One of the most important effects of the recent economic downturn has been the significant decrease and altogether disappearance of certain careers. For laid-off workers searching for a new path, young adults choosing their first jobs, and individuals considering changing their professions, it is critical to identify which careers are here to stay. Accounting is a profession that promises to remain strong for many years to come, making it a good career to get involved with now.
Throughout the recent past, accounting careers have enjoyed a stable outlook because of a continually consistent need for accounting services. Accountants can find employment in the private sector with individuals and corporations in addition to job opportunities with the government, including with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Government Accountability Office, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. While most accountants, bookkeepers, and auditing clerks work in an office setting, nearly ten percent are able to work from home.
The outlook for accounting jobs and accounting-related positions alike is very favorable, and these careers are expected to grow at an average or above average rate throughout the next decade. The United States Department of Labor anticipates that demand for accounting-related careers such as bookkeeping and auditing clerks will grow by ten percent by 2018. The future is even better for accountants. The number of job opportunities for qualified accountants is expected to increase by twenty percent during the same time frame, creating 279,400 new jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites an increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization’s stakeholders as reasons for the significant growth of the accounting profession. The need for accountants is also attributable to the need to fill previously-held positions as employees retire. Increased demand for accountants and accounting-related careers is expected to occur across both the public and private sectors, meaning a wide variety of positions will continue to be available.
Like the outlook for the number of accounting jobs, accounting salaries in the future also look very promising. The annual median wage for accountants is $61,690, and accountants whose salaries rank in the top twenty-five percentile earn upwards of $80,000. Bookkeepers and auditing clerks earn an average of $34,030, with the top twenty-five percent receiving between $42,000 and $52,000. By contrast, the annual median income for an American is $46,326.
Accountants have traditionally handled a wide variety of tasks depending on the needs of their employers. They carry out financial information-gathering procedures, help clients navigate paying taxes, work in a regulatory capacity to ensure that business laws are adhered to, and even handle the monitoring and investigation of white-collar crimes. Accountants, therefore, can follow a wide variety of career-paths. This means that accounting offers something for everyone, whether a person is seeking a general or extremely specialized position. The outlook is bright for all of these sub-fields.
With the historically stable need for accountants, the predicted abundance of new accounting jobs in the next ten years, and the strong salaries earned by those who belong to this profession, now is a very good time to begin a career in accounting. Heading into the future, the most desirable accounting candidates must have relevant education. Bookkeepers should have a high school diploma, and preferably an associate degree in accounting. Accountants should hold relevant undergraduate degrees, such as a degree in accounting with coursework in related fields such as marketing, computers, economics, or business administration. All Certified Public Accountants must also have passed the CPA exam. For specialized work, additional qualifications and certifications may be necessary.
Candidates seeking to be even more competitive in searching for accounting careers should concentrate on developing skills that will allow them to respond to the new demands on the accounting profession. This includes building a familiarity with computers and accounting-related software and increasing one understanding of current transparency standards. Due to the increased amount of multinational economic activity, there is also an increasing need for accountants who understand international business.
According to the best estimates available, accounting jobs and accounting-related careers will stay very much in demand through the current decade. Salaries promise to remain steady and the median salary for accountants will continue to be nearly fifteen thousand dollars a year above the average median income for individuals in the United States. These factors make pursuing a future in accounting a worthwhile endeavor and a very smart career move.