The accounting field is fast-growing, and holds many opportunities for those looking to enter or advance in the industry. However, because of the popularity and size of the field, finding ways to differentiate yourself is essential. One way to do this is to develop a specialization in one of the specific branches of accounting.
While all accounting professionals have things in common, like a core set of technical accounting skills and abilities, there are a number of different branches of accounting that require specific competencies and training. In order to develop the necessary expertise to truly build your specialization, you'll most likely need to pursue an academic credential that offers an accounting concentration in your area of interest. Depending on your level of experience and your ultimate career goal, this credential could be a certificate, a bachelor's degree, or a master's degree in accounting. For example, many undergraduate programs will offer different accounting majors to prepare you for different roles within the field; additionally, there are many certificate programs (both undergraduate and graduate) that can give you an accounting concentration in a specific area.
If you're unsure of the direction you'd like to go with your accounting career, here are the top three accounting specializations on the rise to give you some ideas. While almost any accounting specialization will set you up for a successful career, these three concentrations are some of the most in-demand.
The Top 3 Accounting Specializations
If you're simply looking to give your accounting skillset a boost, and want to take your accounting knowledge to the next level, a specialization in advanced accounting might be right for you. If you already have a solid foundation in accounting basics, an advanced accounting program will build on what you already know. This is a great specialization for those who want to maintain a breadth of knowledge in various accounting topics, but still want to stand out from the crowd in terms of their subject matter expertise, credentials, and experience.
Cost accounting is a great accounting concentration for individuals who want to focus on the internal accounting needs of a business - for that reason, it's particularly appealing to not just accounting professionals, but to small business owners and entrepreneurs as well. This specialization will emphasis skills like decision-making, budgeting, planning, financial modeling, and cost-volume-profit patterns, and will give you the skills to make effective decisions about long-term investments for a company's future.
If you're interested in the intersection of accounting, investigation, technology, and the law, a specialization in forensic accounting might be right for you. Not only will this concentration give you a strong accounting foundation, it will give you knowledge of criminal law and its application to the accounting field; show you how to find and gather digital financial information for criminal investigations; and give you an understanding of accounting and IT internal controls. You'll emerge from a forensic accounting program with the tools you need to help fight white-collar crime.
While these three specializations are popular, there are a multitude of other accounting career paths you can pursue - all of them with degree and certificate options to help you get where you want to be.
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