A Career In Accounting: Where To Start?
Accounting is a promising career path with exciting opportunities for everyone who has even the minutest interest in numbers. The best thing about jobs in accountancy and related subjects is that you do not have to worry about it becoming monotonous as is the case with some jobs. The salary package is also one of the best if not the best. With so much of positive word around, it makes sense that we learn a few things about how to break into this career. This post talks about the same.
Starting a career in accounting is like maneuvering through a road that has multiple lanes and multiple starting points. There are more than one ways to reach the destination. Each of the roads that you take will help you reach the same destination, however the journey might not be exactly the same depending on the course taken. You can go through the reliable but a bit slow path of gaining experience at the lowest level and educating yourself along the way. On the other hand, those who are in a bit hurry to prove them can take the fast lane by joining a degree in accountancy followed by a professional certification. It totally depends on you whether you want to straightway enter a CAs office to start training through hands on work or go through a college degree and become professionally certified to gain an easy entry in a multinational organization on positions like financial analyst, or credit analyst amongst others. But first of all, what an accountant’s role is exactly?
In very simple terms we can also call accountants as the keepers of financial accounts for companies, individual clients and government. However, this definition is an oversimplified version of what these highly intelligent professionals actually do. There is huge responsibility that accountants and CPAs actually take on their shoulders. You can be self-employed or work as a consultant if corporate life doesn’t attract you. There are of course large firms with offices and accounts to be managed all throughout the world, which means one need not fret over jobs in this industry. There are plenty of accountant jobs that one can apply to, but only if you know where to look.
Working without a Degree
Everyone tells that an accountancy career requires excellent skills with numbers along with a degree. Well, half of the part is true while the latter half is not that true. There are a number of jobs that you can do as efficiently without a degree as one with it. While finding such jobs is definitely not a cakewalk but with due diligence you can get yourself into the shoes of the following roles:
The job of clerk is not a glamorous one exactly, but nonetheless very effective and important. Depending on the organization, clerks are asked to handle payroll, payable accounts, maintain records and accounts receivable. Knowledge of Microsoft Excel or accounting software like Tally is a big plus. One can start in this role with just a six months certification or a high school diploma. You might also be able to pursue an associate’s degree with your work as sometimes employers sponsor higher education of their employees if they show promise.
Once you gain substantial experience working with Microsoft Excel, your chances of getting the job are much better. You’ll be compiling reports, posting payments, processing claims and more, depending on specific job duties.
The roles and responsibilities of accounting technicians is pretty straightforward: you will be required to input various numerical data and other information into accounting software like Simply Accounting, or QuickBooks, make bank deposits, perform payroll for the company, prepare information for tax season, and be responsible for accounts payable. Some of these responsibilities overlap with that of a clerk but this role again does not has any limitations in terms of the qualifications required. Yet, taking courses and certifications related to accounting and finance will always be an asset when looking for a job.
Earning a Degree: Benefits
While we already discussed job options for those who cannot or do not want to go through formal educations, earning specific degrees related to accounting always helps in improving career prospects. Most organizations prefer candidates who have earned at least associate degrees in accounting and for good reason. These degrees teach candidates a lot of new concepts and impart technical knowledge of critical importance. Accountants with a four-year degree are the ones who are able to deliver duties like examining records, preparing financial reports, reconciling accounts and completing tax returns. Plus qualified accountants are also capable of evaluating business finances and make recommendations to improve efficiencies or reduce costs.
Then there are some financial documents, such as those submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, that require a compulsory signature from a Certified Public Accountant. Individuals with this certification will definitely attract greater opportunities to advance their career to management positions or specialize in an area of interest, such as forensic accounting or taxation.