With significant industry growth, a high median salary, and increasing demand for qualified professionals, pursuing a career in accounting is a smart choice. But once you’ve decided on an accounting career, you might find that the field is more diverse than you originally thought, with opportunities to apply your skills and knowledge across multiple areas.
If you’re not sure which career path is right for you, here’s how to choose an accounting career based on your specific skills and interests.
Learn about different career fields in the industry.
While most people consider accounting a homogenous industry, there’s no set career path for accountants. Instead, there are several different fields of accounting you can pursue, each with their own area of focus and specialization.
Almost all career paths require an understanding of the fundamental accounting skills, but prospective accountants can choose between a number of directions based on their specific skills and interests. A few popular career paths include:
- Public accountants provide auditing, tax, consulting, and accounting serves for nonprofits, businesses, individuals, and governments. From reviewing financial statements to ensuring business tax compliance, a job in public accounting provides experience in several different areas of the industry.
- Financial planners work as independent consultants or for financial planning firms to assist individuals with finances, from budgeting and investing to filing taxes.
- Tax accountants focus on tax-related accounting work, preparing tax returns for individuals and businesses.
- Forensic accountants analyze financial statements to provide analysis for legal cases, such as crime or embezzlement investigations
- Financial accountants work for businesses or organizations, preparing financial reports (for example, profit and loss statements, balance reports, and cash flow statements) for stockholders, creditors, and tax agencies.
Decide what kind of company you want to work for.
Qualified accountants are needed across almost every type of business—from small to large—in all industries. In other words, it’s up to you to decide where you think you’ll fit best. Consider your long-term career goals—do you want to work for a consulting firm, where you’ll have a steady stream of clients, or would you prefer to work on the accounting team of a private company or nonprofit organization?
Your background and interest in specific fields can also help you decide which type of business to work for. For example, if you’re interested in internal auditing, you’re more likely to find work at larger corporations. If you’re planning to work independently, you might find success as a financial consultant. Meanwhile, if you have past experience in a specific field—such as law—you may choose to pursue a career as a forensic accountant.
Ask yourself which work environment you thrive in.
Depending on the career field you choose, your work environment can vary significantly. Ask yourself which kind of work environment you’ll thrive in—do you work well under pressure? Do you need variety in your day-to-day work?
If you’re looking for a steadier pace, some types of accounting, such as financial planning, offer similar work from day to day. On the other hand, if you need variety to stay engaged, other types of accounting, such as tax accounting, have busy periods—notably around tax season—and then slower periods.
Pursuing a career in accounting can open a wide range of career paths, but it’s important to set yourself up for success with tools like self addressed envelope sets and professional tax folders. Whether you’re pursuing a career as a financial planner or internal auditor, investing in high-quality stationery can set you apart from the competition and help you develop a professional image. With the strictest global standards for both proof and in-color printing, personalized stationery from Mines Press can help you build a strong reputation regardless of your industry.