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What Are the Different Accounting Jobs?

Upper-level accounting jobs may include serving as the comptroller or chief financial officer of a company.
Accounting clerks are usually the lowest position in an accounting office.
Forensic accountants may be called upon as expert witnesses to testify in court.
Accountants are responsible for the finances of the company they work for.
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  • Written By: L. Hepfer
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2014
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There are basically four different types of accounting jobs: public accounting, management accounting, governmental accounting, and internal audit accounting. While each accounting job may differ slightly in its job responsibilities and work atmosphere, all accountants are responsible for the finances of the company or the client they work for. They take care of all business transactions and bookkeeping.

A public accountant has the broadest opportunities of all accounting jobs. A public accountant may work alone and be self-employed, or may share a business with several other public accountants. The job responsibilities of a public accountant may vary from personal bookkeeping, to analyzing the finances and managing accounting services for the client. Clients may simply be one individual, a business, a non-profit organization, or a large firm or agency.

Public accountants may prepare their client's taxes each year, and give financial advice regarding employment compensation. They may audit financial records to make sure they are balanced. Forensic accountants are public accountants, but specialize in analyzing financial records to identify fraud, money laundering or embezzlement. These accountants usually work directly with lawyers and law enforcement officers, and may have to testify in court regarding their findings.

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Management accountants work for businesses as private accountants. This type of accountant does not have varied list of responsibilities compared to the public accountant, but rather has a more structured schedule of responsibilities. The company they work for trusts them to manage and budget the finances. Cost management or performance evaluation may be assessed as well. They may budget new financial plans and products, and also prepare the company's taxes every year.

Government accounting jobs are the third type of accounting job. This particular accounting job is solely restricted to working for government agencies. They make sure all records comply with the law, and they may also be involved in budgeting and assessing finances in a management capacity.

Internal auditing accountants are primarily responsible for reviewing a company's financial records to point out any mismanagement of funds, as well as fraudulent activity. They evaluate a company's budget for efficiency, and make sure they comply with all laws and regulations. They may specialize in specific areas that include the environment, compliance, or technology.

Most accountants begin their careers in entry-level positions as bookkeepers or accounting clerks. After some experience, higher positions such as an accounting director may be obtained. Management levels of various accounting jobs include becoming a comptroller, or a chief financial officer of a company. As with any job, the higher the position - the greater responsibilities; however, it also means the higher the pay.

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myharley
Post 4

Accounting was something I never had any interest in or patience for. I was much more interested in jobs where there was more creativity and less structure.

Having said that, I think that forensic accounting would be a very interesting line of work. Working with cases that deal with fraud and embezzlement would not be boring.

Whenever I hear of cases on the news where people embezzled thousands of dollars, I find myself intrigued by this.

For me it seems crazy that people think they will actually get away with it. Sooner or later, it always catches up to them and they get caught.

I am curious what the average salary for a forensic accountant is? Do you also need to have any other special kind of schooling or training in addition to your accounting degree?

sunshined
Post 3

I have a friend who had one year of college with an accounting certificate. She worked for the same company for 25 years and then lost her job.

Even though she had years of experience, she had a tough time when it came to her accounting job search. Most all the jobs she felt she was qualified for wanted someone with a college degree.

She seriously thought about going back to school to get her accounting degree so she would be more marketable. She finally ended up getting a temporary accounting job.

She worked there for almost a year and then they offered her a permanent position. She is still thinking about taking some online classes in accounting and work towards getting her degree.

LisaLou
Post 2

I don't have an accounting degree, but am considered the bookkeeper/office manager of a small local business.

I think this a common practice in many small companies who can only afford one person to run the office and take care of all the duties.

I must say when I applied for his part time accounting job many years ago, I had no idea how much I would learn.

Because I didn't have a degree, I didn't think I would get the job, but I had some previous accounting experience.

I enjoy my job, but have always liked the accounting duties and keeping track of the books. Because there isn't anyone else who works in the office, it has forced me to learn much more than I ever would have otherwise.

bagley79
Post 1

I have a cousin who has her accounting degree, and this has been a very successful career for her. When she graduated from college, she started out working in small town banks.

Her husband was a farmer and they relied heavily on her income. He suffered some health problems, and they were looking for something different.

She didn't see a lot of accounting job openings in the rural area where they lived, so she started applying in other places.

She was very surprised when she was called to interview for the accounting job at a hospital. This position was for the chief financial officer of the hospital and was a significant pay raise for her.

She ended up getting the job, and while she enjoys the challenges and pay of this job, there are many stressful days as well. She has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders that she takes very seriously.

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