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Career Definition of an Office Accountant
The main responsibility of an office accountant is to organize, prepare, review and verify financial and tax documents. They may also assist and consult with clients on issues related to budget analysis and savings planning. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of accountants work in offices, and approximately 25% were employed by accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and tax preparation services in 2016. In general, this is a solitary professional, although some office accountants may work as members of teams with auditors and colleagues or travel to meet with clients (www.bls.gov).
|Education||Completion of 2-year associate's degree or 4-year bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Math and analytical skills, ability to communicate, and attention to detail|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$70,500 (Accountants and auditors)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||10% increase (Accountants and auditors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
While a combination of a 2-year degree in accounting or bookkeeping and professional experience may qualify aspiring office accountants for some position, completion of a 4-year degree program in a relevant field of study is usually required to obtain a position. Individual employers may show a preference for candidates who have completed a master's degree program in accounting or business administration. A credential as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can help professionals advance in the field and is required to submit reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Office accountants may also have to take additional courses in auditing and math.
Office accountants should have good analytical and math skills and be able to communicate with clients and colleagues, both verbally and in writing. Attention to detail and the ability to organize and keep track of a variety of client documentation is also required.
Career and Salary Outlook
Office accountant jobs are expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 10% from 2016-2026, as reported by the BLS. According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earned median annual wages of $70,500 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
Alternate Career Options
Other career options in this field include:
Personal Financial Advisors
Personal financial advisors help everyday people understand investment options and risks, as well as plan for college, retirement and other long-term financial situations. While a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics or another related field of study can provide aspiring advisors with the training they need to enter in the field, a Certified Financial Planner credential and a master's degree in a relevant area may help them advance in the profession. Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS has projected a 15%, or much-faster-than-average, increase in employment opportunities nationwide for personal financial advisors, who earned median yearly salaries of $88,890 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
Tax Examiners, Collectors and Revenue Agents
Tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents who are employed by local, state or the federal government review and audit corporate and individual tax returns, and their duties can include determining and collecting payments. Although educational requirements can vary according to government level, most employees need a minimum of a bachelor's degree and professional experience in a relevant area. Due to budgetary constraints, job opportunities for agents, collectors and examiners are expected to decrease by 1% by 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. As of May 2018, individuals working in the field were paid median annual wages of $54,440 (www.bls.gov).