Advancement Opportunities for Accountants

Jun 15, 2018

Accountants study financial and tax records to ensure accuracy of recordkeeping. After working as an accountant, some professionals may wish to seek other positions in the financial industry.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Accountants

Accountants work with records of businesses to be sure that they are accurate. They also ensure that individuals or businesses properly prepare their taxes, and that they are submitted in a timely manner. Accountants who have a strong business and financial sense may wish to expand their career options to other positions in the financial industry. Several of these opportunities are presented.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Actuaries $101,560 (2017)* 22% Bachelor's degree
Forensic Accountants $65,302 (2018)** 10% (accountants and auditors) Bachelor's degree
Personal Financial Advisors $90,640 (2017)* 15% Bachelor's degree
Chief Financial Officers $127,848 (2018)** 8% (top executives) Bachelor's degree

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale

Career Information


Accountants must have strong mathematical skills and be able to apply this knowledge to the business setting. These skills would translate well into a position as an actuary. Actuaries use advanced statistics and computer software to predict the likelihood of various events occurring, and the costs that would be incurred by a business if such events did occur. Actuaries also develop ways to decrease the harm that would ensue from an undesirable event. Many actuaries work for insurance companies, but positions are also available in government, banks, and colleges. Actuaries must possess a bachelor's degree in math, statistics or finance and pass a series of certification exams.

Forensic Accountant

Accountants have a strong understanding of when errors have been made in financial record-keeping. Accountants who enjoy studying and understanding such documentation may enjoy a position as a forensic accountant. Some forensic accountants focus on investigating criminal acts, while others provide litigation support for civil proceedings. Forensic accountants examine evidence of a financial nature to determine if fraud or theft has occurred. They may work for governmental agencies, insurance companies, or similar entities. They may be required to give testimony in court regarding their findings. Most forensic accountants possess a bachelor's or master's degree in forensic accounting.

Personal Financial Advisor

Accountants must have a strong understanding of personal finance and investing. Moving into a position as a personal financial advisor would allow accountants to further develop these skills. Personal financial advisors meet with individual clients to help them develop their investment strategy. They must understand their clients' personal savings goals, whether it be for retirement or college. The advisor must then educate the client as to how to meet those goals, and help them to choose investments. Continued monitoring of accounts is crucial. Personal financial advisors typically hold a bachelor's degree and receive on the job training. Becoming a Certified Financial Planner can enhance job prospects.

Chief Financial Officer

Some accountants may wish for increased opportunity to exercise their leadership and management skills. These individuals may wish to move to a top executive position in a company, such as chief financial officer, or CFO. CFOs are responsible for managing the accounting and financial departments of firms to ensure they are functioning effectively. They must be able to collaborate both verbally and in writing with other top executives in their company. Typically, individuals in this position hold a bachelor's degree or Master of Business Administration, and work their way up through supervisory or leadership positions in their company.

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