What are the career opportunities in accounting?

This sector guide will provide you with information on what are the career opportunities in accounting , looks like, What is a career in accounting, career opportunities, How much do they make? and What skills do accounting have?


When contemplating enrollment in an accounting degree program, whether at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, one must carefully consider their ultimate objective: securing enjoyable employment with a substantial salary.

If you find yourself uncertain about your career path, you might be inclined to pursue a different degree. However, there are compelling reasons to opt for accounting as your field of study. In this article, we will explore the various career opportunities that an accounting degree can offer.

What is a career in accounting?

A career in accounting is centered around the meticulous management of financial information for businesses and individuals. Accountants bear the essential responsibility of recording financial transactions, analyzing data, and ensuring adherence to tax laws and regulations.

They play a pivotal role in financial decision-making, providing valuable insights to businesses through activities such as budgeting, cost analysis, and strategic planning. Accountants often specialize in specific areas such as taxation, auditing, or management accounting, tailoring their expertise to meet the distinct needs of their clients or employers.

To pursue a career in accounting, individuals typically pursue formal education in accounting or a related field, equipping themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills. Acquiring professional certifications like CPA or CA further enhances their credibility and expands their career opportunities.

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Accountants can secure employment in public accounting firms, corporations, government agencies, or work independently as consultants. Leveraging their expertise in financial management, accountants make significant contributions to the economic landscape by ensuring the fiscal health and integrity of businesses and organisations.

Top 6 Career opportunities in accounting?

Career opportunities in the field of accounting are diverse, extending beyond traditional roles like bookkeeping or banking. Here are some examples of careers within this sector:

1. Chartered Accountant

Chartered accountants provide a wide range of accountancy services to businesses and individuals. As they gain experience, they can diversify their career by specializing in areas such as auditing, business recovery, or other opportunities within the field.

2. Chartered Management Accountant

These professionals are responsible for preparing and communicating financial data to management teams within organizations. They not only interpret and analyze data but also provide advice on strategies for the future of the business.

3. Chartered Certified Accountant

Chartered certified accountants are highly qualified professionals who offer various accountancy services. They may work across different sectors, including private or public practice and the corporate sector.

4. Chartered Public Finance Accountant

Organizations that manage public funds, such as local councils, government bodies, or charitable trusts, rely on the expertise of chartered public finance accountants. They often complete the CIPFA program, which equips them with the skills needed for these unique organizational needs.

5. Tax Advisor

Tax specialists work with both individuals and companies to optimize their tax arrangements. They may specialize in areas such as business tax (corporate tax, VAT, international tax) or personal arrangements (National Insurance, trusts, estates).

6. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants are employed to investigate cases involving fraudulent use of funds. They trace missing money, determine steps for recovery, and may investigate financial misrepresentation. In cases of illegal activity, they may provide evidence and testify in court.

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These diverse career options highlight the versatility and broad application of accounting and finance expertise across various industries and sectors.

What post graduate career opportunities are available in accounting?

Post graduate career options for accounting graduates provide avenues for further specialization and career advancement. While many graduates enter the workforce immediately due to the high demand for their skills, some choose to pursue advanced studies for various reasons.

1. Professional Qualifications

Graduates aspiring to become certified accountants often pursue professional qualifications like ACCA, AAT, or CIMA after graduation. These qualifications are typically pursued alongside work, allowing individuals to apply real-world experiences to their coursework, enhancing their understanding of accounting principles and practices.

2. MSc in Accounting

For individuals aiming to achieve chartered status, pursuing a Master of Science (MSc) in Accounting can expedite their progress. This program covers essential modules required for certifications such as ACCA. Importantly, it is accessible to students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds, making it an ideal choice for those with general degrees in subjects like business.

3. Specialized Master's Degrees

Beyond general accounting programs, there are specialized master's degrees tailored to specific areas such as forensic accounting, auditing, or taxation. These programs allow graduates to delve deeper into their areas of interest and expertise within the accounting field.

4. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Accounting

Graduates with a passion for research and a desire to contribute to the academic community may choose to pursue a Ph.D. in accounting. A Ph.D. in Accounting can lead to teaching positions in higher education institutions and research roles in both academia and industry, focusing on advancing the understanding of accounting practices and theory.

These postgraduate study options in accounting not only offer avenues for specialization but also provide opportunities for career growth, enabling graduates to stay abreast of industry developments and contribute meaningfully to the dynamic field of accounting.

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What skills are acquired in accounting?

Whether you're just embarking on your accounting and finance studies or contemplating your first job after graduation, it's crucial to recognize the skills you'll have developed during your academic journey. Graduates in accounting and finance possess the ability to:

  • Collaborate effectively within a team setting.
  • Master and implement intricate accounting procedures.
  • Analyze data to draw meaningful conclusions and devise solutions based on that analysis.
  • Source relevant data from appropriate channels for comprehensive analysis.
  • Demonstrate independence, especially while pursuing certified qualifications.
  • Manipulate numerical and financial data adeptly, and interpret statistics with precision.
  • Utilize relevant IT software for data management and analysis.

Comprehend the broader context of accountancy within the business realm, including its connection to capital markets, legal matters, and the public sector.

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How much do they make?

The salary of an accountant is typically determined by their level of experience and specialization. Those starting out in entry-level positions can expect an average annual salary of $30,824, while experienced accountants with significant expertise may earn up to $94,000.

Final Thoughts

Initially, pursuing a degree in accounting might seem to narrow down your career options. However, the ability to analyze, manipulate, and interpret numbers and financial data is highly sought after in various fields and industries. Whether you plan to work in accounting, banking, or an entirely unrelated sector, your accounting degree, whether at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, equips you with essential skills and qualities valued by employers.

If you have a knack for numbers and a keen interest in the business world, there's no reason to hold back. Your skills are valuable and versatile. Don't hesitate to explore the opportunities ahead. Seize the opportunity and explore our What career opportunities are with a business degree?.