How do I Become an Accounting Supervisor?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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People who are detail-oriented and enjoy working with numbers and computer systems often want to become an accounting supervisor. Accounting supervisors are found in a wide range of industries, ranging from retail to manufacturing. The primary role of the accounting supervisor is to manage a staff of accounting clerks, who are responsible for processing accounting related transactions, such as deposits, invoice payments, and reconciliations.

Most people who want to become an accounting supervisor follow a standard career and training program. He or she completes a post-secondary training program in accounting, obtains related work experience, passes the Certified Professional Accountant® (CPA®) certification examination, and secures a position as a supervisor. Although some candidates do not follow this path, the vast majority of employers require the accounting supervisor to have completed formal training in accounting and possess a professional designation. In many firms, the accounting supervisor is responsible for ensuring compliance with policies and managing staff.

The first requirement to become an accounting supervisor is to complete a post-secondary education program in accounting. This type of training is widely available at both the college and university levels. The average program is three to four years in length, and covers a wide range of courses, from finance to statistics.


The certification examination to become a professional accountant is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants® (AICPA®). In order to achieve this designation, candidates must complete a course of study, have sufficient, relevant working experience, and successfully complete the Uniform CPA Examination. This exam is very difficult and requires years of preparation and study. Upon successful completion, candidates can use the CPA® designation after their name. Once you become an accounting supervisor, you will be required to meet specific continuing education course requirements to maintain your standing as a CPA®.

Related work experience required to become an accounting supervisor is typically as either an accounting clerk or as a bookkeeper. In addition to accounting skills, candidates must also have experience supervising and managing others. This type of experience is the most difficult to obtain within the workplace. Many people volunteer in outside agencies or activities to gain experience at a supervisory level.

The vast majority of large firms prefer to promote staff from within. This is especially true in accounting, where all candidates are required to follow the same type of career path. Keep your supervisor informed of your progress in the CPA® program, and volunteer to perform additional duties or work in a supervisory capacity on a small project. Use these opportunities to show your skills, so that you will be considered for an accounting supervisor position.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

@Laotionne - Depending on your educational experience, you might want to start as an assistant to a bookkeeper. I have a friend who works as the bookkeeper at her brother-in-law's oil company. They are always hiring people to help with some of the day to day duties of keeping the accounts in order and keeping payroll in order.

Many of these duties will help get you prepared for accounting jobs in the future. And this may also give you an idea of whether accounting is really for you.

Post 2

@Laotionne - There is always a chance for good competent workers to advance and move forward in their careers. I run a small business and I am always looking to promote hard workers who go the extra mile and who are good at their jobs.

What I get from this article is that if you want to eventually rise to the position of accounting supervisor with a company then you need to get in on the ground floor with a quality company and outline your career path with the idea of being at that company for a long time. This way when a supervisor position becomes available your work history with the company will at least give you a chance at the position.

Post 1

I see a lot of classified ads in the newspaper and online for bookkeeper jobs and also for entry level accounting jobs. I think I could possibly get hired for one of these positions, but I would not want to be a basic bookkeeper for the rest of my life. I want a career where I can move up and do different things. Reading this article makes me think that getting to be an accounting supervisor could be very difficult.

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