Accounting Careers

Accounting has always been in demand and is predicted to continue to be one of the top positions in business.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for accountants may lead to good prospects for entry-level positions.

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Accountants and auditors – 10%

Financial specialists – 10%

Total, all occupations – 7%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

The field of accounting is broken down into three general categories:  private, public, and non-profit or government.  Private accounting includes career paths as a: financial accountant, cost accountant, managerial accountant, budget accountant, tax accountant, accounting information systems, internal audit, controller, CFO.

Public accounting includes these career paths:  external auditor, tax consultant, and management consultant.

Working for the government an accountant serves under entities and agencies.  In non-profits accountants work for cooperative or charitable institutions. The accounting tasks, procedures and guidelines are different in government and nonprofit accounting compared to private and public accounting. As such, accountants in this field may be required to study, specialize and gain experience in government or not for profit accounting.

Many accountants are employed by the “Big Four” – Deloitte, EY (formerly Ernst & Young), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – and public accounting firms of all sizes.  Others work for corporate accounting firms (from Fortune 500 to small, family-owned businesses), government, or nonprofit organizations.  Some go on to own their own firms or teach.

Core functions of accounting include:  accounting, auditing, assurance, and tax.  Accountants work for a wide range of both public and private clients and perform a number of different services from financial document verification to business consultation.  A career and education is also a good foundation for other careers, e.g. financial planning or banking.

To learn more about a career in accounting or related field, check out The Vault Guide to Accounting, 2nd Edition.

Job Searching in This Industry

Some of the best ways to search for jobs include company Web sites, social-media sites, industry and association job sites, professional associations, networking, college recruiting programs, recruiters, industry conferences, and information interviewing. Be sure to tap into all these resources to increase your chances of landing a job.

Company websites:

Here are a few examples of job-search resources provided by employers:

Recruiting firms also provide job search resources. For example:

Note:  Web sites change often, so be sure to check back frequently with your target employers for the latest information.

Social Media: 

LinkedIn.com is the most popular social-media site for accounting industry job hunters. At LinkedIn, you can create an online profile, network with recruiters and accounting professionals, join industry groups.  Here are some tips for creating a strong linkedin profile.

Industry-Specific Job Search Resources

Here’s a sampling of popular industry Web sites and publications:

Here are some general job sites that provide accounting job listings:

Join Professional Organizations to grow your network and continue to grow professionally.

By Heidi Wrighton
Heidi Wrighton Heidi Wrighton