Becoming an Accountant: Five Things You Should Know

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Count up accountants, and you’re in for a surprise. 1.4 million Americans work as accountants. This number may seem big. But it’s small given how important becoming an accountant is. You can’t just apply for an accounting job, and for good reason.

What do accountants do? What do you have to do to become an accountant? What job opportunities are open for you if you become one?

Answer these questions and you can account for the benefits of becoming an accountant.

Here are five things you should know about becoming one.

1. Accountants Have Many Duties

When people think about a personal accountant, they envision someone at a desk with a lot of papers. It is true that a business accountant may need to look through papers. Yet accountants have many roles within an organization. They may need to prepare tax documents and evaluate company policies for financial risks. They may need to investigate a company’s practices and look for any evidence of fraud.

2. You Need to Get Educated 

The sheer number of accountant duties means that anyone who wants to be an accountant must get educated. You must get a Bachelor’s degree at a college or university first. You should then go to a business school for an advanced degree. Pick a program that relates to accounting, including business management.

3. You Have to Pass a CPA Exam

It’s not enough to get degrees. After you have stopped going to school, you need to apply with your state accounting board. You need to hand over documents related to your professional and educational experiences. You then must study for the CPA exam.

The exam covers all aspects of being an accountant, including laws that affect accountants. It requires months of preparation, though you can attend classes on it. The CPA exam is not the only exam you can take. You can take tests so you receive certifications and become a Quickbooks professional.

4. You Must Combine Math and Critical Thinking

Accountants do have to calculate figures. But an accountant also needs to use substantial critical thinking skills. One important skill is detail orientation. An accountant must understand minute details about financial regulations and company policies. They need to see how these details relate to each other and whether a company must change things to comply with laws.

5. Accountants Work Everywhere

You can become a corporate accountant, working for one particular company. You can also start an independent practice and advise different companies on what they should do. But you have a wide range of job opportunities as an accountant. You can join a financial advising firm or go to Wall Street. Nearly all companies need accountants, including political groups and educational institutions.

Start Becoming an Accountant

Becoming an accountant requires some work. Keep in mind that accountants have many responsibilities, so you need training. You must go to school for several years, including to a business school. After school, you must apply to become an accountant. A major part of the application process is taking a CPA exam, which requires extensive study.

Accountants must combine math with organizational and memorization skills. But your work can pay off, as you can find many different jobs. Yet bear in mind that you can take another finance job. Read more finance jobs guides by following our coverage.