Deep Throat said, “Follow the money.” Jerry McGuire said, “Show me the money.” Neither was talking to an accountant, but if they had they may have gotten quicker results. Accountants handle the money and finances for businesses or individuals. Some accountants are self-employed or work for an accounting firm and handle multiple clients; others work in-house for just one company. Either way, they’re responsible for recording and interpreting financial information, making sure taxes are properly paid, and paying all the bills. While associate’s degrees in Accounting are available (and a good option for those looking to a career in bookkeeping), most jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Remember the dreaded “story problems” from math class? Accounting majors actually like those. What’s more, they’re pretty good at them – taking real situations and finding a mathematical solution to them. They like spreadsheets and data. And they definitely like balanced budgets (though they may not see them often).
Accountants are good with data. They can keep track of lots of information without getting confused, and they can remember details. They are good at math, and they’re skilled with computers. They also need to be extremely trust-worthy.
If balancing your own checkbook isn’t a strongpoint of yours, and if you have a knack for bouncing checks so high they touch the ceiling, you may not want to become an Accountant so much as hire one.
Accountants are commonly known as “bean counters,” but more than counting skills are required. You’ll take classes on economics and statistics, learn a lot about computer programs you’ll use, and get a load of experience with math.
Some Accountants work for firms that, for the most part, are crazy busy during tax season and then relatively quiet for the rest of the year. Others are busy year-round as auditors. If you don’t mind being among the most hated individuals in the country, you can aspire to be an accountant with the IRS. Or you could go a totally different route and try out forensic accounting. (They’re like CSI agents, but instead of dusting for fingerprints at the crime scene, they search for laundered money in mobsters’ checking accounts.)
You’ll need to get good grades in college to get a good job. So it just makes sense that you’ll need to get good grades in high school to get into the program. Take all the math classes you can, and ace them.
While you can get a lot of jobs with a bachelor’s degree, you’re not really golden until you’re a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). That requires an extra year beyond your bachelor’s and passing a really tough exam. Working toward your CPA will take you longer, but can make all the difference in the job hunt and beyond.