How to find your fit in accounting
Learn about the industries and specializations available to accountants
Ever heard of the buyer’s dilemma? It’s the theory that when shoppers are presented with too many choices—staring at 50 different brands of barbecue sauce in the grocery store, for example—they’ll often just decide to not buy anything. That’s a little like all the career options you’ll face as a CPA. Except, of course, that you didn’t do all this work to become a CPA for nothing. It’s time to get a job. So where do you start? At a public accounting firm? In government? Should you specialize in technology? Forensics?
You have a lot of options. That’s a good thing. The next step is to understand those options so you set the right course for your career. Here they are (click on each one for a closer look):
Choosing an industry is basically choosing who your employer will be. These are the primary six you have to explore:
- Public: The largest percentage of students go to work for public firms, performing accounting services for various clients.
- Corporate: You can also work in an accounting/finance role for a for-profit company.
- Non-profit: Another option you have in the private sector is to work for non-profit companies and organizations.
- Education: You can also use your accounting skills to teach—demand for educators is high.
- Government: There's a need for CPAs in every aspect of federal, state, and local government.
- Consulting. Finally, you can be a CPA who makes businesses better.
There are quite a few specializations you can pursue once you get your CPA license. Specializing will typically earn you more money and boost your marketability, so it's a great idea. Here are some of the most in-demand options:
- Audit: Make sure financial statements are fact, not fiction.
- Financial Forensics: Track down—and help avoid—accounting crime.
- Information Technology: Translate accounting into technology.
- Business Valuation: You decide how much a business is worth.
- Personal Financial Planning: Improve lives through hands-on accounting help.
- Tax: Help companies stay a step ahead of the ever-changing world of tax laws.
- Managerial: See the big picture by mixing financial analysis with business strategy.
Head spinning from the endless opportunities? Find Your Fit to see where you’d be most fulfilled.