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Crunching the Numbers: Calculating Your Accounting Career Path

Accounting career

November 16 2021 Nobody wakes up one morning with a dream of becoming an accountant. It's not quite the exciting career that kids long to have, such as a professional soccer player, an astronaut, or a firefighter.

But those who are good with numbers, and who don't mind calculations and spreadsheets eventually realize that they can make good money doing something that comes naturally to them. Like, really good money.

Though an accounting career might not seem super exciting, the income potential can help you create a life that's super exciting, allowing you to live where you want, drive what you want, and travel during the off-season.

So if you are starting to realize that becoming an accountant can actually propel you into the fulfilling life that you want to live, then read on below to discover your accounting career path.

Start Your Accounting Career With a Degree

Your initial and long-term salary as an accountant will largely be tied to your education and certifications. So don't skimp on the educational component. This is the foundation of your accounting career path.

Most often, accountants will need to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. This can be in accounting or something like finance or banking.

If your goal is to become a CPA, a bachelor's degree is just your starting point. Those looking to make the most money will want to get a master's degree in finance or accounting as well.

Any related coursework you can take during college related to this field will only help. This can include business, management, investment, insurance, entrepreneurship, and computer science.

Get an Internship

Depending on your college program, you may be able to serve an internship while you are in school, or shortly thereafter. Take the internship.

The best education you are going to receive is practical, hands-on experience. An internship can give you a taste of what a career in accounting is like. It will help you determine which specialty you will want to pursue.

And if you do well during your internship, you may even have a guaranteed job waiting for you upon graduation.

Get an Entry-Level Position

If your internship leads to a position, take it. You want to get as much experience under your belt as possible early on in your career.

If not, you'll want to apply for any entry-level accounting position you can get. The sooner you start working, the better. After having one to two years on your resume, you can seek a promotion within your current company or be looking for better jobs elsewhere.

If you plan to become a CPA in the future, you'll need a minimum of 1800 hours worked under a licensed CPA, which translates to just under a year.

Get Certified

Many accounting specialties and jobs won't require additional training after receiving your bachelor's and master's degrees. This includes working as an accountant for a normal company (not an accounting firm).

But if you want to become a CPA, earning an average of $70,000 per year, then you'll need to pass the CPA exam.

The course contains four parts, and typically takes a few days to complete. It's also only offered at certain times during the year. Planning for, studying for, and taking the exam is a big commitment.

To take the CPA exam, you'll need a bachelor's degree and at least 150 hours of accounting coursework completed. States have different rules regarding the CPA exam. But most of the time, you can only get licensed in the state you have lived in for at least six months and claim residency.

On top of this, there are many additional programs one can take on their own time and dime to further their knowledge and training. The more certifications you receive, the better your resume will start to look. And this translates to a higher income down the line.

Find Your Dream Job

There are many different jobs, companies, and roles you can play as an accountant. Of course, you can work for a public accounting firm to help people complete their personal and business tax returns.

However, this just scratches the surface of what you can do. If you do want to help people do their taxes, you can also choose to do so on a freelance basis.

As a freelance CPA, you'll be able to work remotely. No more having to commute and sit in a drab office stuck in the 80s.

This freedom also means that you can travel while working. So if you want to spend the winters in the tropics, you can do so and still make an income.

And of course, the income potential is higher as a solo CPA, since you aren't having to pay the overhead expenses required to work for a traditional firm. All of the money you make goes into your pocket. If freelance is more your style, check out to find jobs in this arena.

While filing taxes is one of the most popular accounting careers, it's not the only one. You can work as a forensic accountant or an auditor, who looks through tax records to ensure everything is being filed correctly, compliant with current laws and regulations.

You can work as a management account or cost account for traditional companies that handle their finances internally. Project accountants are those who handle the finances of a particular project, whether that's real estate-related, business expansion-related, or so forth.

So there are plenty of ways to make a good income as an accountant by crunching numbers. Think outside the box to find the accounting jobs that are right for you.

Chasing Those Career Goals

So what are your accounting career goals? Do you want a traditional accounting career as a CPA or something with more flexibility like a freelance accounting job?

It's all out there and available for the taking. You just need to follow the path outlined above and you'll be well on your way to making a high income for life.

Looking for more tips like this? Head over to our other career articles now to keep reading.


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