Gone are the days of the accountant in the corner with an adding machine and green eyeshade visor. Accounting has evolved into a complex network of specialties to keep modern businesses running smoothly. While small companies may use a bookkeeper to complete most tasks like paying bills and invoicing customers, large companies utilize a full department of specialists who contribute to the financial well-being of the enterprise. If you’re thinking about a career in accounting, here are some of the positions you may consider.
To stay in business, all companies must get paid. The Accounts Receivable department is responsible for ensuring that all invoices are paid in full and on time. Billing and Collections Clerks make sure customers have accurate and current invoices and communicating when those invoices become past due. Credit Managers can help large companies cut down on bad debts by reviewing credit applications and only extending credit to those businesses that are an acceptable risk.
Every business has expenses to pay, and the Accounts Payable department makes sure everything stays current. Payables Clerks check incoming invoices for accuracy and seek approval for payment before sending out the checks. Budget Analysts make sure that spending stays on track and Payroll Clerks ensure that employees get paid on time while calculating all withholdings and deductions.
When it comes to balancing the books, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes counting and matching that needs to be done to ensure that every penny is accounted for. The General Ledger Clerk keeps the company’s main ledger balanced and keeps supporting documents for transactions along with creating parts of financial statements and required disclosures.
Just like the name implies, the Cost Accountant determines the cost of activities from maintaining and producing inventory to company events. Large or small, every company has tax obligations to meet and different strategies to employ to reduce the overall burden. From payroll taxes to sales tax to income tax, the Tax Accountant is on top of it all.
Senior Level Positions
With a solid accounting educational background along with a few years’ experience, here are a few positions you can look forward to when it’s time for a promotion:
- Controller. This person is in charge of all the activities within the accounting department and maintains ultimate responsibility for the production and accuracy of statements and reports.
- Chief Financial Officer. This senior position oversees all accounting, tax, budget, and treasury activities as well as maintains investor relationships, develops strategies, and manages the company’s overall financial risk.
- Forensic Accountant. From investigating fraud to reconstructing damaged records, this position is part accountant and part detective as missing pieces are found, and discrepancies are resolved. Forensic Accountants are often independent consultants that spend time with different companies as needed.
Preparing for an Accounting Career
While bookkeepers and some entry-level clerk positions require only an accounting certificate, mid- and senior-level positions require a bachelor’s degree. Some positions may also require a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) credential, especially for any positions that require preparing and filing tax documents. CCE @ Assumption provides extensive programs at every level of the accountant career track, from a Certificate in Accounting, to a Bachelor’s degree in Business with an accounting concentration, to a CPA Track program.
Interested in learning even more about specific careers in accounting? We’ll be posting a series of blogs in the next several months that gives an in-depth look at various types of accounting. These blogs will explore educational requirements for each type of accounting, salary information, and much more!