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Accounting is a very broad and complex term for crunching numbers, isn’t it? The truth is, a career in accounting can take you down any number of diversified paths. Today’s technology has allowed the accounting business to grow in such a way that one accounting type will not necessarily serve all clients. Due to the fact that all businesses are not the same, each one needs an accountant that specializes in their particular area of expertise. If you are thinking of getting your bachelor’s degree in accounting, then you need to know your options. Here is a synopsis of some of the accounting branches that are available to help you make an educated choice in what career you would like to pursue as a professional.
We will begin with the two most popular branches of accounting. Financial Accounting involves compiling, recording and reporting economic results to customers; primarily to stakeholders, investors, consumers or other external users. Also, financial accounting mainly focuses on historical data. Managerial Accounting generally works to provide accounting information internally to corporate management where finance reports are based on financial analysis and assessment of business decisions. Whereas, financial accounting deals with past figures, managerial accounting provides confidential information exclusively used for profitable future business ventures. This branch gives an accountant “enterprise-minded” experience, perhaps with a master’s degree, to advance up the corporate ladder into a more lucrative leadership role.
A Cost Accountant is closely related to the managerial accountant, however, they are strongly interested in manufacturing costs, including labor, materials and overhead costs. While providing helpful tools for efficient management, a company’s bottom line depends on the cost accountants’ analysis. The Tax Accountant handles the preparation and filing of tax returns and tax payments. You must be familiar with the four basic forms of business ownership and up-to-date on tax codes and regulations. An Auditing Accountant is generally an independent service that reviews financial information and advises alternatives or other useful information. They also verify that business transactions are in compliance with general accounting practices. Government Accounting refers to areas involving specific government agencies. They look at resources regarding accounting development of government generated funds, conducts audits and oversees financial institutions.
Fund Accountants/Non-Profit Accountants are normally hired by non-profit organizations. They gather, record and report financial information for non-profit establishments such as charities, churches, medical facilities, emergency relief and animal rights organizations and makes sure they are in compliance with the state and federal laws.
Forensic Accounting primarily deals with the process of obtaining records and conducting audits that will typically be used in litigation in a court of law to resolve financial discrepancies. Such matters could include securities fraud, divorce settlements, bankruptcies and computer forensics. Knowledge of legal and litigation procedures are required. An International Accountant focuses on issues relating to foreign and international corporations such as foreign currency translation, international regulations and foreign exchange risks.
If you are a student contemplating a future career in accounting, your first step should be to obtain your bachelor’s degree, for most employers require this to get an entry level position. You should strive for your master’s degree if you would like to pursue a more advanced position. As you can see, the areas of specialization in the field of accounting are numerous, please do your own research to assure that your school offers a specialization option.
To get you started, check out our picks for the Best Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Accounting Degrees!