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Career Information for a Degree in Financial Accounting

Financial accounting programs teach students to prepare financial statements for companies. Continue reading for an overview of the potential majors as well as career options, employment projections and salary statistics for graduates.

Students earning a bachelor's degree in a field related to accounting, with a concentration in financial accounting, have a few career paths to choose from. Common job titles for graduates of this degree include accountant, auditor, tax examiner, and stockbroker. For most of these careers, usually a bachelor's degree is sufficient, and in some cases licensure may also be required, particularly for stockbrokers, auditors, and accountants.

Essential Information

Financial accounting is generally a specialization selected by students completing bachelor's or master's degree programs in accounting. Accounting degree programs prepare students to understand accounting methods, financial statements and tax documents.

Career Titles Accountants and Auditors Tax Examiners Stock Brokers
Education Requirements A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related discipline A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related discipline A bachelor's or master's degree in business administration
Other Requirements Licensure sometimes required N/A Licensure often required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% 6% Decline 10%
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $67,190 $51,430 $71,550

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

After completion of a financial accounting degree program, there are several potential career paths for graduates. Some of the job options certified public accountants, tax examiners or stockbrokers.

Certified Public Accountant

Certified public accountants (CPAs) may provide accounting and auditing advice and services to private individuals, government bodies, corporations or other organizations. Many certified public accountants specialize in a particular area, such as financial analysis, tax preparation or financial document auditing. To become certified, public accountants must meet state licensing requirements, which vary by state but typically involve a combination of education and experience. All CPAs must also pass the Uniform CPA Examination, a lengthy 4-part exam assembled by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, before becoming licensed by their State Board of Accountancy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 11% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for these professionals was $67,190 in May 2015.

Tax Examiner

Tax examiners work for government bodies at the local, state or federal level to determine the validity and accuracy of tax statements submitted by individuals and small businesses. These individuals must have comprehensive knowledge of the tax codes of the government body for which they work. Tax examiners at the federal level are required to hold bachelor's degrees or possess commensurate education and experience. According to the BLS, job growth for tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents is expected to decline by 6% between 2014 and 2024. Tax examiners and related workers earned a median annual salary of $51,430 in May 2015.

Stockbroker

Stockbrokers work for individuals or corporations to facilitate the trade of stocks, bonds and other securities. They may also provide investment advice or educate clients about how the stock market operates. Although not a formal requirement, most stockbrokers complete degree programs related to the field, such as in business management, economics, finance and mathematics. Stockbrokers are also required to gain four months of experience at brokerage firms and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination to obtain licensure. The BLS reported in 2015 that securities, financial services and commodities sales agents earned median yearly wages of $71,550.

The licensure sometimes required for accountants and auditors is the CPA designation, which requires a combination of work experience and education, in addition to successful completion of a 4-part exam by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Licensure for stockbrokers, on the other hand, involves passing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, which can only be written after an individual has accumulated four months of experience at a brokerage firm. While tax examiners do not require licensure, they must possess a thorough knowledge of government tax codes.


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