Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors help to ensure that firms are run efficiently, public records kept accurately, and taxes paid properly and on time.

 

Accountant balancing the business books

Accountant balancing the business books

They analyze and communicate financial information for various entities such as companies, individual clients, and Federal, State, and local governments.

Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupation—providing information to clients by preparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents—many accountants also offer budget analysis, financial and investment planning, information technology consulting, and limited legal services.

Where They Work:

Most accountants and auditors work in a typical office setting. Some may be able to do part of their work at home. Accountants and auditors employed by public accounting firms, government agencies, and organizations with multiple locations may travel frequently to perform audits at branches, clients’ places of business, or government facilities.

 

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How Much They Earn:

Median annual wages and salary of accountants and auditors were $59,430 in May 2008. The middle half of the occupation earned between $45,900 and $78,210. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $36,720, and the top 10 percent earned more than $102,380.

Education & Certification

Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Many accountants and auditors choose to obtain certification to help advance their careers, such as becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). As of 2009, 46 States and the District of Columbia required CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework—an additional 30 hours beyond the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree.

Other certifications and advancement might include Certified Management Accountant (CMA) conferred by the Institute of Management Accountants, the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) conferred by the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), the Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), and the Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA).

Job prospects:

Job opportunities are favorable. Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition through certification or other designation, especially a CPA, should have the best job prospects. Applicants with a master’s degree in accounting or a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting also may have an advantage.

 

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