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Learning Center Experience
By Dominique Rodgers
Monster Contributing Writer
For many of people, accountants conjure up scary images of spreadsheets, calculators and possibly ourselves being led away in handcuffs because of a mistake on our taxes. But many accountants do interesting work. Read on for some of the hottest jobs in accounting.
Fancy yourself more of a boardroom type than a bean counter? You might make an excellent chief financial officer. "Management accountants work at the intersection of finance and business. They have deep technical expertise and broad understanding of how various functions work together," says Ash Noah, vice president of external relations at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. "The CFO is probably the most recognized management accountant, and the roles and opportunities are increasing as companies contend with growing uncertainty, complexity and volumes of data." To take this path, you'll need to be a certified public accountant, at minimum. Additional business training and accounting certifications, such as managerial accountancy, will help.
If you're a bit of a sleuth, you may want to consider using your smarts to detect criminal activity as a forensic accountant. Companies are seeking out candidates with expertise in forensic accounting and SEC reporting because of the increased complexity of regulatory compliance and incidents of fraud, says Carlos Segrera, president of Segrera and Associates, an accounting recruitment firm in Miami. To go this route, you'll need an accounting degree and your CPA.
One of the hottest areas in accounting right now has to do with taxes. This career path is taking off "because businesses are realizing that tax decisions affect the flow of capital across borders and help maximize shareholder returns," says Mark Mendola, the U.S. tax leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Organizations must contend with a tax code in constant flux, increasing regulation, governments hungry for revenues and shareholder expectations. They require strategic advice not only to comply with tax obligations, but also to engage in tax planning that complements their business objectives." Most tax professionals have their CPA and additional tax certifications. Some jobs will require a master's of science in accounting.
Sheila May is a CPA who works primarily with attorneys doing business valuation. "Business valuation is a lucrative and in demand career for accountants," she says. "Businesses are valued for a myriad of reasons - divorce, investor information, loan applications, change in organizational structure, etc. Accountants are in a unique position to provide the answers the owners are looking for at these crucial and key points." This job will require additional knowledge of finance and tax.
If you're a people person, you may like working more with individuals or families than businesses. A daily money manager handles personal bookkeeping and everyday accounting activities. Clients range from "a senior citizen who has memory loss and can no longer handle the day-to-day financial administration of their lives" to C-suite executives with limited time, according to Liz Crystal, DMM and personal financial consultant. Your clients will be more apt to trust you if you have increased education, so an accounting degree and additional certifications would be ideal.
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