Navigating an Accounting Career Path: Which Route Is Right for You?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
May 20, 2019

May 20, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Follow the money, that's what accountants do. It sounds simple enough, but really accountants work in a variety of venues to balance, keep track of, and balance the finances for you or a corporation. 

Accountants can follow several career paths depending on how they want to focus their skills. An accountant might prefer to work in a corporate setting, work with personal accounting in the public sector, or with tax accounting.

Consider these accounting career paths and see which seems like the best fit for you.

Types of Accounting Careers and How To Get One

Most accountants will have a bachelor's degree in finance, business, or accounting. Many companies will require a degree to be considered. There are some accounting and bookkeeping jobs that will not require a degree though.

As an accountant, you will want to choose an area of focus. It might be working in tax accounting, in corporate accounting, or auditing (think corporate or government work). Knowing the direction you want to take with your accounting career path will help you to know how to gain experience.

Public Accounting

Public accountants, as the name implies, are more likely to work in the public sector. Many have passed certification boards to become certified public accountants. Public accountants typically work for themselves or another company but provide accounting services for others. 

In this role, you might work at an accounting firm. The firm then provides accounting for clients. Many firms will have divisions that work on personal accounting for individuals or families. They might also do accounting for small business or offer tax services. 

Often accountants will work in the public sector to gain experience before entering into private accounting. Some might even decide to freelance. Working as a freelancer means keeping track of profits and income. Consider using The PayStubs to help with those accounting needs.

Private Accounting

In the world of private accounting, you will still need the same level of education but will also need to have garnered some experience in the field. In the world of private accounting, you will work for a specific company for their accounting needs. 

Corporations employ accounting departments to handle purchasing, human resources, inventory, and tax needs. The more experience you offer, the higher the salary and opportunity for growth that is available in private accounting. Private accountant salaries start in the mid $40,000 range and go up with experience and tenure within a firm.

Tax Accounting

Paying taxes is a guarantee in life whether you are an individual or a corporation. Tax accountants focus their accounting skills on helping you handle your tax obligations.

Tax accountants must be current on tax laws. They will spend their time trying to save money for you. There are three types of tax accounting to consider"

  • Corporate tax practice where you handle the tax issues for a corporation.
  • Personal tax practice where you do taxes for individuals.
  • Purchasing tax practice that handles the purchasing of goods and services. 

Tax accountants will be responsible for calculating earnings and figuring out the tax obligation for those earnings. 

Follow Your Path to an Accounting Career Path

If you are interested in accounting, it is not as simple as following the money. You can see there are a plethora of accounting career paths available. Each depends on how you want to use your skills.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in accounting? Take a look at the job opportunities available. One might be the right fit for you.