How To Become a Professional Accountant in 5 Steps


If you have a passion for math and finance, then you may want to consider a career as an accountant. Accounting is an in-demand field that offers decent pay and job security.

Accountants typically manage financial information for businesses or individuals. They often prepare financial statements and monitor transactions. The accountants’ clients then use this information to make important decisions. Accountants are also responsible for reconciling bank statements, processing payrolls and reviewing budgets.

Before you get a job as an accountant, you will need to meet certain educational requirements. You may also require a certification or license. Here are five steps to help you achieve your goal of becoming an accountant.

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

Most, though not all, accounting jobs require a bachelor’s degree. College courses will teach you the accounting theories and principals you will need to succeed in this career. Some schools offer degrees specifically in accounting, though you could opt to study business administration or finance instead. If you are worried about the cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you should research the different types of student loans.

2. Get an Internship

Companies typically look for accountants with some sort of experience. Internships can help you see exactly what accountants do each day. They also look great on resumes and job applications. Accounting firms often hire their interns as full-time employees, as well. Your college program should help you locate nearby internships.

3. Determine Your Specialty

Through your internship and college classes, you should also learn which parts of accounting you like the best. You can use this information to decide what type of accountant you want to be. For instance, if you enjoy studying records and looking for errors, you could become a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants check financial records for fraud and are often used during investigations and litigation.

There are several other kinds of accounting positions to consider.  You could start a career as a cost accountant who helps businesses become more profitable. You could also focus on auditing.

4. Decide Whether To Get Certified

Depending on what type of accounting job you pursue, you may have to obtain licensing or become a certified public accountant (CPA). Typically, you need to get a CPA license in order to file reports with the Security and Exchange Commission. Even if you do not plan on working with the government, getting certified can give you credibility and help you increase your clientele.

CPAs have to meet additional requirements that regular accountants do not. For instance, CPAs usually must complete an extra 30 hours of college coursework. They also must pass a four-part exam.

You may consider getting other certifications, as well. Some employers may prefer candidates with internal auditor or fraud examination certifications. There are also certifications in risk management assurance, control self-assessment and information systems analysis.

5. Find a Job

Once you have all of the diplomas and certifications that you need, it is time to find an accounting job. Your college classes and internships will likely help you meet others in the industry. You may be able to use these connections to locate a job. There are also various accounting conferences that offer networking opportunities.

Job boards are quite useful, as well. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has a frequently updated job board that you can filter based on your desired salary and qualifications.

Becoming an accountant requires some hard work. You need to complete proper schooling, obtain experience through internships and then find a job. However, the reward for this effort is a steady career that could earn you a lot of money over time.

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