If you aspire to become an accountant, you have probably given the career path quite a bit of consideration. You are not going into the accounting field simply because you like working with numbers. You also appreciate the earning potential and the advancement potential. There is, however, one more factor to weigh when considering any career: job security. For aspiring accountants, job security is often a positive factor in their decision to enter the field.
A Positive Job Outlook
The job outlook for accounting professionals is positive, with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting 13 percent increase in accounting jobs over a decade. The expected rate of growth for jobs in this field is slightly, though not significantly, higher than the 11 percent increase in career opportunities expected for all jobs. The economic challenges of recent years may have actually improved job security for accountants. Part of the reason for the anticipated growth rate is based on factors like corporate scandals and stricter financial laws that have resulted from them, the BLS reported. As businesses continue to expand worldwide, accountants are expected to play a more important role in their clients’ international mergers, acquisitions and trade.
The Versatility of the Accounting Profession
Even during a recession, accounting is among the most stable, dependable jobs there is, according to U.S. News & World Report. Part of the profession’s stability has to do with the versatility of accountants. They can work in the big four accounting firms or in smaller firms. They can find in-house positions within companies and organizations or they can work for themselves, acting as their own bosses and setting their own schedules. They can work in government accounting positions at various levels, from local to state to federal. Accountants with the right skills and education can move into positions like forensic accountants working with law enforcement and other government agencies. Whether the private or public sector is faring better, accountants can find positions in both.
How Accountants Can Improve Their Job Security and Opportunities
Job security for the accounting profession as a whole is positive, but individual candidates for accounting positions can still face strong competition, particularly if they seek to land a job with one of the largest and most prestigious accounting firms. Aspiring accountants can help themselves by gaining education, experience and credentials. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are especially in demand, the BLS reported. Students can become CPAs by spending five years studying at the college level, gaining professional experience and taking the CPA examination. Candidates with graduate-level degrees, like master’s degrees in accounting or master of business administration (MBA) degrees, also have an advantage over their less educated peers.
Accounting is considered one of the most secure professions in the United States right now, which should encourage aspiring accountants. Despite the positive job outlook and reported job security, though, individuals need to help themselves succeed by making themselves stand out compared to other applicants.