What You Can Do with an Accounting Degree Besides Accounting
If you’re considering an accounting degree or are currently enrolled in an accounting program, you might be curious about the job outlook for professionals in this field. Accounting careers are forecasted to experience significant growth, which means increased demand for qualified individuals at every level. Due to the high degree of technical knowledge needed to succeed as an accounting professional, those who pursue this career path typically receive competitive benefits such as a high median salary, job security, and extensive professional opportunities.
Accounting professionals who take a more traditional career path for their field will generally work at government agencies, private accounting firms, tax accounting firms, nonprofit organizations, and on the internal finance teams at private companies and corporations. Specialization areas like tax accounting, public accounting, forensic accounting, and auditing open up even more career possibilities.
While it’s a commonly held perception that accounting is a homogeneous field, you can find many applications for accounting degrees across various industries and specializations. After all, every company needs qualified professionals to guide them in making sound economic and business decisions. If you’ve ever asked yourself “what else can I do with an accounting degree besides accounting?” the answer is quite a lot!
The diverse skill set acquired from studying an accounting degree - strong analytical and critical thinking skills, attention to detail, and solid business acumen - can be applied to various industries and lines of work. Individuals with accounting degrees know how to work with and interpret complex data sets to extract important information, making them ideal candidates for many nontraditional accounting positions that require a high technical aptitude.
To guide you through your search for non-accounting jobs that can still put your accounting degree to use, we’ve selected some promising alternative career options.
Alternative Careers for Accounting Degree-Holders
The practical knowledge obtained through educational and professional accounting experiences is closely related to the skills and knowledge needed to work in finance.
Financial analysts assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other investments to produce insights that help businesses obtain larger profit margins and minimize financial risks. With a degree in accounting, you will be fully prepared and qualified to fill a financial analyst role at places such as banks, insurance companies, and private companies in various industries.
If you have professional accounting experience and are looking for a career change, business and financial consulting could be a promising option. Your expertise can be used to serve clients by consulting them in managing internal finances, start-up costs, and investments while helping them create a successful financial plan. Consulting is generally a lucrative field, and employees in this industry can work for larger consulting firms and/or freelance and manage their own clients.
Those with an educational or professional background in accounting have experience working with and interpreting complex and lengthy data sets. The analytical and problem-solving skills obtained through accounting experiences are applicable to many business intelligence-related positions. As an analyst, you’ll interpret raw data and extract insights and trends that help businesses and/or clients make informed decisions. These in-demand positions can be found in nearly every industry, ranging from healthcare to media and advertising.
Investment bankers build financial models, conduct market research, and manage transactions to help companies raise funds for expansions and improvements. In this role, you’d work with and analyze numbers all day, so the advanced analytical skills and extensive knowledge of capital markets you gained as an accounting professional will come in handy. Entry-level positions in this field require a bachelor's degree in business, specializing in accounting or finance. Investment banking is a demanding industry, however, it’s one with high salaries and plenty of career advancement opportunities.
Accounting professionals are good at managing investments and budgeting, and entrepreneurs need expert-level guidance to make sound financial decisions. Taking on entrepreneurs as clients can prove lucrative, and helping launch successful businesses can be incredibly rewarding.
If you are a certified public accountant, or plan to obtain certified public accounting (CPA) licensure, then you can also pursue your own entrepreneurial ventures. CPAs have the ability to open a private firm, extending their accounting knowledge and services to the general public.
Non-Accounting Career Planning for Accounting Degree-Holders
In addition to these specific non-accounting job titles, individuals with accounting knowledge who are interested in other non-traditional paths could consider combining their financial know-how and technical aptitude with other interests. For instance, you could find personal and professional success with an accounting-related role in another industry: entertainment, fashion, film production, and so forth.
To learn how the skills obtained through an accounting education can apply to other fields, consider researching the industries that fascinate you and common job titles within them.
Becoming a CPA
If you have the time and resources available, becoming a CPA will grant you a level of credibility that will open up new career advancement opportunities. Licensure can lead to an even wider range of possibilities, both within and outside of a traditional accounting pipeline.
With a CPA license, you can work in senior-level and advanced-level roles such as a chief financial officer or chief information officer. It is also a popular career choice for certified public accountants to extend their services to the government and move into job titles that deal with fraud investigation and forensic accounting.
Getting an Accounting Degree
With an academic or professional background in accounting, you will be well prepared for a host of different career opportunities. Champlain College Online’s accounting degree program equips students with the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to find success in both traditional and non-traditional accounting career paths. The hard and soft skills obtained through Champlain’s accounting curriculum qualify students for a multitude of job titles relating to finance, economics, consulting, and data analytics.
Learn about the value of an accounting bachelor's degree from Champlain College Online.
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