Steps to Become An Accountant

Accountants provide auditing, consulting and analyzing services at different public and private sectors. These professionals are required in every professional setting. They usually have to work at the location but during tax season, their working hours increase.

Accountants enjoy a lucrative salary in the US. To become an accountant, you have to follow the steps given below but first here are their job responsibilities.

What Does an Accountant Do?

  • Accountants prepare financial records and these are some of their primary tasks:
  • Examining financial statements to make sure they comply with the rules and regulations.
  • Examining financial statements to ensure their accuracy.
  • Compute the owed taxes, prepare tax returns and make sure that taxes are paid on time
  • Examine account systems and account books for use of accepted programs and efficiency
  • Maintain and organize financial records
  • Inspect financial operations and make the best recommendations to the management
  • Suggest ways to enhance revenue and reduce cost
  • Suggest ways to improve profit
  • Writing reports and conducting meetings to explain financial documentation

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become an Accountant

To become a professional accountant in the US, you have to follow the following steps

  1. Degree Requirement

Having a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational required to become an accountant, especially to get an entry-level position. Accounting programs are available as separate degrees or in some schools they are offered as a specialization. These programs include courses like auditing and tax accounting. Some also involve courses related to finance, marketing and management.

Students are recommended to do an internship during this program so they can gain work experience and find relevant jobs in the future.

  1. Work Experience

Gaining work experience helps you grow in the field of accounting and some states require candidates to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) test. Taking an entry level position or an internship helps these professionals to learn about the duties and responsibilities.

  1.  Master’s Degree

Even though having a Master’s degree is not mandatory, getting it can improve your career prospects. This program includes advanced courses in taxation, finance and auditing. A Master’s degree is not necessary for a CPA exam.

  1. Obtain License

Licensing is not necessary for this profession but some employers choose to hire people with credentials. Given by the jurisdiction’s Board of Accountancy, the CPA license helps candidates to strengthen their accounting qualification. A professional accountant needs a minimum of 120-150 credits to appear in this test.

  1. Certification

Having an optional certificate helps an accountant stand-out in his field. These certificates are offered by different organizations and they require an exam and work experience. Licensed CPAs have an advantage and they can obtain certification from the American Institute of CPA. These certificates include Personal Finance Specialist, Accredited in Business Valuation and Certified Information Technology Professional Certificate.

How Much Does an Accountant Earn?

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of Accountants and Auditors was $79,520 in 2019. The highest paying states chart was topped by District of Columbia paying $103,930, followed by New York and New Jersey with respective salary, $98,650 and $91,960.

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