If you have an eye for detail, enjoy analyzing numbers and possess an overall interest in business, a career in accounting or business administration may be a good fit. The best way to gain entry into these fields is by attaining an undergraduate degree. Although a two-year associate degree program will provide an introduction to business and management concepts, most entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Continuing your education by earning a master’s degree is an excellent way to advance your career.
Multiple functional areas are open to the business administration graduate. Broad coursework curriculum grooms candidates for jobs in fields such as accounting, marketing, sales and human resources. Other possible career paths lie in consulting, investment banking, technology and health care administration. Career choices also vary for those who hold an accounting degree--including work in auditing, compliance, financial planning and analysis or cash management.
Accounting and business administration positions are required in almost every organization from fledgling start-ups to major corporations. Industries ranging from nonprofit organizations to those specializing in high-tech products and services require individuals to deal with day-to-day business operations and reporting. These occupations are also found within government agencies, educational institutions and retail companies.
When recruiting to fill a position in business or accounting, employers look for key skills and attributes that extend beyond technical knowledge. Candidates should possess integrity and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. High on the job qualification list may be strong organizational skills and the ability to problem solve.
Salaries and Outlook
Base compensation for these occupations may vary in relation to the location, industry or by employer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual average wage for accountants in May 2008 was $72,270. Further data from the BLS shows a projected 22 percent growth in employment for accountants and auditors between 2008 and 2018. At the managerial level, requiring a larger scope of responsibility, financial managers holding a degree in business administration surveyed in 2008 reported an annual average salary of $110,640.
Potential and Benefits
In addition to the positive job outlook for accountants, and the broad functional choices for those in business administration, potential for career growth is open-ended. Those who develop stellar management, communication and analytical skills can move up a ladder. Corporate controller and chief financial officer positions are high-ranking spots in the accounting job family, and many chief executive officers and functional vice presidents hold business degrees. Compensation packages for these senior management positions may consist of a base salary and incentives that include long- and short-term bonuses, stock options and various perquisites.
2016 Salary Information for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $68,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, accountants and auditors earned a 25th percentile salary of $53,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $90,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,397,700 people were employed in the U.S. as accountants and auditors.