The job outlook for accounting is promising. This is especially encouraging for students who want to earn an accounting degree and work as professional accountants. What follows is an in-depth overview of the predicted future of the accounting field so interested parties can prepare to enter it.

Related resource: Top 10 Online Colleges for Accounting

Types Of Accounting Roles

Most people who work in accounting are accountants. Accountants work for organizations in all sectors and industries to manage finances and prepare financial records. Accountants can become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to advance their careers and gain the ability to make reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which only CPAs are legally permitted to do. Auditing is another role individuals with accounting degrees can pursue. Auditors examine financial records to determine if they are accurate and fall within the confines of the law. After working in the field for some time, accounting professionals may become financial executives, such as chief financial officers, and other important department heads.

Outlook Overview

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountant and auditor positions are expected to grow by 10% through 2026. This is considered faster than average and a good sign for the profession overall. The increase is attributed to increasing globalization and complex taxation environments. The health of this occupation is tied closely to the overall health of the economy, so recessions and booms will affect it more acutely than other roles. In additional good news, accounting professionals are not expected to lose their jobs to automation. Although it is expected that many routine accounting tasks will be automated, this is not expected to decrease demand or job prospects for accounting professionals. Instead, accountants will simply be able to be more productive.

Competition

Strong competition is not expected for entry-level accounting jobs. This is attributed to an overall strong demand for accounting professionals. The job outlook for accounting will certainly help any newcomers get their feet in the door. However, higher-level positions, especially with more prestigious accounting firms and businesses, are more competitive. For these jobs, having an advanced degree, such as a master’s in accounting or a master’s in business administration with a focus in accounting or finance, will improve job prospects. Holding certain certifications, especially the CPA designation, will also give job seekers an advantage over their competition.

Ways To Improve Employment Potential

To go into this profession, students typically need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a similar field. Some employers may want advanced degrees or additional credentials for higher positions. The proper education is just one way to improve individual chances of landing an accounting job in this favorable environment. Another way to gain experience and earn money in the process is to perform freelance work. Many small businesses hire outsourced accounting services and this can be a good way for new accountants to gain work experience. Having strong tech skills, especially with a variety of accounting and database software, is especially helpful for accounting professionals. Becoming a CPA is one way to significantly improve salary, job prospects, and prestige. It involves passing a series of challenging exams. If already employed, some employers will pay for the cost of the exam as a way of investing in their employees.

Most businesses need accounting professionals, in at least some capacity, to operate successfully. This, coupled with a strong economy, has improved the job outlook for accounting professionals.