If anyone is of the opinion that accountants sit in a windowless office crunching numbers all day long, they may be in for a surprise. Today, the field of accounting is much more than just making spreadsheets and balancing books. Here are a couple of facts you may find interesting.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for accountants and auditors is expected to go up by 13% (faster than average) from 2012 – 2022.
- Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks will see an increase of 11% from 2012 – 2022 (BLS).
- The field of accounting has a number of opportunities. These include Business Analyst Managers, Staff Accountants, Tax Services Managers and Corporate Controllers.
- Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger and author John Grisham studied accounting before pursuing careers in music and writing, respectively.
Accountants prepare, verify and analyze financial reports and taxes. These professionals along with auditors also monitor information systems. The information is then forwarded to managers in business, government and specific industries for decision making. They also advise their employers on cost, finance and budgetary data. In short, accountants are the professionals businesses consult before making any financial decision.
What makes a Good Accountant?
Like any profession, accounting also requires students to have certain qualities. For instance:
Computer Savvy and Goal Oriented
There are typically three steps involved in becoming an accountant.
Bachelor Degree in Accounting (BS) – This is typically a four-year degree, which includes a number of courses. To give you a general idea, some of them would be, Principals of Financial Accounting, Calculus for Business, Organizations and Management, Income Tax Accounting and Strategic Management.
Master Degree in Accounting (MS) – Master’s degree usually takes around a year (2 years in some cases) to complete. In this degree, students learn more about tax accounting and completing audits. Students also learn about business valuation, cost management, consulting services and taxation.
Education – 150 hours of education are required by most states. A bachelor’s degree may not be sufficient to become a CPA. Students may need to have a graduate level qualification to sit for the CPA examination.
Examination – The CPA examination tests students on four areas. These include business environments and concepts, auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting and the knowledge on regulations. The format of the exam includes multiple choice, written communication and simulations questions.
Online accounting degree programs are a convenient way to complete this qualification. As with any distance learning program, students must check a few boxes before they commit.
What to look for when enrolling in Online Accounting Programs?
Accreditation – This is the most important aspect. One of the regulatory bodies that accredit accounting programs is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Delivery Method – How do the instructors guide students in distance learning programs? What tools and software are used. How frequent are the one-on-one sessions. How much access do the students have to research and reference materials? These questions are really important when considering online education.
Faculty – Before enrollment, students must check the credentials and experience of the faculty. This is an important aspect and must not be ignored. Students can get in touch with the alumni for reviews or check the faculty rating online as well.
Tuition Fee – A good online school never charges its students extra. This includes over the top technology fee, research and reference material fee and in some cases may also offer financial aid.
Distance learning programs may be a good option that offers convenience. However, completing the program depends on the student. It is essential for students to perform extensive research before committing to an online program.