What Can You Do With An Accounting Degree?

An accounting degree opens many doors. What can you do with an accounting degree? Let’s explore all your options for accounting major jobs.

TCM Staff

23rd December 2021

Not all degrees are created equal when it comes to job prospects. While a history degree is fulfilling in other ways, it might not get you to a lucrative career as quickly as an accounting degree. What can you do with an accounting degree? 

Well for starters, you can secure a job right after college. Accountants will always be needed, so the industry has relative stability. An accounting degree job is easy to find, and there are plenty of careers for accounting majors. The accounting industry is expected to grow by 4% in the next 10 years. And, the median accountant salary is a nice, stable $71,550, as of 2019. 

If you’re curious about the jobs you can get with an accounting degree, read on. We’ll cover what jobs you can get with an accounting degree and the average salaries for each to help you understand just how great an accounting degree job can be!

Photo of elf saying that he loves accounting

accounting degree memeSource-sayingimages.com

What is Accounting?  

In simple terms, accounting is keeping track of a bunch of numbers. More specifically, accounting is a financial process that covers recording and reporting financial transactions for an individual or business. It also entails using financial strategies and knowledge of tax laws to help minimize tax burden and save money. 

Before you can access jobs with accounting degrees, you’ll have to enroll and complete an accounting degree program at a college or university. There, you’ll learn about a range of accounting topics like:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Budgeting
  • Financial reporting and accounting
  • Business strategy
  • Information systems and recordkeeping
  • Tax laws and regulations

Which schools can lead you to an accounting major job? Here are a few examples of the top accounting schools in the US:

What jobs can you get with an accounting degree? Let’s see which jobs each type of accounting degree can lead you to. 

 

Levels of Accounting Degrees and Accounting Degree Jobs 

Associate’s Degree in Accounting

An associate’s in accounting degree is typically a two-year degree with full-time study and provides a good introduction to the field. Most associate accounting degree programs require a high school diploma or GED as a prerequisite. Some topics you’ll learn about include the fundamentals of accounting, financial investigation, business ethics, business law, financial markets and institutions, and personal finance. 

With an associate’s degree, you can get your foot in the door of careers for accounting majors; however, you won’t be able to secure most jobs until you achieve your bachelor’s.

What can I do with an accounting degree (associate)? Here are some jobs you might consider:

Job

Median Salary

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)

Bookkeeper

$42,410 

-3%

Accounting Clerk

$42,410 

-3%

Auditing Clerk

$42,410 

-3%

 

Photo of person at a desk reviewing financial records.

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

A bachelor's degree in accounting is a 4-year degree that teaches you about basic and intermediate accounting. Some courses you’ll cover include cost accounting, strategic management, investments and securities, risk management, and intermediate financial accounting. 

A bachelor’s degree in accounting opens up more doors for you in the accounting industry. Here are some jobs you can get with an accounting degree (bachelor’s):

Job

Median Salary

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)

Financial Analyst

$83,660 

6%

Financial Advisor

$89,330

5%

Accountant

$73,560

7%

Auditor

$73,560

7%

Tax Revenue Agent

$55,640

-4%

Budget Analyst

$78,970

5%

Financial Examiner

$81,430 

18%

 

Master’s Degree 

A master’s degree in accounting degree is an advanced accounting qualification, and for most professionals, it’s the last stop. You’ll need to set aside an extra 1-2 years for your master’s and that’s only after you complete your bachelor’s degree. Some topics you’ll learn about include: auditing, accounting information systems, corporate accounting, forensic accounting, and advanced research into all general accounting courses.  

Here are some jobs you can get with an accounting degree (master’s):



Job

Median Salary

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)

Forensic Accountant

$73,560

7%

Managerial Accountant

$134,180

17%

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

$107,680

8%

Financial Controller

$134,180

17%

Accountant

$73,560

7%

Auditor

$73,560

7%

Ph.D. in Accounting 

A Ph.D. in accounting is the highest accounting degree you can get. Most students who pursue an accounting degree at the doctoral level are interested in conducting research or teaching at the university level. Your course topics will vary but you’ll certainly have to write a dissertation on an approved accounting topic. 

It may take about 3-5 years to earn this degree, depending on your research work. And, you must be already equipped with both a bachelor and master’s degree.  

Here are some jobs you can get with an accounting degree (doctoral):

Job

Median Salary

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)

Accounting Professor

$80,560

12%

Public Policy Researcher

$125,350

9%

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

$107,680

8%

 

Careers in Accounting 

Now that we have a solid list of careers with accounting degrees and median salaries, let’s look closely at what each accounting degree job entails. 

Certified Public Accountant 

A certified public accountant (CPA) is an accountant that has a bachelor’s degree and that has passed certain certification exams to receive the CPA designation. You will often see CPAs in accountant and auditor roles. Their main responsibilities consist of preparing financial records, assessing record accuracy, and ensuring that taxes are paid properly. Many CPAs also work in international accounting and provide consulting services. 

 

Photo of students in a lecture hall for accounting class.

Financial Analyst 

Financial Analysts use data to determine the potential risk and benefits of investments, helping their company or client make informed financial choices. They prepare reports and make recommendations based on data and market trends on whether clients should engage in purchasing or selling an investment holding. 

Financial Advisor 

Financial advisors help individuals and families choose investments, set up retirement accounts, and navigate their finances in major life changes. Advisors will guide you by looking at the current market trends and your personal finance history to encourage you to prepare for your financial future properly. 

Forensic Accountant 

A forensic examiner looks closely at the evidence in a crime, seeking fingerprints, hairs, DNA, and other indications of the perpetrator’s identity. A forensic accountant is similar, except they’re examining financial records like transactions, liabilities, tax documents, and receipts for evidence of fraud. Their main responsibilities are to determine if a company or person falsified their bookkeeping documents, provide evidence for court cases, produce calculations for insurance companies to determine amounts owed, and compute estate tax valuations. 

Bookkeeper

A bookkeeper helps individuals and businesses manage their accounting by recording transactions, creating financial statements, and overseeing accounting ledgers. Most bookkeepers don’t make the same amount of money as an accountant, but you can become a bookkeeper without a bachelor’s degree. 

Financial Manager 

A financial manager leads other financial professionals like bookkeepers and accountants to provide accounting services to a company or individual. Some of their responsibilities include managing budgets, preparing reports, providing strategic financial advice, cultivating relationships with clients, and evaluating data. 

 

Conclusion 

What can you do with an accounting degree? Clearly, there are many career prospects for someone who pursues accounting. A master’s degree in accounting will earn you some of the top accountant salaries, while a PhD will best equip you for a career in research or post-secondary teaching.

Check out some of our other blogs below to learn more about accounting majors and job prospects. 

Blogs You May Be Interested In:

Accounting Degree Requirements

Accounting Scholarships 

Master’s in Accounting Degree Requirements

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