Industry Update: Top 10 Options for Accounting Graduates

'Flexibility' isn't a word that has been associated with the accounting profession--until now. Suddenly, possessing an accounting degree and following a path related to the profession is hot, as accounting students realize they don't have to follow the crowd into public accounting.

Why the sudden interest? The demographics of the new accounting grad have changed, and a new generation of workers is now employable in ways outside the traditional accounting firm or internal auditing scenario.

Analysts say there are dozens of career choices to pursue. The The College Majors Handbook lists occupations for people with a bachelor's degree in accounting. Here are the top ten, according to the Handbook:

  • 1. Accountants, auditors, other financial specialists
  • 2. Top- and mid-level managers, executives, administrators
  • 3. Accounting clerks, bookkeepers
  • 4. Other management-related occupations
  • 5. Insurance, securities, real estate, business services
  • 6. Other administrative (record clerks, telephone operators)
  • 7. Sales occupations, including retail
  • 8. Other marketing and sales occupations
  • 9. Computer systems analyst
  • 10. Other computer and information-science occupations

The opportunities for those with an accounting education do not end with this list. Accountants have the training to become a special agent with the FBI, a securities sales representative, or a purchasing agent. Still others pursue careers in health care, compensation, forensic accounting, and of couse Internet and technology-related careers.

According to the College Majors Handbook, 15 percent of accountants work for themselves as the owner of a small business or as a consultant. While the majority (65 percent) work for public accounting firms or companies, that leaves 20 percent of accountants looking for something different in their career choices. The accounting degree opens doors in a vast array of fields - get creative and use your imagination.

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