Bookkeeping and accounting refers to keeping record of the finances, transactions and taxes of businesses and individuals. The following article may help you decide whether a career in accounting and bookkeeping might be a good fit for you.
If you are quick with math and you enjoy working and communicating with people, then you might be well-matched for a career in bookkeeping and accounting. Bookkeepers and accountants maintain financial records, prepare reports and calculate financial data. They generally work daytime hours in an office setting but will sometimes work longer hours during certain times of the year, such as tax season.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that 212,400 bookkeeping jobs would be added between the years 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The demand for accountants is expected to be much higher than the national average, with employment projected to increase by 22 percent in 2008-2018. According to the BLS, as of May of 2010 bookkeepers made a median annual income of $34,030 and accountants made $61,690. The salary of an employee that works in bookkeeping and accounting is usually higher if they have obtained a certification or completed a degree program in business with a concentration in accounting.
Bookkeepers are usually not required to have college education, although some employers will prefer applicants who have at least an associate's degree in business. Practicing bookkeepers may become certified and obtain the bookkeeper designation. To become certified, a bookkeeper must have two years of bookkeeping experience, agree to a code of ethics and pass an examination. Bookkeepers pursuing an associate's degree in business accounting may take courses in microeconomics, taxation and business mathematics.
Most employers of accountants desire applicants who have obtained a bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar field. Some businesses will even require the employee to hold a master's degree with a focus on accounting. Accountants will sometimes acquire the Certified Public Accountant designation in addition to completing a degree program. Accountants who possess a professional designation will often have an advantage over those who do not.
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting may be able to take accounting courses covering information systems, business law and global accounting, among other topics. Students who decide to continue on to graduate school may have the opportunity to specialize in areas that include corporate accounting, taxation and assurance. Master's programs in accounting will prepare you for more advanced accounting positions and, when combined with experience, can lead to promotions and a higher salary.