8 Top Job Options When You Have a Degree in Accounting (Apart from Being an Accountant)

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Nov 2, 2018

Nov 2, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

You've weighed the pros and cons of an accounting degree. You went to one of the best schools for accounting. And you've prepared for the CPA exam.

Now comes the most important question: what can you do with a degree in accounting?

You might be surprised to find that you can do more than just become an accountant. A degree in accounting is a lot more flexible than you think. That's why we've listed eight great things you can do with your accounting degree.

1. Financial Planner

You don't just have to count numbers with an accounting degree. In fact, you can help other people make sense of their numbers and plan for the future, by becoming a financial planner.

A financial planner is an investment professional who helps individuals and corporations meet their long-term monetary goals. They do this by analyzing the client's current fiscal situation and helping them map out a plan to reach their goals.

Because they serve a wide range of clients, financial planners often specialize in a certain area, which can be anything from tax planning to estate planning to asset allocation.

However, financial planners are not to be confused with financial advisors.

A financial advisor is a broad job category for a professional who helps others manage their money. They may help with investments, broker a sale, or create a tax plan.

A financial planner, on the other hand, is a type of financial advisor who helps individuals and companies create plans to meet their long-term monetary goals. Like financial advisors, they may specialize in a certain area, from taxes to estate planning.

To learn more about becoming a financial planner, check out Surepath Wealth Management.

2. Financial Examiner

Instead of helping individuals or company plan for the future, you might instead inspect numbers right now as a financial examiner.

A financial examiner makes sure that banks and other financial institutions are complying with laws governing financial institutions and their practices. In doing so, a financial examiner ensures the health of the institution they examine while protecting consumers from risky financial practices.

In fact, there's a certain kind of financial examiner that is responsible for risk scoping is tasked with ensuring the stability of the financial system. For example, they make sure that institutions offer safe loans.

Other examiners may specialize in consumer compliance. These examiners focus more on the consumer than the institution, preventing institutions from using risky or predatory lending practices and making sure that consumers are not discriminated against.

As such, an examiner is responsible for smoothing out the entire process. They conduct an analysis which is then communicated to their clients. They make sure that their clients understand the laws, regulations, and guidelines that apply to them. They also recommend corrective action where relevant.

Your role as an examiner is essential for both lending institutions and consumers alike, which means that you must have an excellent eye for detail and great analytic skills to match.

3. Financial Analyst

If you have an accounting degree and want to pursue a career outside the confines of the accounting field, you may want to consider becoming a financial analyst, which demands excellent analytical skills on top of a gift for numbers.

In fact, the job of a financial analyst is one of the most coveted roles in the financial services industry, both for job seekers and the companies looking to hire them.

Basically, a financial analyst assesses business trends and the performance of investments, stocks, and bonds. They examine a great deal of financial data in order to make comprehensive analyses and recommendations about how a company should proceed.

Common duties for a financial analyst include analyzing financial data, examining financial trends, recommending investments, and preparing reports based on what they see in this data.

To be a financial analyst, you'll need a strong understanding of macro and microeconomics, as well as various financial models to predict future economic conditions that account for a wide range of economic variables.

Keep in mind, though, that not all analysts work solely with bonds and investments. A company might hire a financial analyst to predict the efficacy of certain marketing techniques.

4. Budget Analyst

Everybody needs a budget. It's one of the most basic tools to help manage money, whether you're an average person or an international corporation.

The problem is, many people don't have a clue about how to create, interpret, or manage a budget.

This is where a budget analyst comes in.

Budget analysts help individuals and institutions organize their finances. What that looks like on the ground can include a wide range of duties.

For example, budget analysts might work with project managers to develop a budget, combine various project budgets into an organizational budget, review the budget requests of project managers, explain the funding requests of managers to others in the organization, and monitor organizational spending.

In short, budget analysts are responsible for managing the whole life cycle of the budget.

Budget analysts are essential to creating a functional budget. They can work for a wide range of organizations from private companies to government institutions. They analyze the costs and benefits of programs and recommend courses of action based on their analysis.

5. Financial Manager

On a larger scale, there are financial managers, who step back from on-the-ground numbers to look at the bigger picture. This is a great job option experienced accountants who want to take their career to the next level.

In simple terms, a financial manager is responsible for the overall financial health of an organization. Their tasks include things like:

  • Supervise employees responsible for budgeting and financial reporting
  • Monitor financial details to ensure compliance with laws and regulations
  • Analyze market trends to maximize profits
  • Prepare financial statements, activity reports, and forecasts
  • Review financial reports to find ways to reduce costs
  • Help managers make financial decisions

Because a financial manager's role is comprehensive, their role is often shifting in response to technological advances. This allows them to make more accurate reports and forecasts.

There are several different types of financial managers, including:

  • Treasurers
  • Finance officers
  • Risk managers
  • Credit managers
  • Insurance managers
  • Controllers

The specific type of financial manager will change their specific role within the organization. For example, treasurers and finance officers manage their organization's budgets, while risk managers use strategies to limit the amount of risk their organization is exposed to in the course of doing business.

6. Investment Banker

If you feel like a bit of risk keeps life interesting, you might want to consider taking your accounting degree and becoming an investment banker.

An investment banker works as part of a financial institution to raise capital for various entities. This includes government bodies and corporations.

In fact, you've probably heard of some of the biggest investment banks in the business:

  • Goldman Sachs
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Deutsche Bank

Regardless of whether you work with one of these firms, an investment banker is responsible for large, complicated financial transactions. This can include anything from an acquisition to a merger to issuing securities.

7. Compliance Officer

On the flipside, you could also consider becoming a compliance officer.

Compliance officers ensure that governing bodies and private institutions alike stay in line with regulatory guidelines and internal policies.

For example, they may be responsible for reviewing and setting standards for communications. This can include things as small as setting disclaimers in emails.

However, it can also include larger scale tasks like updating internal policies and lead internal audits.

As such, working environments for a compliance officer can vary widely, from document review in an office to offsite fieldwork in an industrial setting.

8. Chief Financial Officer

Finally, if you feel like running the show, you could aim to become a chief financial officer.

A chief financial officer (or CFO) is a higher level executive responsible for managing the financial actions of a company. They assist the CEO with financial decisions, obtaining funding, cost-benefit analysis, and financial forecasting.

A CFO is the highest ranking position in the financial industry, and it is a job focused primarily on management duties.

Your job as a CFO will vary based on the company you work for. But it can be primarily divided into controllership duties, treasury duties, and economic strategies.

Got a Degree in Accounting?

Have you got a degree in accounting? Are you ready to launch your career?

If so, take a closer look at these eight jobs, figure out which one is right for you, and then start your job search.

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