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How Do I Become an International Accountant?

International accountants often have advanced degrees and may speak multiple languages.
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  • Written By: Jill Gonzalez
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2014
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For most international accountant positions with United States-based employers, you will need to have a bachelor's degree in accounting. Many companies, however, require candidates to have an advanced education in order to become an international accountant. Qualifying credentials may include a master's degree in accounting, or holding credentials as a certified public accountant (CPA). In some cases, candidates who have earned a master's degree in business administration (MBA) will qualify for these types of jobs.

The majority of international accounting positions require candidates to have at least five years of related work experience, though some require as little as two years. Very few of these positions are entry level, though it is not impossible to find them, particularly if you graduated from a top-level college or university. Keep in mind that some employers will be looking for applicants who specialize in one or more areas of accounting. If there is at least one aspect of this field that you could claim expert-level experience in, or call it a specialty, you may have an advantage over your competitors.

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Due to the very nature of international work environments, you may be expected to know at least one additional language if you want to become an international accountant. Some employers will be looking for applicants who can speak, read, and write in multiple foreign languages. Do not be discouraged, however, if you do not have this particular skill. If your educational credentials are impressive enough, the inability to converse in a foreign language might not necessarily eliminate you from contention.

Foreign languages aside, to become an international accountant, it is possible you will need to have excellent communication skills in your native tongue. In addition to communicating with your coworkers, you may also find yourself required to communicate with people from other companies. These individuals may not only speak a different language, they may also be from different cultures and environments. If you have some background or training in international communication practices, it may go a long way towards helping you find a good job.

Depending on which countries your employer does business with, you will probably be required to have knowledge of accounting practices in other countries. You will typically need to be well-versed in areas such as taxation, audit policies, and allocation of expenses. This can be quite complicated, which is why having an educational background in international accounting procedures can help you to become an international accountant.

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