Accounting is a dynamic field, bursting with potential for professionals at all levels. Many aspiring accountants look forward to working as certified public accountants or CPAs, but this is just one of many excellent opportunities the field has to offer. If you want to enter the workforce within two years, it is worth thinking about earning an Associate of Science in Accounting.
Interested in accounting but skeptical about your ability to enter the field in a few short years? Keep reading to learn about the value of obtaining your Associate of Science in Accounting — and to discover the career opportunities that this associate degree could provide.
Benefits of Going to College for Accounting
Many ambitious and analytical students wonder: Is accounting a good major? The answer is a yes.
Depending on your study preferences and your career plans, accounting could be the perfect major. Key benefits of pursuing an online associate degree in accounting include:
- Develop transferable skills. Even if you do not ultimately work in accounting, the skills you gain as an accounting student could prove invaluable for the entire span of your career. You will obtain impressive analytical abilities, as well as a basic understanding of business finances. This could serve you well if you ultimately transition into finance, project management, marketing, or other related areas.
- Opportunities for further education.The Associate in Science in Accounting could be the first step on your path to an accounting career. Your degree satisfies a portion of the requirements for gaining your CPA, but states require at least a bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours of specific coursework.
What Is the Difference Between an Entry-Level and a Mid-Level Accounting Job?
Accounting is a multifaceted field that encompasses many types of positions. Entry-level jobs do not always require a bachelor’s degree, nor do they necessarily depend on credentials such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Rather, they are designated as “assistant” or “associate” positions, highlighting the need for supervision from a credentialed and more experienced professional.
Bookkeeping and data entry are often central components of entry-level accounting jobs. Some element of problem-solving is required, however.
Mid-level accounting jobs typically involve a lot less oversight than their entry-level counterparts. These positions are available to those who have either acquired years of experience or degrees accompanied by relevant credentials. Mid-level professionals may handle more planning, delegation, and management tasks.
Entry-Level Accounting Jobs
Entry-level accounting jobs take many forms — but as previously mentioned, most are focused on the bookkeeping or data entry components of accounting, as opposed to management. The following are among the most commonly available jobs for candidates with their Associate of Science in Accounting:
Responsible for maintaining detailed records pertaining to payroll, accounts receivable, and reconciliation, bookkeepers spend a great deal of their time completing ledger entries. Other common tasks include tagging fixed assets, preparing financial reports, and enforcing adherence to requirements at the state and federal levels. Many bookkeepers work directly for the businesses they serve, although some offer services on behalf of consulting firms or even as freelance professionals.
At large firms, entry-level accountants are typically referred to as associates or assistants. They are then supervised by CPAs, CMAs, or other mid- or high-level accounting professionals. This role may have quite a bit in common with the aforementioned bookkeeping positions, to the point that these jobs seem interchangeable. Typically, however, bookkeepers are generalists, while assistants or associates focus on a specific area of accounting.
As one of several variations on the accounting assistant job described above, the role of payroll associate involves the maintenance of complete and accurate payment records. Associates may also be involved in setting up payroll processes related to new hires or employees who take leaves of absence.
Accounts Receivable Clerk
Invoicing and other billing processes comprise many of the accounts receivable clerk’s functions in the workplace. Many are asked to maintain detailed records related to clients or customers. In the event of payment discrepancies, employers may look to clerks for insight or assistance with case resolutions.
What Is Expected of an Entry-Level Accountant?
Effective collaboration and attention to detail is essential. Entry-level accountants work extensively not only with fellow accounting professionals, but also with a variety of clients, customers, and vendors. They must be able to communicate clearly and amicably on behalf of the businesses they represent.
Which Type of Entry-Level Accounting Job Should You Pursue?
Now that you understand how entry-level accounting works and which types of positions are available, it is time to determine which career path fits your unique goals and preferences. Keep these important considerations in mind as you embark on an exciting job hunt:
Remote Work. Entry-level accounting can be an amazing fit for professionals who hope to work from home. These days, entry-level remote accounting jobs abound. Hybrid work is also frequently available.
If you like the idea of working from home, opt for a large accounting firm or a consulting business. You may even be able to pick up work-from-home freelance jobs that provide plenty of flexibility as you take the next step and complete your bachelor’s.
Future Career Plans. As you search for your first accounting job, think carefully about your long-term objectives. How will this initial job help you begin your ascent on the accounting career ladder?
If you are like many aspiring accountants, entry-level work is a means to an end — an opportunity for you to get a foot in the door. Getting that foot in the right door is important, however.
The common debate between general and niche roles will play heavily into this decision. Do you want to develop a wide array of skills, or would you prefer to focus on a specific area of interest? If you’re still unsure, take the first accounting course. If you enjoy it and succeed, then accounting could be a rewarding career for you.
Consider which skills you will be expected to use or develop in any given entry-level position. How will these prepare you for future jobs in accounting? Growing your professional network also matters; will you be able to find a quality mentor?
Flexibility. Speaking of future plans: Do you expect to eventually return to school for your bachelor’s degree? If so, you will want to work for an employer that actively supports your educational aspirations.
As we have mentioned, remote work helps — but you will also want to consider whether you prefer a full- or part-time job. Some small businesses offer part-time bookkeeping positions that are appealing while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
There is a lot to consider as you seek a career in accounting but remember, the effort you make as an accounting student could be rewarded with excellent job opportunities — and a wonderful sense of satisfaction in your academic achievements.
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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 program. To learn more about Post’s programs and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.