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! 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. 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:

Job Title Job Summary Median Pay
Partner – Accounting Firm Highest executive of an accounting firm that is responsible for directing and determining all of its projects and activities. $124,800
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Oversees the financial operations of an organization and provides leadership to accounting departments to ensure laws and policies are being followed. $117,794
Finance Director Leadership position that is responsible for leading financial teams and creating strategies regarding a company’s finances. $106,987
Tax Manager Works within an organization to manage all tax reporting and compliance with local, state, and federal tax laws. $97,152
Corporate Controller Overseer of all of the financial and accounting functions within their organization. $94,474
Director of Finance and Administration High-level position that oversees the daily financial and administrative activity for a company. $81,107
Director of Operations Ensures that operational processes stay within budgets and timelines and works to standardize all aspects of operations. $100,465
Finance Manager Develops and monitors departmental budgets to make financial forecasts for their company. $96,449
Financial Controller Manages several financial departments within a company and is responsible for completing and submitting financial paperwork. $83,452
Senior Financial Analyst Manages and trains teams of analysts to compile data and organize presentations for senior management. $82,900
Assistant Controller Manages daily accounts activities and oversees internal auditing for an organization. $77,990
Senior Tax Accountant Managerial role that is responsible for producing tax returns for individual clients and businesses. $75,070
Senior Auditor Conducts audits for companies to ensure compliance in financial and operational areas. $74,258
Accounting Manager Develops and implements systems that gather, analyze, and report financial information. $75,113
Senior Accountant Works to keep a company financially organized and is responsible for managing an accounting team. $69,696
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Handles accounting, taxes, and audit processes for governments, corporations, or individuals. $70,617
Accounting Supervisor Manages and collaborates with an accounting team and provides support for a business’s accounting department. $68,049
Business Manager Manages financial operations and ensures that employee efforts support the company’s goals. $63,813
Budget Analyst Provides assistance and analysis to a company during the development of a budget. $64,880
Financial Analyst Studies market trends, demographics, and economic factors to help a company make smart investments. $68,778
Tax Associate Ensures that their company is reporting finances and submitting tax paperwork in compliance with laws and regulations. $58,300
Internal Auditor Conducts internal audits within a company to identify strengths and weaknesses within the organization. $66,290
Auditor Checks the accuracy of a business’s records and prepares reports related to audit activities. $64,375
Tax Accountant Specializes in preparing and submitting tax documents for individual clients or private and public companies. $63,574
Accountant Works within a wide range of fields by performing financial calculations and generating reports for their business. $55,405
Enrolled Agent Acts as an intermediary for citizens and private businesses when interacting with the IRS. $49,425
Staff Accountant Responsible for maintaining a balanced budget and ensuring a company’s financial statements are prepared and audited. $53,864
Office Manager Responsible for coordinating office organization, preparing budgets, and supervising clerical staff. $48,661
Accounting Specialist Handles a business’s daily financial activities and executes accounting strategies. $46,536
Administrative Coordinator Provides support to company employees, supervises the staff, and helps manage the company’s budget. $45,697
Accounts Payable Specialist Works with all facets of the accounting system to validate, process, and file invoices. $44,842
Accounts Payable Coordinator Accounting role within an organization that is responsible for facilitating the paying of the company’s bills. $45,442
Entry-level Staff Accountant Works within the financial industry to look over a company’s finances and assist with auditing and taxes. $45,063
Bookkeeper Works with a company to ensure that decisions are made that support keeping finances under control. $43,496
Tax Preparer Assists individuals and organizations with writing and submitting an accurate yearly income tax return to the IRS. $44,147
Accounting Assistant Responsible for handling tasks that support a company in its day to day accounting duties. $41,167
Administrative Assistant Responsible for secretarial duties that include accounting, data entry, billing, and record keeping. $39,777
Accounts Assistant Works as part of the team that is responsible for maintaining finances within their company. $37,932
Accounting Clerk Records account data, balances entries, and makes adjustments to a company’s financial records. $39,400
Accounts Payable Clerk Works for an accounting firm or department and coordinates various accounts payable functions for their organization. $38,872

*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. 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.

What is an Accounting Degree?

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.

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

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.

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 a career 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!

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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.