Are you looking for a career that’ll bring in a great salary and give you opportunities to advance? Accounting could be the perfect fit. Accountants are a centerpiece of every business and company, and they’re in high demand. Businesses rely on accountants to manage, analyze, and utilize financial records. They’re in charge of filing taxes, creating budgets, shaping future financial performance, and so much more. And, most importantly, businesses always need accountants of all experience levels.

If you’re wondering just what opportunities exist within accounting, the following are five careers that offer impressive pay, unique work experience, and great career progression.

1. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Salary Range: $86,000 to $286,000

Qualifications Needed: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Typically, CFOs also have desirable skills like strategic planning, risk management, and financial modeling. Experience in other leadership positions, or an MBA, are also greatly beneficial.

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the head of a company’s finances. The CFO takes charge of the most important financial matters. And, during the day-to-day, a CFO forecasts, analyzes, and manages a business’s financial risks. CFOs set long- and short-term financial goals, make projections, and are in charge of the company’s financial record-keeping and reporting practices.

As a C-level (or executive) employee, the CFO is one of the top officers within a business. They often work closely with the COO and other business leaders. 

2. Controller

Salary Range: $78,000 to $155,000

Qualifications Needed: A strong background in both accounting and business, with a degree in either field. A CPA, MBA, or certified management accountant (CMA) title is also preferred.

A controller takes the position of financial leader. Just one step down from a company’s CFO, the controller is responsible for managing many different – and important – accounting components. 

Daily, a controller handles responsibilities like preparing budgets, managing financial reporting processes, and overseeing payroll. A controller’s primary job is providing important financial information for a business’s leadership, helping to predict and control future performance. And, with that information, the controller must anticipate any potential issues laying ahead.

3. Finance Manager

Salary Range: $74,000 to $132,000

Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance is the minimum requirement. However, many employers prefer a masters degree in one of these fields. You can also get a professional certification like a CFA. 

A finance manager is the single person who oversees a company’s finances. Of course, the job is more complicated than that. A finance manager’s primary goal is to give financial advice to a company’s leadership. And that job can include many different skills and roles.

Finance managers can provide and “translate” financial information for other members of a company. They can prepare and report on financial statements, supervise employees who are handling daily financial reporting, oversee budgeting, and participate in developing overall financial strategies. 

4. Tax Accountant

Salary Range: $51,000 to $88,000

Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in accounting is required. CPA credentials are also needed, which requires an additional 30 hours of education, and any filing will require your CPA credential information.

Tax accountants work in a more specialized area of accounting. Unlike typical accountants, they focus solely on tax-related reporting, documentation, and daily work.

A tax accountant prepares and files taxes for their clients. You may work for a single company, handling its taxes, or for many individuals and businesses. In either case, you’ll prepare and file both state and federal taxes. It’s also common for tax accountants to offer tax-related financial advice, helping them make important tax decisions. 

5. Accounts Payable Specialist

Salary Range: $34,000 to $55,000

Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance is needed. Financial work experience is highly valued. 

An accounts payable specialist manages a company’s bills. In this job, you’re responsible for paying a company or organization’s bills on time. That means you’ll manage invoices, company payroll, and all other outgoing payments. These specialists must track income and expenses, keep an eye on the quarterly or monthly budget, and ensuring documentation is available in the event of audits and annual taxes.

Accounts payable specialists must be highly organized and on top of deadlines. The job also requires daily accounting skills, so it’s important to have a clear background in the field and a strong education.

Earn Your Accounting Degree Today

The first step in pursuing a career in accounting is the right degree. Most well-paying jobs in accounting require the same initial education: an accounting degree. 

Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting will teach you the principles, tools, and skills of basic accounting. And it will also prepare you for additional milestones, like earning a CPA or CFA professional certification. But, most importantly, your accounting degree will give you exactly what you need to begin a long, in-demand career.

To earn your accounting degree, you’ll need to find the right education program. With online and in-person options available at many colleges and universities, you can compare different programs and coursework, tuition rates, and even scholarships to find the right fit for you.

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