What Can You Do With an Accounting Degree?

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For those students with a knack for mathematics, organization, and leadership, an Accounting degree can be an excellent starting point to pursue a lucrative business career!

Accounting Careers

From working as an administrative professional in the corporate setting to high-level executive accounting roles, there are many ways to use your Accounting degree across a variety of different industries. Those in the field of accounting typically work in an office or business setting to assist organizations in handling their financial responsibilities and meeting compliance standards with relevant laws and regulations.

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Whether you want to work in taxes, accounts receivable, or have your sights set on an executive position, there are several career paths that Accounting graduates can pursue. To help you understand the different occupations available after graduating from an Accounting degree program, we have put together a list of 40 popular career choices and their average annual salaries:

Careers Annual Median Salary
Partner – Accounting Firm $124,800
Chief Financial Officers (CFO) $208,000
Finance Directors $131,710
Operations Manager $97,970
Tax Manager $97,152
Finance Manager $96,449
Corporate Controller $94,474
Financial Controller $83,452
Senior Financial Analyst $82,900
Director of Finance and Administration $81,107
Assistant Controller $77,990
Accounting Manager $75,113
Senior Tax Accountant $75,070
Senior Auditor $74,258
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) $70,617
Senior Accountant $69,696
Financial Analyst $68,778
Accounting Supervisor $68,049
Internal Auditor $66,290
Budget Analyst $64,880
Auditor $64,375
Business Manager $63,813
Tax Accountant $63,574
Tax Associate $58,300
Accountant $55,405
Staff Accountant $53,864
Enrolled Agent $49,425
Office Manager $48,661
Accounting Specialist $46,536
Administrative Coordinator $45,697
Accounts Payable Coordinator $45,442
Entry-level Staff Accountant $45,063
Accounts Payable Specialist $44,842
Tax Preparer $44,147
Bookkeeper $43,496
Accounting Assistant $41,167
Administrative Assistant $39,777
Accounting Clerk $39,400
Accounts Payable Clerk $38,872
Accounts Assistant $37,932

*Data sourced through Payscale.com

What Can You Do With an Accounting Degree?

As you can see from the extensive career list above, there are a number of different career paths associated with the field of accounting.

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As an accountant, your typical job duties will include reconciling and managing financial accounts, generating reports, and helping an organization stay on top of their financial obligations to ensure success in the marketplace. After graduating with an Accounting degree, most people start their careers in entry-level positions, such as accounting assistants or clerks.

Once working in the accounting industry, there are ample opportunities to work your way up the corporate ladder to rewarding executive or managerial positions. The average annual pay of those working in accounting is often above the national average across all occupations, as reflected in the table above. Those who have reached upper-level job positions within an industry could have the potential to make over six-figures a year!

While the numbers shown in the above career table represent the average annual pay for specific occupations, you may make more or less based upon your unique skillset and experience in accounting. Also, accounting is considered to be one of the best careers for moms going back to college

What Is an Accounting Degree?

Senior Tax Accountant working in his office

An accounting degree can be earned at a number of different levels, including associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees. Typically, the more education you have, the greater the chance of landing job positions that offer higher salaries.

It is also important to note the difference between Finance and Accounting degree programs. While both degrees have overlap in the skills learned and potential career paths, accounting is typically more focused on helping a business manage and track their current financial situation. Finance professionals, on the other hand, specialize in utilizing data to make financial reports and projections for the future of their organization.

Throughout the course of your Accounting degree program, you will take several classes that help you obtain the skills needed to succeed within the competitive business environment. These courses may include:

  • Accounting Theory and Applications
  • Corporate Finances
  • Laws and Ethics of Business
  • Financial Planning and Analysis
  • Accounting Information Systems

After graduation from an Accounting program, you will also be prepared to sit for a number of professional certification exams that can give you specialized credentials that are useful when applying to a number of different career fields.

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For adult students that need more flexibility in their schedule while earning their degree, several of the top colleges across the nation are offering online accounting degree programs. This unique opportunity to earn your degree from home is perfect for adults that need to balance their education with prior career or family obligations.

Accounting Career Outlook

Two Financial Controllers working together

Accountants and financial professionals have a vital role in the success of any business or organization. By helping their company manage the financial aspects of their operation, accountants ensure that all laws and regulations are being followed and that the business’s financial obligations are being met in a timely manner.

Due to this continued need within the business industry, the career outlook for those looking to enter into the accounting field is overall positive. According to information provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors are expected to have an 4% occupational growth between the years 2019 and 2029.

Those who are interested in other areas of business and financial operations can expect to see an 5% growth in this same timeframe. Much like with careers in architecture, with growth rates at or above the national average and well-above average annual salaries, the job market is looking very positive for those looking to explore career ideas in accounting.

From entry-level accountant positions to financial directors and controllers, there is a world of opportunity out there for students working towards on-campus or online accounting degrees!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.