Detail step by Step Guide on How to become an Accountant. An accountant is a professional who performs accounting functions such as accounting audits and accounts analysis.
  Detail step by Step Guide on How to become an Accountant

In the words of a layman, an accountant maintains and inspects financial records, prepares and completes tax returns, understands the impact of financial laws and regulations and proposes solutions to business roadblocks. 

Since an accountant deals with money, integrity is one of the most important qualities they must possess. They can be either employed with some organization or they can set up their own practice. 


Detail step by Step Guide on How to become an Accountant

In this detailed step by step guide, we will discuss the process of becoming a successful accountant.

1.   Obtain the right degree

While it is not mandatory to get a bachelor’s degree for all accounting positions, most do attend college to earn one for better career prospects. Bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A total of 150 credit hours is the minimum required to successfully graduate with a degree in accounting. Accounting degree programs are quite popular and available at colleges and universities across the US. For aspirants who cannot afford to shift base or attend full-time classes may opt for distance learning. Aspirants should make sure that they check for full accreditation before pursuing any program.

2.   Get the right internship

while studies will provide the required theoretical knowledge, the right internship will give you a hands-on experience about how the industry works. Working at a paid or unpaid internship will help you gain knowledge and increase your chances of getting a better-paid job offer. Internships can also help you build contacts and networks for future professional references.

3.   Choose the right specialty

Usually, accountants specialize in one or more areas of practice. The two most common areas of specialization are - Public Accounting and Corporate or Business Accounting. There are a number of other sub-specializations available like managerial accounting, taxes, internal auditing, etc.

4.   Determination of a career path

Determine the apt career path- whether you want to be an accountant or a CPA. It will give you a fair idea about the requirements to actively practice in your specialty. An accountant doesn’t always require certifications or licensure and typically works within an organization. Whereas, for a CPA, it is imperative to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree, pass the CPA exam and work for a set 1800 hours under the supervision of an active licensed CPA. While deciding which career path to pursue in accounting, an individual must honestly assess their personal goals and willingness to put in considerable time and effort that will be required.

5.   Clear all exams

If you choose to pursue the CPA, it is mandatory to pass the CPA exam. There are four parts of the CPA exam. They are Audit and Attestation, Business Environment, Concepts, and Financial Accounting and Reporting. This exam is offered during the first two months of every quarter over several days. The candidates are free to take the tests in order of their choice. Once they have passed one part, it is mandatory that they successfully complete the remaining parts within 18 months from the date of passing. 

6.   Land a job

Most companies offer jobs if you perform well during internships. Make sure you work towards landing a job with your interning company. You can also apply for entry-level jobs on job portals and make use of your contacts and networking-that you have honed during internships.

7.   Decide on continuing further education

In order to keep up with the latest accounting trends, continuing education is the key. Earning a certification or a master’s degree in an accounting specialization can help boost your job prospects. The most successful of accountants never put a stop to their studies. In order to keep up with the latest accounting trends, you will need to continuously participate in education that will help you enhance your accounting skills.

What are the types of degrees for an accountant?

If you are planning to pursue a career in Accounting, the following you help you decide:


1.   Associate Degree

This degree provides a solid grounding in the field of accounting and related subjects and paves the way for an entry-level job with an organization’s finance department. An associate’s degree in accounting will help you bag jobs like billing clerk, staff bookkeeper, etc.  An associate’s degree program is available both online and in traditional classroom settings and can take anywhere between 1 to 2 years to complete.

2.   Bachelor’s Degree

Most staff accounting positions require you to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Principles of accounting, business communications, accounting technology, and business law are the mandatory subjects in an accounting bachelor’s program. There will be other subjects too depending on your college. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is available both online and in traditional classroom settings and can take up to four years depending on your previous college credits. After completion of your bachelor’s program in accounting, you can work as a tax examiner, budget analyst, auditor, financial analyst amongst others.

3.   Master’s Degree

If you want to climb the ladders in your accounting career, a master’s degree will help you with that. It will open doors for managerial level jobs across various industries like the banking sector, construction companies, and high tech companies. This degree will require you to commit one to two years of your time

4.   Doctoral Degree

If you are interested in research and want to move to academia within accounting you will have to pursue a doctoral degree. A Ph.D. usually takes up 4-5 years of full-time study. Most doctoral programs have 3 major components: coursework, research & dissertation and comprehensive examinations. For those interested in taking up teaching as a profession, Ph.D. is a great option

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