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Popular Roles in Accounting for Aspiring College Graduates

Accountants desk with calculator, pen and reports

If you are considering pursuing a career in accounting, you need to know what types of accountant positions are available. There are many different accounting roles at varying levels of professionalism, each of which requires specific qualifications. Here is a look at the most popular accountant roles you could potentially pursue.

Chief Financial Officer

CFOs assist businesses in achieving their financial goals. In this position, you would manage and oversee the financial risks of a company. You could also be in charge of financial planning, record-keeping, cash flow, performance, and budgets. The educational requirements to become a chief financial officer depends on the specific firm that is hiring. But generally, you need to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree. It is not uncommon to need to have a Master’s degree, as well. You will also need to have several years of experience working in a related position before you can become a CFO.

Certified Public Accountant

As a certified public accountant, you can choose a variety of career paths, such as public-accounting, corporate accounting, business consultation, and financial auditing. Your duties could involve helping clients to file taxes, managing clients’ tax preparation, and ensuring clients are compliant with federal and state regulations. To become a CPA, you must first gain a Bachelor’s degree in an accounting subject. Once you have a degree and some professional experience of working as an accountant, you can study for the rigorous CPA exam. You cannot become a CPA without completing this examination. There are various CPA review courses available, so you can choose one that has the study materials that best suit your learning style.

Tax Accountant

Working as a tax accountant involves assisting individuals and companies in preparing local, state, and federal tax forms. Senior tax accountants also provide strategic financial advice. To become a tax accountant, you must complete a Bachelor’s degree in an accounting subject. Many states and employers require you to have further education in the form of a Master’s degree too. Also, many tax accountants choose to take the CPA exam, but that is not mandatory.

Staff Accountant

Staff accountants work in companies’ accounting departments and help with the particular financial needs of their employers. Job duties include bookkeeping, preparing and analyzing budgets, maintaining financial reports, checking payroll records, and utilizing accounting software. Most staff accountants hold accounting Bachelor’s degrees, but you do have other options for getting into this role. For instance, several schools provide free online accounting courses.

Accounts Payable Specialist

Also known as an accounts payable clerk, this role involves managing all outgoing payments for a firm. As an accounts payable specialist, you would process vendor invoices, ensure all accounts payable reports are accurate and compile documents for tax purposes. To become an accounts payable specialist, you will usually need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. You will also need key-skills such as general math skills, knowledge of accounting principles, and knowledge of financial and accounting software. Although it is not compulsory to have a degree to enter this profession, you will increase the number of positions you are eligible for if you gain an associate’s degree.

Accounts Receivable Specialist

The primary role of an accounts receivable specialist is to process and track a company’s outstanding bills. You would make collection calls and send statements to delinquent accounts. The position can also include preparing aging reports, bookkeeping, and auditing. Accounts receivable specialists, also known as accounts receivable clerks, usually need to hold a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. However, many employers prefer you to have taken postsecondary coursework in areas related to finance and accounting.

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