Accountants and auditors go beyond the duties of preparing and filing taxes on time since businesses also need employees who oversee their financial operations and maintain efficient record-keeping. The job outlook for an accountant is good, but also involves fierce competition regarding high-paying and prestigious positions within the field. Those who obtain higher education and experience in accounting can take advantage of more rewarding job prospects.

Outlook for the Accounting Industry

The anticipated addition of 190,700 jobs by 2020 will bring the total of accountants working in the United States to 1,407,600. The majority of accountants will need at least a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field to vie for entry-level positions. Some employers prefer applicants who have a Master’s degree in accounting, which means competition is fierce for higher-paying jobs or obtaining a position within a prominent firm. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, states with the highest employment level for an accountant include California with 133,570, Texas with 91,390, New York with 94,300, Florida with 74,020, and Pennsylvania with 53,960 jobs.

Accountant Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth of employment for accountants to rise 16% from 2010 to 2020, which is nearly the same as the average for all other occupations. In 2010, around 1.2 million jobs were held by accountants, 24% of which found employment providing accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. The BLS states the larger concentration of accountants also worked in the following industries: 8% worked in finance and insurance, 7% state and local government excluding education and hospitals, 6% worked in manufacturing and another 6% worked in the management of companies and enterprises.

Growth in the Accounting Industry

In recent years, economic and financial crises for individuals, businesses and corporations have added to the demand for better record-keeping and financial documentation. The need to stay in line with financial regulations is also greater than ever before. Thorough accounting practices help businesses avoid corporate scandals and future financial ruin. In order to comply with new standards, accountants will see a rise in job growth as the demand for their services increases. Also, the continued trend to globalize business should cause more of a demand in professionals with accounting expertise that can deliver services that relate to international trade, as well as international mergers and acquisitions.

Increasing Job Opportunities

The accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition should encounter the best prospects within the field. Job applicants who possess a Master’s degree in accounting or have a Master’s degree in business with a concentration in accounting may typically enjoy an advantage when pursuing a career in the field. The majority of accountants and auditors will need at least a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field to stay competitive. Certification within a specific field of accounting drastically improves job prospects. For example, those who have excelled as a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, should enjoy a wider range of job opportunities.
Competition for landing a job with the most prestigious accounting and business firms is still high, and those who demonstrate the most experience and knowledge regarding specialty services are most likely to do the best.