How to Become An Accountant
The impressions of accountancy, like carbon in the environment, have always existed in every field of profession, marking its significance in commerce. Becoming an accountant has never been difficult due to the plethora of employment opportunities in the market worldwide. Acquiring adequate knowledge in various accounting principles and practices, just to form a foundation for an individual's professional development, has been well taken care of by the widespread scope of education in accounting. With the rising demand for accountants within the businesses in the market, an increased amount of individuals are opting for a profession in the field of accounting.
Competition amongst accountants in the professional market
Today, due to the availability of advanced studies, including specialization courses in several sub-sectors of accounting, the number of accounting professionals within the market is increasing gradually, thus giving rise to a fair amount of competition amongst the candidates within the industry. Continuous research in the financial and accounting sector greatly contributes to the number of jobs available within the market for accounting and finance professionals, providing the jobseekers with an increased amount of opportunities for employment and growth. However, since the amount of employment seekers exceeds the number of jobs available in the market, a few candidates are left unemployed, though not for a long time.
In order to become an accountant, you need to take up academic courses in either of the following sectors of accounting:
- Management accounting - Involves providing accounting information to the management of an organization to make concrete business decisions
- Public accounting - Involves providing a wide range of accounting services including auditing, tax auditing, and consultation to the general public, which also includes non-profit organizations and individuals
- Governmental accounting - Non-commercial accounting practices involving budgets and financial encumbrances, referring to several accounting systems used within public sector entities
- Internal audit - Involves the monitoring of accounting and financial activities of an organization or an entity and suggesting suitable measures to increase the effectiveness of its financial system, while ensuring its adherence to accounting principles and policies
Acquiring the educational qualification for becoming an accountant is quite easy, for you are bound to find several institutions and universities within the country and abroad, offering various short term as well as long term courses on accountancy and related disciplines. Following are a few bachelor's degree courses available:
- BS in Accounting/ Business
- Bachelor of Public Accounting
- Accounting Associates Degree
- Bachelor of Business Administration: Accounting
- B.Sc. in Business Accounting Technology
- B.Sc. in Accounting and Associate of Occupational Studies
Besides, you are also bound to find plenty of short term associate courses such as:
- Diploma in Accounting and Statistics
- Certification in Bookkeeping
- Education in Accounting Ethics
- Accounting Associates Degree - Financial Investigation
- Accounting Associates Degree - Financial Accounting
Four year bachelor degree courses in accountancy and associated studies efficiently shape you to become eligible for job applications. Completing two year associate degree programs is most likely to get you a job as an accounting clerk in multi-national companies and corporations. It is recommended that you also check the availability of any core accounting modules while enquiring about educational courses in universities, colleges, and business schools.
The advantage of internship programs
Working part-time during your academic period or undergoing internship programs during or after completion of the course will serves as a perfect channel for earning the privilege to apply for more challenging positions. There are a few educational institutions that offer four year degree courses in various sub-disciplines of accountancy, including a 6 or 12 months internship program. Successfully completing an internship program enables you to become an active competitor in the industry. Besides, working while you are being pottered to perfection will enable you to establish a strong foundation for your career growth. Internships in accounting are certainly counted as valid professional experience, ultimately helping you to become a skilled accountant.
Higher education in accountancy will significantly enhance your productivity, developing your skills and widening your knowledge within the field of accounting. Completing postgraduate programs in accountancy and various specialization courses acts as a fulcrum for your advancement, widening the scope for growth within the profession. Almost all educational institutions, universities, and business schools that offer undergraduate degree programs in accounting, also offer postgraduate programs and specialization courses. It is often observed that educational bodies demand that you possess a specified amount of work experience in order to be eligible for studying the course. Following are a few master's degree courses that are available for you:
- M.S. in Accounting: Controllership
- M.S. in Accountancy
- M.Sc. in Accounting
- Masters in Accounting and Financial Management
Besides, there are several business schools that offer specialization courses such as:
- Computerized Accounting
- Business Management and Accounting Technology: Forensic Accounting
- Business Applications Management: Accounting
- Applied Science in Business Management and Accounting
- M.S. in Accounting: Audit/Tax Specialization
- M.S. in Accounting - Government Specialization
Becoming a Certified Public Accountant
Once you have successfully acquired the essential qualifications to be an accountant, you may choose to appear for the uniformed CPA exam, set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, under the supervision of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Once you have successfully completed 5 years of education in accounting (150 hours of academics in accountancy), you become eligible for taking the CPA exam, upon clearing of which you will become a CPA. Although you do not required to possess any work experience, it is greatly advised that you work for a substantial amount of time before you appear for the examination.
You can choose to become an accountant or a CPA, which will lead you towards excellence within various sectors of accounting such as financial planning, income tax, venture capital, tax planning, forensic accounting, financial accounting and analysis, estate planning, corporate governance, corporate finance, attestation services, management consulting etc.