Some people will follow their hearts and others will follow their mind. A third group will follow the money. They are people making career choices that may affect them for the next 40-60 years.
Those with their mind on the money could find a career that satisfies the heart. As with any position, there is a starting point and an ending point. In the accounting profession, the starting point is a position as Junior Accountant.
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that accounting is one of the top-10 growth industries for the next quarter century. This forecast is especially appealing when you consider that earnings can top $50,000 per year.
Accountants in the top 10% earn up to $100,000, sometimes more. At the opposite end of the group, 10% will earn about $30,000. Members of this lower group would be those starting out as accounting clerks. Junior Accountants could serve as accounting clerks depending upon education and experience.
A senior accountant would hire someone who is new to the profession as an assistant to perform some duties. Junior Accountants might prepare journal entries, keep the balance sheet current and assist with monthly account closings. They are there to support the senior accountant by accomplishing some of the accounting department responsibilities.
Attention to accuracy and detail is one measure of competent performance. This includes the ability to analyze issues and skill to solve problems efficiently. Top-notch communication skills are central to the planning, organizing and scheduling projects by priority.
In addition to those general items, a Junior Accountant can perform other duties. They can do the preparation of monthly financial reports, calculate taxes and maintain accounts receivable and accounts payable. This person must have the knowledge and ability to prepare forecasts and create matching budgets.
The depth and intensity of projects that are in the hands of a senior accountant require that this assistant be able to administer payroll, do the bank reconciliations and prepare materials necessary to the audit process. The maintenance of internal financial controls and associated procedures might be assigned to a Junior Accountant.
Character and Education
The most important personal characteristic is a high degree of personal integrity. It is important that a potential accountant possess a high mathematical aptitude, an ability to analyze mathematical information quickly and the ability to interact easily with people, computers and business systems.
The Junior Accountant is an entry-level position currently requiring a four-year college degree, namely a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. It is possible to accept employment after completing only 75% of this degree. Those choosing to do this would have an expectation of employment after graduation. A Master’s Degree, license or certification along with ability to use accounting software holds a ticket to some of the best positions.
Accounting Career Advantages
Consider these four career advantages available to accountants. The first is the level of earnings available. Other careers may pay well, but they do not appear in the top-10 growth industries.
The second advantage is the level of growth that this industry is expecting. Third is the range of clients that you could choose to service: individuals, non-profits, corporations and the government. Fourth is the advantage to choose from a wide range of workplace environments. You could even choose to work at home.