Alternative Careers for Accountants

Various aspects of accounting can be applied to many different kinds of business-related careers. Learn about the job duties for some of the alternative careers for accountants, as well as their education requirements.

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Alternative Career Options for Accountants

There are numerous alternative job opportunities for accountants in the fields of business and finance. Many, if not all, of these jobs can utilize the advanced math skills and detail-oriented nature of an accountant. Below are just a few of the possible alternatives for accountants looking to change their career.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Financial Analysts $81,760 12%
Financial Examiners $79,280 10%
Tax Examiners and Collectors and Revenue Agents $52,060 -6% (Decline)
Actuaries $100,610 18%
Mathematicians $105,810 21%
Personal Financial Advisors $90,530 30%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Alternative Careers for Accountants

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts may actually have an educational background in accounting as they help people and businesses make the best investments for their particular situation. Financial analysts begin this process by understanding the current trends with bonds, stocks and other investments in order to make suggestions. They may also study a business' financial records and management team to determine the value of the company and areas of improvement, which are all presented in detailed reports. Financial analysts usually need a master's degree for more advanced positions, but must hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Financial Examiners

Financial examiners are somewhat similar to financial analysts in that they examine various finances, but they specifically look at the work of financial institutions. They usually need an accounting background, which can prove helpful as they check for compliance with government regulations, monitor transactions and loan risk and evaluate bank management and how they spend their time. Financial examiners usually specialize in risk scoping or consumer compliance and must be up to date on all current regulations and help organizations create policies and procedures that coincide with the regulations. They typically undergo some on-the-job training, but must have a bachelor's degree.

Tax Examiners and Collectors and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors and revenue agents work for the government to ensure that the proper amount of taxes is received from people and businesses. This requires them to examine financial information like tax returns and perform audits to make sure that individuals and businesses did not over-pay or under-pay their taxes for a particular year. These professionals must have knowledge of current laws and regulations and maintain detailed reports and notes about their cases. Tax examiners and collectors and revenue agents usually have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field and may need to meet specific experience requirements for an employer.


An accountant may enjoy a career as an actuary as this career highly utilizes math, financial theory and other calculations to understand the potential financial cost of risk. Actuaries are most commonly found in the insurance industry and use statistics and probability to try and test insurance policies, investments and other financial strategies. Their goal is to help their organization minimize risk and make the most profit, which requires them to explain their work and findings to management and officials. They need a bachelor's degree and must complete a series of exams in the field for certification.


A job as a mathematician may also interest an accountant who wishes to continue working with numbers, but may enjoy looking at the theories behind math or researching new math. Mathematicians create new principles and theories in the field, which can then be applied to numerous job fields that require math. They also analyze and interpret data to solve problems for various industries and stay updated on current trends in the field. Most mathematicians need a master's degree, but some may be able to work with a bachelor's degree.

Personal Financial Advisors

Accounting can be a good background for personal financial advisors, as it would prepare them to examine their clients' financial needs and goals and help them find the best plan for managing their finances. Personal financial advisors may help their clients decide between particular insurance policies, investments, mortgages, retirement plans and more, which means that they must be able to clearly explain the options to their clients and answer any questions their clients may have about an option. These professionals also help monitor their clients' accounts and will suggest or make changes to it as necessary to stay aligned with the clients' goals and needs. Most of these advisors have a bachelor's degree, but may pursue a master's degree and certification to advance.

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