How to Become an Accountant

This article provides in-depth information into What is an Accountant? What Accountant do? Degrees for Accountant, Steps to become Accountant and much more.

An Accountant is a person who accomplishes tasks related to accounting such as auditing or financial statement analysis. An accountant is qualified to compile, review, interpret as well as report financial statements and tax revenues that comply with governmental and supervisory authority requirements.

What does an Accountant do ?

Accountant fulfils a wide range of work related to accounting, auditing, tax and consulting duties. Clients include corporations, government, and individuals. The job role of an accountant includes a wide range of responsibilities, some of them are as mentioned below

  • Regulate and maintain payroll data, also develop and processes monthly payrolls.
  • Interact with both internal and external auditors in completing audits.
  • Describe billing statements and accounting procedures to staff, vendors, and customers
  • Analyse and evaluate budgets and expenses for local, state, federal and private funding, review agreements, and grants
  • Provide turnover statements such as profit and loss, also estimate closing and cost reports of a month.
  • Evaluate revenue and outlay trends and recommend suitable budget levels, and certify expenditure control
  • Compile and evaluate financial data to prepare accesses to accounts, such as general ledger accounts, and document business transactions
  • Resolve accounting differences
  • Establish, maintain, and coordinate the operation of accounting and accounting control procedures
  • Recommend, develop and maintain financial databases, computer software systems, and manual filing systems

Steps for becoming an Accountant


Earn The Right Degree

A bachelor degree in Accounting or any related field is the minimum educational consideration for students planning to become a CPA. An advanced degree related to financial reporting, taxes, auditing and non-accounting business areas is required above a bachelor degree as a requirement in some states. Accounting and related areas commonly require a total of 150 credit hours. Each student applying for CPA need to check the specific educational requirements in their jurisdiction. Many CPAs also continue their post-secondary education and earn a master’s degree.


Pick A Specialty

All accountants and CPAs specialize in one or more area of practice virtually. Public accounting and corporate or business accounting are the two general areas of specialization. Environmental accounting, internal auditing, managerial accounting, and taxes are sub-specializations available. The specialty you select coincides with the accounting degree you earned.


Choose Among Accounting And CPA

The difference between an accountant and certified public accountant is that accountant are individuals hired to work in accounting departments of business but lack some qualifications of a CPA.  Accountants can perform certain limited tasks, such as the preparation of financial statements, tax returns.

A certified public accountant needs to meet certain specific requirements which include earning a college degree, passing all parts of the CPA exam, and working for a set number of hours under the supervision of an actively licensed CPA. CPAs perform all tasks of a public accountant; however, it includes additional works such as conduct audits, review statements, and represent clients before the IRS.


Pass CPA Exam

Candidates appearing for CPA must pass all four parts of the CPA exam irrespective of the state. The mentioned four parts include Audit and Attestation; Financial Accounting and Reporting; Regulation; and Business Environment and Concepts. The CPA exam is presented during the first two months of every quarter, and typically over the course of several days.


Land An Entry-Level Job

Candidates should try to get an accounting internship or any means to get some experience to make the resume more reliable. A regular check on school’s job listing, networking opportunities, and visit both local and national job search sites play an important role. Also search out sites created especially for new grads, such as


Look For Continuing Education Opportunities

Receiving a certification in an accounting specialization or a master’s degree in accounting can help boost career climbing, and if you haven’t earned your CPA, it’s something you may want to look at down the road.

Accountant Salaries


Accountant Degree Levels


Bachelor’s degree is ideal for students planning to become Certified Public Accountants (CPA). Graduates of an accounting degree program will have a detailed and complete knowledge of the business cycle and the accounting principles governing responsible practices. 

Students pursuing bachelor’s degree are enlightened in areas such as

Forensic Accounting
  • Applied in a complex financial transaction

  • Prepares students describe business matters

  • Provides skills applicable to the various workplace

  • Critical thinking

  • Essential business knowledge

  • Financial Advisement

Accounting Finance
  • Combines investment and business strategies

  • Teaches financial theories and principles

  • Optimizes an organizational financial asset

  • Finance management

  • Financial management

  • Networking

Financial Planning
  • Examines financial market and ethics

  • Focuses on wealth management

  • Performs financial regulations

  • Preparing financial statements

  • Internal auditing

  • Financial advisement


Students planning to become a CPAs or aspiring to high-level accounting positions within competitive firms should focus on Master’s in Accounting as it is an ideal program for becoming a CPA. Students from an accounting background can complete this degree in one year. Programs in master’s degree offer students an option to complete an intensive internship program, providing hands-on experience and opportunities to make valuable contacts within the industry.

  • Provides strong auditing background

  • Behavioral and ethical concerns about auditing

  • Use adequate technical techniques

  • Critical thinking

  • Data mining

  • Auditing

Corporate Finance
  • Build knowledge of managerial economics

  • Deals with capital budgeting

  • Focus on Monetary policies.

  • Budgeting

  • Designing accounting procedures

  • Include information technology in accounting

Investments and Securities
  • Includes core subjects of business

  • Deals with managerial economics

  • Also manages capital budgeting

  • Risk management

  • Critical thinking

  • Design and manage accounting procedures


Students who receive an accounting certificate will learn foundational skills that are vital to their career. Certificates offer students with preparation for specific jobs and acts as stepping stones to college degrees. 

Undergraduate Certificate programs provide a choice for students interested in finding entry-level jobs in accounting that do not require a degree. Undergraduate accounting certificates frequently introduce subjects such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, corporate finance and financial reporting and analysis

Managerial Accounting
  • Maintain accounting records manually

  • Prepare financial statements

  • Evaluate financial performance

  • Financial analysis

  • Financial maintenance

  • Critical thinking

Fundamentals of financial accounting
  • Introduction to financial accounting

  • Financial statement

  • Ethical responsibility

  • Financial analysis

  • Data mining

  • Ethical responsibility

Federal Taxation
  • Theoretical and practical preparation of tax

  • Detailed presentation

  • Preparation of federal income tax for individuals

  • Data mining

  • Taxation

  • Presentation skills


An associate degree in accounting can be completed in 1-2 years based on the preference of part or full-time education.

An associate degree covers a wide range of relevant fields such as basic accounting principles, fundamentals of taxation, payroll accounting, and personal finance. Other topics relevant to accounting are also included, such as micro/macroeconomics, business law, and accounting technology.

Financial Accounting
  • Interpret Financial Accounting Information

  • Use external and Internal sources for evaluation

  • Keep track of financial activities in a firm

  • Critical thinking

  • Balancing accounting

  • Financial organization

Managerial Accounting
  • Explores financial impact

  • Assess the past and improve the performance

  • Provide data for managers to make decisions

  • Financial benefit of new business practice
  • Balancing accounts

  • Payroll management

  • Financial statement analysis

  • Budgeting
Intermediate accounting
  • Extends financial knowledge of a student

  • Works on a theoretical framework

  • Review of accounting cycles

  • Prepare financial statements

  • Critical thinking

  • Data mining

  • Payroll management

  • Financial statement analysis


This takes a duration of 4-5 years of full-time study. Students interested to pursue academia or research within accounting can opt Ph.D.

Accounting and Business
  • Consist of Advanced Decision Models

  • Theoretical grip on Business Management

  • Knowledge of Advanced Financial Reporting
  • Financial management

  • Forensic accounting

  • Financial Analysis

Economics and Statics
  • Introduction to linear statistical models

  • Game theory and applications

  • Deals with Probability

  • Deeper understanding

  • Complex research skills

  • Psychological perspective

Research Methods
  • Behavioural Research in accounting

  • Financial accounting

  • Advanced accounting

  • Capital markets research in accounting

  • Deeper understanding

  • Complex research skills

  • Archival or Behavioural knowledge

  • Practical application of theories