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Depending on where you work, you may assist a bookkeeper, controller or finance director with a variety of tasks. In some cases, especially if you don’t have a ton of previous experience, your role may be similar to that of an accounting assistant.
Common tasks that will cross your desk include processing invoices, assisting accounts payable and receivable teams and establishing and maintaining financial records. You’ll also likely lend a hand with other clerical duties, as needed.
Above all, the skills, training and experience you’ll bring to the table as an accountant can easily open the door to a bright future in other, more senior finance and accounting jobs.
As an accountant, you’ll typically work in an office setting, collaborating with and reporting to an accountant or other accounting professionals while providing support for a variety of tasks. If you work for a smaller company; you may also perform administrative or clerical duties as a part of your job. At larger companies, on the other hand, you may have a more specialized accounting role.
Your compensation as an accountant will vary largely as a function of your level of previous experience. If you’re just starting out in your career as an accountant, for example, expect to take home around $48,000 annually. For accountants with three-to-five years of experience, on the other hand, annual salaries are around $52,000 right now.
In general, accounting salaries are consistent across the U.S., indicating a strong demand for professionals with these skills from coast to coast. Once you gain some accounting experience, what’s more, you may opt to continue your training and become a certified public accountant (CPA), in which case you can significantly increase your earning potential.
Accountants work closely with their company's accounting teams to prepare a variety of financial documents. As an accountant , tasks you'll likely handle every day include:
Virtually every business in the U.S. requires support with its accounting and finance functions, which means that accounting candidates are highly in demand across nearly every industry. That said, you’re likely going to find the greatest demand in the following three industries: finance and insurance, professional, scientific and technical services and healthcare and social assistance.
Accounting positions require proficiency in office and accounting software, as well as strong technical skills. Skills employers look for in accounting s include:
Prior experience with industry-standard accounting software will also help you fast-track your career and land higher-paying jobs.
You'll likely need a high school diploma, at minimum, in order to qualify for most accounting jobs, though some employers may look for candidates with university-level education in business administration, finance, accounting or a related field.
At the same time, many accounting employers will provide on-the-job training, access to professional development resources — or even support to help you continue your education and become a certified public accountant (CPA).
Employment opportunities for accountants continue to evolve, and many previously manual accounting tasks have become automated. With today’s advanced accounting software, what’s more, it has become possible for accountants to handle many of the tasks once reserved for certified public accountants (CPAs).
Over time, many accountants opt to continue their education in order to access more senior job opportunities with higher pay and other benefits. If you aren't interested in becoming an accountant specifically, however, another option is to choose a specialty and move into a related field like accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll administration or similar. But either way, you’ll find that your finance and accounting skill set is highly in demand with employers across industries today.