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California State University, Long Beach
Student receiving Career advise on choosing a Major
 

Accounting: What can I do with this Major?

PUBLIC ACCOUNTING
CAREER
Auditing/Assurance Services
Tax
Environmental Accounting
Forensic/Investigative Accounting
Information Technology Services
International Accounting
Personal Financial Planning
EMPLOYERS
Public accounting firms:
  • Large/multinational
  • Regional
  • Local
Sole practitioners
STRATEGIES
Public accounting firms hire candidates who meet the educational requirements for sitting for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam: 150 hours of education including 24 hours of accounting, i.e. the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in accounting.

State laws govern the practice of accountancy and specify the requirements to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. In most states, the State Board of Accountancy has a website that outlines those requirements.
CORPORATE ACCOUNTING
CAREER
Financial Management
Financial Reporting
Internal Auditing
Cost Accounting
Tax Planning
Budget Analysis
EMPLOYERS
Companies of all sizes, in all industries
STRATEGIES
Many managers in corporate settings obtain an MBA degree after several years of work experience.
GOVERNMENT
CAREER
Auditing
Financial Reporting
Financial Management
Budget Analysis
Research
EMPLOYERS
Federal agencies and departments including:
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Department of the Treasury
  • General Accounting Office
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Securities Exchange Commission,
  • State and local agencies
STRATEGIES
Become familiar with the government application process.
EDUCATION
CAREER
Teaching
Research
Consulting
EMPLOYERS
Universities and colleges
STRATEGIES
A Ph.D. in Accounting or a DBA, Doctorate in Business Administration, in accounting is generally required. Maintain a high GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations for admittance into graduate school.
NON-PROFIT
CAREER
Accounting
Internal Audit
Financial Planning
Budgeting
Money Handling
Record Keeping
EMPLOYERS
Social service agencies and organizations
Hospitals
Public school systems
Universities and colleges
Religious organizations
Libraries and museums
Political parties
Labor unions
STRATEGIES
Volunteer at non-profit organizations and build a network of contacts in the non-profit sector.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Earn good grades. Grades are an indicator of technical competence in accounting and of a person’s work ethic.
  • Actively participate in student organizations to develop leadership skills.
  • Develop excellent computer skills.
  • Learn to work well within in a team.
  • Develop strong communication skills.
  • Gain work experience and information about careers through internships.
  • Join Beta Alpha Psi, the honorary fraternity for accounting and finance information professionals, to gain knowledge about the accounting profession.
  • Certifications available through the Institute of Internal Auditors or the Institute of Management Accountants may increase job marketability in some areas of accounting.
  • Accounting students should develop their analytical, critical-thinking and problem solving skills. Develop high ethical standards.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail are important traits for accountants.
  • Accounting is a versatile degree. Students who graduate with a major in accounting may find jobs in many areas of business including: sales, production management, client management, product development, procurement, general management, banking and financial planning.