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Boost Your Balance Sheet: Five Reasons a Graduate Certificate in Accounting Can Supercharge Your Career


Ready to take your accounting career to the next level but don't want to spend years in school pursuing your master's degree? If that's the case (and if you already have a bachelor's degree under your belt), a graduate certificate in accounting can be a great way to advance your career and build upon your existing skills without the commitment of a full-fledged master's degree program.

So, what do you stand to gain from a graduate certificate in accounting — and what kinds of fulfilling accounting careers can you explore with this designation?

The Role of Accountants in Business and Financial Industries 

Accounting professionals play a critical role in today's business and financial industries, especially in strategic decision-making, financial planning, and analysis. 

Strategic Decision-Making 

Businesses often turn to accounting professionals for financial and strategic decision-making. Specifically, accountants can use their data analytics and other critical financial principles to make specialized recommendations for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. These decisions can help companies to grow, scale, and meet their goals. 

Financial Planning and Analysis 

Accountants also provide key financial planning and analysis services, helping businesses gain better insights into their budgets and finances to make informed decisions regarding spending, investing, saving, and everything in between. 

Accounting Career Outlook 

The demand for accountants isn't expected to decrease anytime soon, especially as the value of accountants and their unique skill sets has been demonstrated across a variety of industries. 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for accountants and auditors alone is expected to grow by 4 percent between 2022 and 2032. That's as fast as the national average for all occupations—the data also projects about 126,500 job openings for accountants and auditors each year over the same period. 

Demand for Specialized Accounting Skills 

Meanwhile, there is also a growing demand for more specialized accounting skills that go beyond what is considered ‘typical’ of a graduate with a bachelor's degree in accounting (or a similar field). Today, more businesses are looking to hire accounting professionals with specific skills and expertise in such areas as: 

  • Financial records 
  • Financial reports 
  • Internal auditing 
  • Information systems 
  • Risk management 

If you've been looking to diversify your accounting knowledge and skills to advance your career prospects, these are some areas to consider exploring. 

The Benefits of an Accounting Graduate Certificate 

Still not sure whether a graduate certificate in accounting is right for you? There are many benefits to take into consideration as you make your decision. 

1. Increased Earning Potential 

First, consider the potential for increased earnings as you expand your skill set and qualify for higher-paying jobs or other promotions within your current field of work. 

Per BLS data, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $78,000 in 2022. However, the highest 10 percent of earners made more than $132,690. 

2. Improved Job Security 

Having a graduate certificate in accounting can also help you improve your sense of job security. While there is still a high demand for accounting professionals across a variety of industries, an advanced education that goes beyond a typical bachelor's degree can help you set yourself apart from other professionals in your field and make you a more valuable asset to an employer or client. 

3. Enhancing Your Professional Skill Set 

As part of a graduate certificate program in accounting, you'll have the opportunity to build your professional skill set and grow your knowledge of the field. Some specific skills that you might gain from a graduate certificate program in accounting range from financial planning and risk management to auditing and reporting. These skills can help you diversify your offerings while making it possible to advance your career even further. 

4. Broadening Career Opportunities and Advancement 

Having a graduate certificate in accounting can also open the doors to new opportunities within the field. With your newfound skills and knowledge, you might qualify for jobs and roles that you may not have been considered for in the past. This could allow you to apply for new jobs in your field or even be considered for promotions within your current place of employment. 

5. Networking Opportunities 

Perhaps one of the most notable benefits of a graduate certificate program in accounting is the networking opportunities. When you're part of a graduate certificate program, you'll have the ability to grow your professional network within your field. These opportunities may include forging new connections with faculty and fellow peers and meeting other industry professionals during special networking events. These networking opportunities can go on to serve you well, revealing possibilities for partnerships, job interviews, and other exciting ventures. 

Career Paths Unlocked With a Graduate Certificate in Accounting 

In addition to all the potential advantages outlined above, there are several new career paths and job opportunities that you may be able to pursue once you have your graduate certificate in accounting. These career paths may help you find work that you find more rewarding, engaging, and fulfilling overall. 

Financial Manager 

Several accounting professionals who obtain their graduate certificates in accounting go on to work as financial managers. These are accounting experts responsible for such essential tasks as creating financial reports, directing investment activities, and developing short- and long-term financial plans for companies and organizations. 

A graduate certificate in accounting can help prepare you for the skills needed to succeed as a financial manager. The job outlook for financial managers is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. Meanwhile, financial managers make a median pay of $139,790 per year. 

Budget Analyst 

Public and private organizations typically hire Budget analysts to help plan their finances. Specific job duties for this line of work can range from tracking and managing financial documents to preparing financial reports and assisting with financial planning. These professionals often work in government agencies, though it is also common for budget analysts to be hired by private companies and even universities. 

While budget analysts don't always need a graduate certificate to qualify for this type of work, a graduate certificate in accounting can teach the crucial economics and statistics skills that professionals need to succeed in this field. 

The job outlook for budget analysts is expected to grow by 3 percent between 2022 and 2032, with 3,600 new openings projected annually. 

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) 

Completing your graduate certificate in accounting can also better prepare you to work as a certified public accountant (CPA). This is because becoming a CPA requires not just an undergraduate degree but also passing an examination issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Passing this examination will require an in-depth understanding of accounting principles that may not be covered in a bachelor's degree program alone. This may be especially true if your undergraduate degree is not in accounting or business. 

The Value of Continual Learning in Accounting 

Whether you're currently working in the accounting field or aspire to get your foot in the door, the reality is that the most successful accounting professionals tend to be those committed to a lifetime of learning. 

Staying Current With Industry Trends 

In the accounting industry, things can change and evolve quickly. New trends, technologies, and innovations emerge on a regular basis. So, accounting professionals need to stay on top of the latest trends to do their jobs well and best serve their clients. 

Accounting professionals should enter their careers with the mindset that they will never be done learning. Attending professional conferences, networking events, workshops, and even classes can help you stay relevant and engaged in this dynamic industry. Staying up to date with current industry trends can, in turn, keep you at the top of your game. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Dive into our FAQ section for insights and clarifications on how an Accounting Graduate Certificate can elevate your career prospects. Below, we address your most pressing questions to help you make an informed decision about enhancing your skill set and boosting your balance sheet. 

How Does an Accounting Graduate Certificate Influence Career Longevity? 

Having a graduate certificate in accounting can help you stay current on the industry's most recent and relevant developments, which can help you build upon the skills and knowledge that today's employers demand. In this sense, continuing your education in accounting with a graduate certificate can help you advance your career and maximize its longevity as you work your way up the proverbial career ladder. 

Is an Accounting Graduate Certificate Worth the Investment? 

Ultimately, the decision as to whether a graduate certificate in accounting is worth the investment is yours to make and will depend on a few personal factors. However, for those serious about maximizing their earning potential while diversifying their skills and building a more diverse professional network, a graduate certificate in accounting can be a great way to make this happen. Not only does a certificate program take as little as two terms to complete, but the versatility of an online program makes it possible to study on your terms while remaining committed to your other important life obligations (such as a job or taking care of a family). 

What Is the Best Paying Accountant Job? 

Earnings and salaries for an accounting professional can vary drastically depending on several factors, including the location of the job and the accountant's level of skill/experience. 

Conversely, numerous jobs for accountants come with higher-than-average salaries. ZipRecruiter data reports the highest-paying accounting jobs in the United States (such as chief financial officer) pay up to $400,000 per year

Which Qualifications Can Help With a Career in Accounting? 

There are many unique skills and qualifications that you can gain from a graduate certificate in accounting that can also translate to greater success in your career. Some examples of the kinds of advanced skills employers are looking for include experience in account management, internal auditing, financial reporting, information systems, and risk management. More businesses are also hiring accountants for assistance with financial planning, which requires a solid understanding of how to read, analyze, and gain valuable insights from financial documents and records. 

Is Accounting a Good Career Choice?

Overall, what constitutes a good career choice will depend on where your interests lie and other matters of personal preference. Still, if you're looking for a career path where there are diverse job opportunities, a solid demand across all industries, and the potential for great pay, then accounting can be a solid career choice. This is especially true if you're the type of person who enjoys working with numbers and large amounts of data to make informed recommendations and decisions. 

Flexibility and Convenience of Online Programs 

As you can see, a graduate certificate in accounting can open all kinds of doors for opportunity when it comes to your accounting career path. Whether you're looking to get started in this rewarding field or are looking to advance your existing career, a graduate certificate in accounting provides the foundational knowledge and skills that you need to succeed. 

In the interim, an online graduate certificate in accounting program like one from Champlain College Online allows you the flexibility to complete your studies on your own time. This means that even with your busy schedule, you can work toward your certificate and complete the program in as little as two terms. With courses in significant topics such as financial accounting essentials and business analysis, you can level up your skills and meet the qualifications for any number of jobs for accountants. 

Learn more about Champlain College Online's graduate certificate in accounting by requesting information today, or get the ball rolling by filling out an application to our program.

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