In the world of business, the landscape of the accounting field is changing along with technology. Companies are also changing the way they handle their accounting tasks by outsourcing to private firms rather than employing a dedicated accounting staff. According to AccountancyAge.com’s Josh Rufus in “Why Are Accountants in Demand in 2018?” large accounting consultancy firms will be in the market for applicants with a thorough understanding of modern accounting software to meet this shifting demand.
IT expertise that goes beyond software experience will be highly sought after as well. The field of accounting has become much more than bookkeeping and taxes. Technological achievements such as cloud computing, data analytics and blockchain ledger-keeping are becoming the norm in contemporary business practices. In his Forbes article, “Accounting Trends of Tomorrow,” Nick Chandi stresses that the next generation of accountants will be expected to be familiar with accounting applications in these new areas.
Advanced education can help prospective and established accountants learn these technological skills. Prospective students interested in pursuing a professional accountancy career may need to maintain their professional and family responsibilities as they earn their graduate degree. The same technology that is expanding the accounting industry also allows students to earn a graduate education while meeting their other responsibilities through a master’s in accountancy online.
Accountancy Career Paths Depend on Desired Direction
A master’s in accountancy (M.Acc.) degree opens up a variety of positions in public, industry and government accounting. Responsibilities may include anything from auditing to tax preparation, financial analysis, compliance, software development, and bookkeeping.
Stereotypes often paint accountants as impersonal introverts. In fact, the opposite is often true, especially in light of the ever-broadening lineup of accounting careers.
“Accounting is a broad profession in which an array of personality types and skill sets can achieve success,” Greg Depersio writes in “Accounting: Career Path & Qualifications” on Investopedia.com. “It is true that many people who gravitate to accounting are math whizzes who might never thrive in sales careers, but equally as many are dynamic extroverts who use their accounting degrees as springboards to people-centric careers such as management consulting.”
Accountancy professionals who prefer the traditional number-crunching aspect of the field may gravitate more toward bookkeeping and tax-related activities. Others, though, may choose more interactive careers such as entertainment production accountancy or finance director.
Primary career paths open to graduates of an M.Acc. program run the gamut from controller to chief financial officer on a company’s board of directors. In “5 Most In-Demand Accounting Jobs,” TopAccountingDegrees.org lists the most popular career paths in the industry:
- Financial Analyst: A company’s financial success depends largely on the quality of its financial analysts, who scrutinize past and present financial records, business trends and the state of the economy. They then make recommendations based on their analysis aimed at improving or expanding the organization.
- Auditor: Financial statements, especially of publicly owned companies, are subject to many government laws and regulations. Auditors tend to work side-by-side with accountants to ensure that all of their organization’s (or client’s) financial documents are in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations, and that all tax documents are filed correctly and on time.
- Staff Accountant: Monthly reports, income tax forms, financial documents and general bookkeeping all fall under the purview of staff accountants, who typically work for private or public companies, nonprofit 501c3 organizations, government agencies, or accounting firms. Some staff accountants may also fill billing, accounts receivable and accounts payable positions within larger corporations.
- Controller: Even when all analyses, forms, statements and financial documents are flawlessly handled, an organization’s financial stability must be maintained by someone responsible for summarizing current standings and predicting future performance. Controllers oversee those obligations and also supervise auditing, accounting and budgetary departments within their company.
- Bookkeeper: One small error in a large organization’s books can lead to huge problems. Someone in the company needs to look over financial transactions, financial records, expenditures, and profit and loss statements with a proverbial magnifying glass to make sure they are all accurate.
Other interesting accounting career paths for M.Acc. degree holders (many of which are offshoots of the primary career options) include payroll clerk, accounting manager, environmental accountant, spectator sports accountant, cost estimator, budget analyst, compliance analyst, treasury analyst, personal financial advisor, credit analyst, finance director and forensic accountant, according to “40 Top Paying Accounting Jobs” on Accounting-Degree.org.
Students considering a master’s degree program in accountancy should review the wide range of career options available and understand their skills and professional strengths before embarking on an educational path.
University of North Dakota’s Master of Accountancy Online Program
Technological advancements and the long-lasting effects of the 2008 recession have prompted business leaders to seek more highly skilled and well-trained accountancy professionals to maintain vigilance over corporate finances and practices, making those with M.Acc. degrees highly valued in the job market.
To prepare accountants to meet that demand, University of North Dakota’s online M.Acc. program immerses students in advanced accounting concepts, contracts, negotiable instruments, ethics, business law, analyses of financial statements, complex transactions and risk assessment.
With a specific career goal in sight, prospective accountancy graduate students can choose their preferred concentration. University of North Dakota (UND) is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), placing it in the top 5% of schools across the world. For more information, visit UND’s website.
Why Are Accountants in Demand in 2018? – AccountancyAge.com
Accounting Trends of Tomorrow – Forbes
Accountant: Career Path & Qualifications – Investopedia.com
5 Most In-Demand Accounting Jobs – TopAccountingDegrees.org
40 Top Paying Accounting Jobs – Accounting-Degree.org