February 15th, 2013
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To become an accountant or to work as an auditor, individuals will need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in nearly all areas of study. Accountant training is not something that is thought of lightly. No business wants to put its books in the hands of someone who may not be able to handle them. Since this is a very important part of managing a business, most employers are very specific about who they hire. Those with ample training are more likely to enter into higher paying jobs especially with a CPA license in hand.
Education and Formal Accountant Training
Most accountants will need to enroll in an accredited accounting program and student to complete a degree in the field. This is generally a bachelor’s degree in accounting, though some finance degrees may also help. Some employers seek out those who have a master’s degree in the field, though most students will work in the field before actually obtaining their masters. Concentrations in accounting with a business degree may also fill the formal education requirement of an individual who wishes to work in this field.
Some schools also offer additional training and degree programs in very specific areas of accounting. For example, some will offer internal auditing programs that focus on this area of the business. Others offer associate or certificate programs as bookkeepers, who may not have as much experience in the field.
Depending on the field that you work in, you may be required to obtain a license. Accountants who will work in an area of the business in which they will submit a report with the SEC, or Securities And Exchange Commission, is required to hold a CPA. Many accountants will have this designation to ensure they can provide accurate reporting. In order to become a CPA, the individual will need to complete course work required and then sit for the state’s Board of Accountancy exam. The CPA exam in a national exam, though some states add additional requirements onto these students. Most CPA training requires at least 150 hours of semester coursework as well as a 40-year bachelor’s degree.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants manages the Uniform CPA Examination. All four parts must be passed to obtain this designation.
Once the student has the necessary education, there is a period of on the job training that is often necessary. Though most educational programs now provide ample training in computer-based accounting programs and modern accounting methods, every company is somewhat different. For those working for any agency or any business, it is critical to consider this on the job training as an opportunity to get to know the company and the policies it has in place.
Becoming an accountant will take several years, but it can be a very rewarding job. Those who are numbers-oriented are likely to have the best possible results in this field. However, it is critical to consider the options available in bookkeeping if you do not want to spend this long in school since it requires a significantly shorter period of learning.