Graduating with a master’s in Accounting can set you up for a wide range of opportunities and career paths, depending upon your interests, practical experience and chosen area of specialization. Master’s in accounting jobs can help you open the door to leadership positions and the chance to build the career you’ve dreamed about. Many entering the field, however, do not immediately realize the vast array of choices they have available to them upon graduation.
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So, What Jobs Can You Get with a Master’s in Accounting?
Here are seven different Master’s in Accounting jobs that can help you begin building your career.
1. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
CPAs must receive certification from the Board of Accountancy of the state in which they intend to work. It requires passing a national exam as well as meeting any other requirements the state sets forth for those interested in earning this important designation. Generally speaking there a fixed steps to become a CPA, a certain amount of coursework, practical and relevant work experience and continuing education are required in addition to a passing score on the exam to receive a CPA certification.
As a CPA, you can become qualified for a variety of different types of positions. Any job that requires you to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will also require you to be a CPA. Therefore, this certification can help you create a more appealing resume for job prospects and allow you more opportunities to advance.
CPAs can work in a variety of environments. They might work for an accounting firm or work with private, government, and nonprofit organizations performing required accounting functions. Those who thrive in the field may also find that they can start their own firms. CPAs, particularly those who work for accounting companies, may also find that they need to travel on occasion to visit different clients and customers on-site when helping them manage their accounting needs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for accountants is $71,550, but the highest 10 percent in the field earn more than $124,450 per year.
2. Corporate Controller
The financial controller of a company manages the finances of the organization. They help with various parts of the department’s accounting by approving the budget, being responsible for financial reports, overseeing accounting in general, and preparing statements and schedules for tax season. In many businesses, this position will report to the CFO or other most-senior financial position at the company. They might, themselves, hold the rank as the most-senior financial professional at the organization.
According to PayScale, financial controllers earn an average base salary of $84,761. However, they often have access to opportunities to increase their compensation through bonuses, profit sharing, and potentially commissions.
A successful financial controller will bring valuable abilities to the work environment, including excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, and math skills. They should have an extensive background in financial reporting and management to prepare them for the role they will have in the company.
3. Risk Manager
The BLS reports an “increased emphasis on risk management within the financial industry.” A master’s degree in accounting could help you pursue a career in risk management, helping banks and other financial institutions emphasize stability and growth by managing risk over profits.
These professionals are well-versed in examining all types of financial-oriented risk that can affect a company or business. Credit risk, market risk, operation risk, and so on. Professionals with a master’s in accounting can use the skills they gained in this area to perform analyses financial products and develop risk models that can help the organization chart a course for the future.
According to the BLS, which combines financial risk managers and related professions under the general heading of Financial Managers, these professionals are well-positioned for career and salary growth. The median annual wage for financial managers came in at $129,890 for 2019, and the job outlook is projected to grow 15 percent by 2029.
4. Senior Internal Auditor
Senior internal auditors take the lead on a company’s internal audit team. They need to be well-versed in the taxes impacting their companies, as they will oversee these areas to ensure a business remains compliant with all of the necessary regulations.
In addition to helping companies fill out tax forms and file paperwork correctly, these professionals also manage and analyze the books and look for inefficiencies and opportunities for a business to improve its processes. Their goal lies in helping their organizations operate more effectively.
To excel in this position, a senior internal auditor needs to have an excellent analytical mind to track all of the different data and information found in accounting books. They must also excel in communication and leadership, as they work with their team to manage finances and communicate their findings with others at the organization.
According to Glassdoor, a senior internal auditor can average $73,523 per year.
5. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
CFOs serve as a part of a team of executives who oversee a company, coordinate the activities, and direct its policies. As the chief executive dealing with the financial aspects of running the company, the CFO specifically focuses on leading the activities related to company finances and setting its budget.
As a CFO, you will analyze the financial statements and sales reports related to the company. You will have an intimate understanding of how the company budgets and uses its money as well as where there is room for improvement within the organization.
Becoming a CFO requires professionals build their experience within the corporate workforce. You will need to bring your background in accounting together with experience within the corporate environment to achieve this position. According to the BLS, the median pay for top executives is $184,460 per year, with the top ten percent earning well over $200,000. Top executives as a whole rank as some of the highest-paid professionals within the United States.
6. Tax Accountant
These accounting professionals specialize in dealing with taxes. They focus on understanding the needs and requirements for filing taxes for individuals and businesses. They help their clients with a range of tasks related to taxes, including the preparation of tax returns, helping businesses and companies gather their proper paperwork to file a return, or even helping large corporations understand and plan for their future tax obligations.
Many tax accountants will specialize in a particular area of tax accounting, from focusing on taxes for large corporations to filing taxes for individuals with complex situations—such as trusts or large estates.
With the different seasons in the tax cycle, those working in this niche will find that they will have a rise and fall throughout the year in their amount of work. Some, for example, will work long and late hours during the April tax filing deadline. At other times of the year, the work burden is significantly less.
Among accountants who work specifically in tax preparation, the BLS reports an average salary of $71,390.
When it comes to answering the question, “What can you do with an accounting degree?” the options are endless. Careers with accounting degree choices can involve a variety of different work environments and opportunities. Consider where your interests lie within the field of accounting and see where your career can take you.
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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post University program. The positions described may require work experience, additional education, or licensure. Students are encouraged to become familiar with the requirements for any position or career path within the accounting field they may wish to pursue.
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