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Accounting : Job Prospects & Career Options

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As the economy grows and the number of businesses increases, more accountants are required to set up account books, prepare tax returns and provide management advice regarding financial matters. Accountants are always on demand and a diverse range of exciting careers are available for accounting graduates to choose from. 

People can start their career as a junior accountant and can reach various top level positions such as Senior accountant, Chief financial officer, auditor, budget analyst, financial manager, tax consultant etc. An accountant's work can range from auditing, which is the formal analysis of an organization's financial statements, to the daily bookkeeping that ensures the accounts are maintained correctly. Places where they can find work include public accounting firms, government departments, non-profit organisations, private firms etc. They could also start their own accounting or auditing firm. 

The four major fields of accounting are:

Public accountants - Public accountants work with different clients to assist their accounting needs. They provide accounting services to individuals, businesses and governments. As a public accountant you will focus primarily on tax functions and auditing. They advice on the most effective use of financial resources.

Management accountants - Management accountants also called industrial, corporate or private accountants. Their main responsibilities involve cost management, budgeting, asset management and performance evaluation. Management accountants analyze and interpret financial information and assist to make sound business decisions. 

Government accountants-Government accountants may work at the local/state level or the central level, administer and formulate budgets, track costs and analyze programs. With this position, you work in a variety of government departments such as the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defence.

Internal Auditors- They conduct audits to ensure compliance with accounting laws and working to make sure that accounting information systems are up to the standard. Verify the accuracy of financial reports and guard against waste or fraud in company operations. Specifically, they examine and evaluate their firms financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls to ensure that records are accurate and controls are adequate to protect against fraud and waste. 

Options available in this field are that of

Auditors - The job of the auditors is to ensure the credibility of the financial accounting data and financial statements in private sector companies as well as public sector companies. Work in audit involves checking accounting ledgers and financial statements.

Budget and credit analyst- Budget analysts are responsible for developing and managing an organizations financial plans. They forecasts expenditure incurred, analyses records of present and past operations. There are many opportunities for a budget analysis accountant in private as well as government agencies.

Financial accountant- Financial accountants draw information from the general ledgers to prepare financial statements. The core function of a Financial Accountant involves analyzing and recording business transactions, financial statements, with information from the ledgers by preparing general ledger accounts, trial balances etc.

Tax accountants-  Tax accountants prepare corporate and personal income tax statements and formulate tax strategies. Based on their statement financial choices are made as how to best treat a merger or acquisition, deferral of taxes, when to expense items and the like. They clarify current tax laws to clients, advises on ways to avoid tax by smart investments and assists businesses in calculating annual tax returns. They need to have a thorough understanding of economics and up-to-date information on the tax code and laws of the country. 

Management accountant - Management accountants work in companies and contribute to decisions about capital budgeting and business analysis. Major functions include cost analysis, analysis of new contracts and participation in efforts to control expenses efficiently. They work along with marketing and financial managers to take business decisions.

Teachers/Lecturers- Teaching is another noble profession. If you have a knack for teaching and the required qualification, you can work as professors, or as researchers in universities or colleges. Pursuing BEd, MEd, M. Phil or passing the NET Exam can give an edge for those interested in teaching. 

Forensic accountant - Forensic accountants  frequently work for public accounting firms, banks, the IRS (Indian Revenue Service), insurance companies and law firms.

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