What you need to know
Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.
Most accountants and auditors work in offices, but some work from home. Although they complete much of their work alone, they sometimes work in teams with other accountants and auditors. Accountants and auditors may travel to their clients’ places of business.
Some of the things an accountant or auditor might do:
- Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
- Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
- Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
- Organize and maintain financial records
- Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
- Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits
- Analytical skills: Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.
- Communication skills: Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.
- Detail oriented: Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.
- Math skills: Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.
- Organizational skills: Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors, who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.
The average pay for accountants or auditors in the United States ranges from $43,650 to $122,840 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
Globalization, a growing economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to continue to lead to strong demand for accountants and auditors.
Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree, either in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Many colleges help students gain practical experience through summer or part-time internships with public accounting or business firms.
Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Accounting.