Accounting increasingly relies on computer software to automate certain mathematical formulae, which requires special training. These programs are designed for experts such as accountants, auditors, bookkeepers, and accounting clerks.
Automated accounting training is commonly included as part of a general accounting bachelor's degree program; however, associate's degree programs specifically in automated accounting are also offered. Entry-level positions in automated accounting are available for high school graduates who display a proficiency in math and computer skills. Knowledge of accounting software programs, such as Excel and QuickBooks, is also a common entry-level requirement.
Job duties focus on the technical knowledge required to set up and manage a fully automated accounting system, which may include topics such as payroll, financial reports and taxes. Advanced jobs may require a background in accounting principles and regulatory laws, both of which are commonly covered in bachelor's or master's degree programs in accounting.
|Career||Accountant or Auditor||Bookkeeper or Accounting Clerk|
|Educations Requirements||Bachelor's degree for entry-level||Postsecondary education in accounting (nondegree)|
|Licensure/Certification||Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification required for some positions||Voluntary Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation is available|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$70,500||$40,240|
|Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028)*||6% growth||4% decline|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Entry-level jobs for high school graduates with computer and math skills include those of accounting clerks, accounting technicians and bookkeepers. An associate's degree in accounting or related discipline combined with minimal experience may offer more job opportunities, but career advancement is limited. A bachelor's degree is necessary to enter the workforce as an accountant, auditor or controller.
Accountant or Auditor
Accountants and auditors are responsible for accurately preparing financial records for institutions, organizations, and individuals. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement to enter the field, and the Certified Public Accountant qualification is required for some positions as well. A master's degree may be necessary for advancement.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual median salary of $70,500 for accountants and auditors in 2018. Jobs for these professionals were expected to increase by 6% from 2018-2028, according to the BLS, which is faster than average. Job seekers with CPAs or master's degrees would have the best prospects, the BLS suggested.
Bookkeeper or Accounting Clerk
Bookkeepers and accounting clerks maintain financial records, track financial transactions, regularly update financial statements and ensure the overall accuracy of financial records for a company.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual median salary of $40,240 for bookkeepers and accounting clerks in 2018. Jobs for bookkeepers and accounting clerks were expected to decrease by 4% from 2018-2028, according to the BLS.
While becoming a bookkeeper or an accounting clerk requires minimal post-secondary education, the financial compensation for these positions is not particularly high, and there will be a decrease in the number of positions available over the next 10 years. Prospects look better for those willing to pursue a degree in accounting, as accountants and auditors can expect faster than average growth in the number of available positions, as well as reasonably high financial compensation for their work.