Accounting is an exciting career field that is ALWAYS in demand especially in the emerging economies of Africa.
According to Labor experts, demand for accountants is growing – demand for accountants and auditors across Africa is projected to grow by 11.2% by 2029. This growth calls for a powerful pipeline of accounting graduates.
This brings us to the question of if accounting is a good major? Not to worry, this article will guide you on things to know including career outlook, branches of accounting, and other information that will help you determine if a career as an accountant is a good fit for you.
What Is Accounting?
According to Wikipedia, accounting is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non-financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations.
The financial information used in accounting is a concise summary of financial transactions over an accounting period, summarizing a company’s operations, financial position, and cash flows.
What Are The Branches In Accounting?
1. Financial Accounting
Financial accounting requires recording and classify transactions for a business. This data is generally historical, meaning it’s from the past.
It also involves creating financial statements based on these transactions. All financial statements, such as a balance sheet, and income statement must be prepared according to the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
2. Management Accounting (MA)
Management/managerial accounting a branch that provides data about a company’s operations to managers.
The focus of MA is to provide data to managers on decision-making about a business’s operations, not comply strictly with GAAP.
Examples are budgeting and forecasting, cost analysis, financial analysis, reviewing past business decisions, etc. Cost accounting is a type of managerial accounting.
There are two types of auditing: external and internal auditing. In external auditing, an independent third party reviews a company’s financial statements and presents them correctly. Also, make sure they comply with GAAP.
Internal auditing involves evaluating how a business divides up accounting duties, who is authorized to do what accounting task, and what procedures and policies are in place.
According to accounting tools, internal auditing helps a business zero in no fraud, mismanagement and waste or identify and control any potential weaknesses in its policies or procedures.
4. Tax Accounting
Tax accounting in the planning for tax time and the preparation of tax returns. This helps businesses be compliant with regulations set up by the IRS.
Also, it assists businesses to find out their income tax and other taxes and how to legally reduce their amount of tax owing.
Also, it examines tax-related business decisions and any other issues related to taxes.
5. Cost Accounting
Cost accounting is usually used in the manufacturing industry, an industry that has a lot of resources and costs to manage. It is a type used internally to assess a company’s operations.
Furthermore, Cost accounting disturbs itself with recording and analyzing manufacturing costs.
It looks at a company’s fixed (unchanging and constant costs, like rent) and variable costs (changing costs, like shipping charges) and how they affect a business, and how these costs can be better managed.
6. Forensic Accounting
Forensic means “suitable for use in a court of law”. This branch is trending in the field and it’s a special accounting service.
This branch focuses on legal affairs like the inquiry into fraud, legal cases, and dispute and claims resolution. In addition, Forensic accountants are usually consultants who work on a project basis.
7. Fiduciary Accounting
Fiduciary accounting is a branch that is all about the management of property for a person or business.
It covers estate and trust accounting, and receivership (the appointing of a custodian of a business’s assets during events such as bankruptcy).
8. Accounting Information Systems (AIS)
AIS is a branch that covers everything about accounting systems and processes and their construction, installment, application, and observation.
Also, this includes accounting software management and the management of bookkeeping and accounting employees.
How Does Accounting Works?
The different flows of accounting like cost and managerial accounting create reports invaluable to help the management make informed business decisions and help business owners decide the amount a product should cost.
This is one of the important roles in any business. This role can be handled by a bookkeeper, an accountant, or a finance department with lots of employees at bigger companies.
Regardless of the size of a business, accounting is a necessary function for decision making, cost planning, and measurement of economic performance measurement.
What Are The Duties Of An Accountant?
Although the duties of an accountant vary by position and organization, here are some of the common responsibilities of an accountant. As an accountant, you have to:
- Ensure that the financial documents are accurate, also their compliance with relevant laws and regulations
- Prepare and maintain every important financial report
- Prepare tax returns and make sure that taxes are paid properly and on time
- Evaluate financial operations to recommend best-practices, identify issues and strategize solutions, and help organizations run efficiently
- offering guidance on cost reduction, revenue enhancement, and profit maximization
- Be able to Conduct forecasting and risk analysis assessments
- In addition, you should have a legal obligation to act honestly and avoid negligence in their practices.
Career Outlook Of Accounting
Accounting is a career that will continuously be an in-demand career with impressive salaries and job growth.
Data from the American Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than the average for all occupations, at a rate of about 10 percent from 2016 to 2026.
According to the Accounting and Finance Salary Guide compiled by Robert Half, accountants with one to three years of experience can earn between $51,500 and $96,500 annually, while those with five or more years of experience can earn as much as $129,250 per year.
Still, on the earning process of an accountant, location plays an important role in deciding an accountant’s earning ability.
For example, the cost of living and scarcity of talent affect the salary you expect to earn in a given city or region.
When searching for this talent, most employers will need every candidate to hold a bachelor’s in accounting or another related field, such as Finance and Accounting Management.
In addition, certifications are also preferred in most cases to help improve your prospects.
Is Accounting A Major Career?
The answer to this question is a yes. If you want to work in accounting, finance, or business, acquiring a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting is a great investment in your career.
So, here are the reason why it is a good major for the present and future job market
1. Accounting Will Always Be A Necessity
There is a saying that taxes are one of two certainties in this world—which is a good thing for accountants.
Although not all accountants focus on taxation, financial accountability and accuracy are necessary for any business.
Even as technology advances and automation increases, accountants will be needed for their critical thinking skills and strategic input.
2. The Demand For Accountants And Auditors Is Growing
From the data gather presently, there are over 1.3 million accountants and auditor jobs in the United States, with 125,085 jobs posted on average every month.
Additionally, the accounting field is expected to keep growing at a rate much faster than average for all occupations.
3. An Accounting Degree Is A Flexible Career
This degree is a great foundation for any career in business. If you have aspirations to work at top leadership levels in an organization or start your own business
Also, this degree provides a general business core and deep expertise in financial regulations, responsibility, and reporting.
Step To Becoming An Accountant
Among all the career paths, accounting seems to be one of the most straightforward careers. So, here are quick steps on how to become an accountant.
1 Get An Education
Generally, this means you need to have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in accounting with the right classes and a credit score will qualify you for a job in the field.
More so, you can go for a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) so as to have the requirement to practice accounting as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
#2. Get An Internship
In business, world companies are more concerned with what you can do. Yes, the academics and GPA may look great on paper, but if you can actually perform or if you have the experience you’ll be ahead in the game.
#3. Get A Job
This is truly obvious, but the education and internship should give you practical experience and an edge in having a job.
#4. Get Certification
Based on your field in this career, you will probably need some kind of advanced certification. If finding a job is being difficult, then having the certification will increase your hireability.
After taking all these steps you should be on a good path to a stable career by now.
As the business world grows, the accounting world expands with it—frequently changing in a way that directly impacts the way companies control their affairs.
The reality is that accountants are always learning, and use their knowledge to provide expert services to those that employ them.
Accounting skills open many doors, and because accountants are always in demand, also it is a stable and good career path to take.