A major concern of new graduates in any career field is job availability. The job outlook for accounting professionals is largely consistent with the overall job outlook for every occupation. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates job opportunities for accountants and auditors to increase by 13 percent during the 2012 to 2022 decade, as compared to 11 percent growth expected for all professions. As in other career fields, competition for the most desirable positions will be fierce. To attain your dream job, you will need to stand out from the crowd of other qualified candidates.
Factors You Can Control
Several factors influence an accountant’s job marketability, such as education, certifications, and industry. If you want to enhance your career opportunities and prepare yourself for advancing into positions that pay better or carry more prestige, earning a master’s degree in accounting is one way to do so. Another way is to become a certified public accountant (CPA), if you are not one already. While both of these paths require you to invest time (and possibly money) in studying and taking tests, they also look good on a resume.
The industry you choose to work in can also be a factor in your job prospects. More than 36 percent of accountants work in the industry of accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, according to the BLS. For accountants in a niche industry, transitioning into this more general accounting industry can offer new job opportunities that aren’t currently available to them. However, just because this industry employs the largest number of accountants doesn’t mean that the available jobs are the best quality. The best paying jobs, according to the BLS, are with industries such as securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage, securities and commodity exchanges, the federal executive branch of the government, other financial investment activities and software publishers.
Factors You Have Less Control Over
Many of the highest paying and most prestigious accounting jobs are senior-level positions, such as managerial Accountant, senior Staff Accountant and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). If a management position is your ultimate goal, there is one major factor over which you have limited control: experience.
When you’re just starting out in the world of professional accounting, you naturally have little relevant experience to work with, often limited to internships or part-time jobs. Gaining the kind of experience necessary to reach a senior-level accounting position takes several years. You can’t do much to change the quantity of experience you have, other than plodding your way up the corporate ladder from an entry-level position. You can, however, affect the quality of your experience by learning as much as you can and taking on challenging new work whenever possible.
Accounting is a varied field, with professionals with different educational qualifications and professional certifications working in many diverse industries. The job you aspire to is out there. With the right preparation, you can attain it.