Accounting finance jobs occur in a number of areas. Regardless, though, an accountant's job is to help businesses manage finances. They can also prepare and analyze financial reports so that businesses can see at a glance how they're doing; accountants also often help businesses do tax returns correctly so that they do not face any penalties from the Internal Revenue Service. They are very familiar with tax and financial laws so that their clients can function within the law at all times.
Getting an entry-level accounting job
If you're interested in accounting, of course you must first have a degree in accounting. In high school, you can take math courses and learn to work with numbers. Many if not most colleges offer degrees in finance and accounting in particular. If you work for an accounting firm, you may be required to have a master's degree in accounting. However, if you simply have a bachelor's degree in accounting, you may be hired in an entry-level position at a company and be allowed to work your way up. As you continue on into your master's degree, you can specialize in a particular kind of accounting, such as tax accounting or cost accounting.
If you become a public accountant, you'll need to take a CPA examination. This examination is issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has four parts to it. In general, only 25% of those who take it pass it the first time. Before you can take the examination, you must have at least 150 hours of relevant college coursework. This is the equivalent to having both undergraduate and master's degrees.
If you are hired as a junior accountant with just a bachelor's degree, you may start by assisting those who have their CPA certification. As a junior accountant, though, you can learn on the job and study for your CPA test while working. As you continue in your career, you must keep abreast of new laws or accounting rules, so you'll need to keep up with a certain level of self-study and coursework to stay current in your field and therefore remain employable.
When you first get out of college, your school may be able to help you get a job in a public accounting firm. You can also apply online or go through a recruiter and find a job that way.
Getting a senior accounting job
Once you have the experience to get a senior accounting job, your firm or current employer may simply give you a promotion once you have the necessary experience. If not, however, you can also seek employment on your own; online job sites post requests for senior accountants frequently. Simply go online and type "senior accountant jobs" or a similar keyword into your favorite search engine. Alternatively, you can also go to various online job sites that you know of and type in similar keywords, along with your location. This should bring up a number of jobs in your area that are suitable for you.
A note about your resume
Today is the age of the Internet job search. Therefore, your resume has to have the necessary keywords included in it, too. This helps employers find you when they do searches for qualified candidates to fill positions. You can utilize appropriate keywords to the job you want that emphasize what you can do when you briefly list the skills you have in your resume, and make note of your work history, educational background, and any additional certifications you have acquired.
Should you work for yourself?
If you have the expertise to be a senior accountant, you might be wondering whether or not you should hang out your own shingle and be self-employed. This has its advantages and disadvantages. You make your own hours and can set prices based upon what the market will bear; in some cases, if you are self-employed, you can make more money than you can with your employer.
However, there are disadvantages, too. First of all, if you set up your own office, you're going to have to provide all of your own equipment, supplies, and any necessary staff such as a secretary. If your employer provides you with the means to continue your ongoing educational needs at the employer's expense, this is going to disappear once you become self-employed and you're going to have to pay for your own continuing education costs to stay current.
Finally, some people aren't cut out to be self-employed. You're going to have to be extremely disciplined in order to put in the kind of hours you'll need to, in order to make a decent living. The choice is up to you. By contrast, an employer of course tells you what to do and you are "beholden" to them, but you have a lot of structure given to you by the employer that may be beneficial to you, and your office, supplies, and all other overhead costs are taken care of by the employer, too.
A job in the accounting field can be very rewarding if you have a head for numbers. Once you've been in your field for a number of years, you may think that a job as a senior accountant is for you. Applying for a job as a senior accountant is made much easier these days with the advent of the Internet. Of course, your employer may simply advance you, too, as you become more skilled. Or, you may choose to become self-employed at that point. Whichever way you choose, though, you should be able to find a job as a senior accountant once you're ready to.