaccuracies arise, such as monetary errors or incorrect amounts of vacation time, these workers research and correct the records. In addition, they may also perform various other clerical tasks. Automated timekeeping systems that allow employees to directly enter their hours worked into a computer have eliminated much of the data entry and review by timekeepers and has elevated the job of payroll clerk. But in offices that have not automated this function, payroll and timekeeping clerks still perform many of the following functions.

Job Outlook

Little or no change is expected in the employment of payroll and timekeeping clerks through 2010, due to the continuing automation of payroll and timekeeping functions and the consolidation of clerical jobs. A growing number of mergers and acquisitions also will adversely affect payroll departments as administrative offices are usually the first to be downsized. Nevertheless, a number of job openings should arise in coming years as payroll and timekeeping clerks leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Many payroll clerks use this position as a steppingstone to higher level accounting jobs.


Tax & Revenue Agents

Key Points

  • Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents work for Federal, State, and local governments.
  • Long hours may be required during income tax season, from January to April.
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting is becoming the standard source of training for tax examiners, although some prospective workers may be able to enter the occupation with only a high school diploma and a few months of general work experience.
  • Employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.

Job Outlook

Employment of tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations between 2000 and 2010. Opportunities at the Federal level will arise from the relaxing of budget constraints imposed on the IRS, the primary employer of these workers. Also, labor force growth during the 2000-10 projection period will mean more taxpayers—and therefore, more tax returns. Dampening these effects, however, is a decrease in the proportion of tax returns selected for audit and collection. As taxpayers increasingly file their tax returns electronically, computers can examine a larger number of returns. Because much of the work done by IRS tax examiners and revenue agents is now computerized, productivity has increased, leading to smaller employment gains

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