Home » College Advice » Accounting Programs Guide: Is It Right For Me?

Accounting Programs Guide: Is It Right For Me?

An accountant plays an important role in the financial world. They work for private companies, governmental agencies, and for the public-at-large. Working with monetary numbers, they are able to inform, predict and advise owners, executives, ordinary citizens regarding their financial status.

Most uncertified accountant/bookkeepers usually work for businesses. Accountants keep records and oversee how much money comes into the company from clients and how much money goes out to suppliers, employees, landlords for rent, utility companies, payments on bank loans and other costs, in order to determine whether the business is making a profit or incurring a loss.

The size a company dictates the duties and the accounting salary of a bookkeeper. While a large company might only require the accountant to be responsible for accounts receivable or payroll, a smaller company might require an accountant to handle everything ranging from accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll preparation and reports, preparing profit and loss statements, preparing quarterly and end-of-the year tax reports and more. Accountants are routinely included in meetings regarding mergers and acquisitions and other important matters regarding the company.

To consider a job in bookkeeping, with a generous accountant salary, one must possess the following characteristics:

  • Analytical and sound thinking
  • Methodical approach to work
  • Love the challenge of balancing numbers
  • Possess good communication skills
  • Ability to follow formulas but think abstractly when necessary
  • Possess excellent computer skills

In the old days, books were kept with pen, pencil and paper. Those days are gone and that is why excellent computer skills are essential for an accountant. Accounting software simplifies much of the work of an account. When a figure is posted in one section, it is automatically posted in other sections to eventually create a profit and loss statement. There are many accounting programs available.

Accountant/Bookkeeper: Without being certified, an accountant salary is less, but the employee is nevertheless knowledgeable in all/few or only one aspect of accounting. Many bookkeepers learn their skills in the workplace but most accountants have an associate's degree or higher.

The following accountants are certified by accredited agencies which require a bachelor's or higher degree to qualify to take/pass a rigorous exam.

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): CPAs works for the public. They provide basic accounting, auditing, tax advisory and litigation services. This is the most popular of all the categories.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA): CMAs work for both the public and businesses.
  • Certified Financial Manager (CFM): CFMs work in financial markets, area of rick management, financial analysis, corporate restructuring, investor relations and more.
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE): CFEs work as anti-fraud experts.
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): CFPs work to manage, expand and shelter a client's assets under the direction of the client's financial objectives and resources and more.
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA): CIAs work to strengthen and accomplish overall internal controls of a company.
  • Enrolled Agent (EA): EAs specialize in taxation and are employed by the IRS.
  • Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM): CGFMs works to meet the financial challenges of the state and local government.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Statistics, accounting careers are expected to grow through 2014. The accounting salary varies with the State of employment, the size of the company, job description, certification and type of degree earned.