Many individuals with aptitudes in numeracy and business disciplines may never consider a career in accounting. If you are one of those people, please reconsider. Accounting is the language of business, and it is at the heart of accurate, ethical business decision-making.
Historically, private, public, and nonprofit organizations sought employees with broadly defined business skills. While this may still be true in smaller companies and in certain industries such as retail and hospitality, the vast percentage of business hires are now from specialized fields such as accounting, supply chain, finance, economics, and marketing. And the accounting field itself is not limited to audit and tax specialties, but also includes areas of consulting.
Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP is a Top 20 certified public accounting firm headquartered in Charlotte with offices here in Greenville. Stacey Ford, DHG’s senior campus diversity recruiter, observes, “At DHG, you can align your passion for accounting with an industry niche that enables you to become a trusted advisor. The accounting industry is ever-evolving and with its evolution comes many great opportunities to explore business practices and offer insights that extend far beyond ledgers and tax returns. It’s an exciting time to be in the profession.”
Among the accounting job fields identified on the website accounting.com are government accounting, forensic accounting, corporate security and risk management, financial consulting, and accounting related to legal matters for law firms.
In addition to identifying 23 sub-disciplines in accounting, the UCG webpage also provides links to articles that explore employment demand, growth potential, and compensation in accounting jobs. Goodcall.com quotes Nichole Wesson, a Los Angeles-based career coach, on requirements in accounting fields: “More than just math proficiency, accounting professionals need to possess soft skills that directly relate to the role they play within the organization. Adaptability, organizational, problem-solving, and communication abilities are some of the soft skills required in accounting roles.”
Further, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “Employment of accountants is expected to grow 11 percent annually from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization, a growing overall economy, and an increasingly complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to lead to strong demand for accountants and auditors.”
It is especially important, in looking at an accounting career, to consider professional certification beyond accounting degrees at the baccalaureate and master’s levels. The Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) credential is particularly valuable for both job placement and career advancement. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accounting (NASBA), entry-level CPAs can earn 5 to 15 percent more than non-credentialed accounting professionals and have opportunities to work in CPA firms offering a path to partnership or progress into greater leadership roles in industry. The BLS also reports median pay for all accounting positions at $67,190 (2016 figures), with senior accounting positions, including accounting partners and CFOs, reaching into six figures.
How do you get into accounting? The University Center of Greenville (UCG) has launched a set of webpages dedicated to career fields that offer significant job placement and advancement opportunities in the Upstate. Accounting is one of those career pages (greenville.org/accounting), and it reveals a breadth of career opportunities that may surprise you.
Not only will you find 23 employable sub-disciplines under accounting but also you will also find information on accounting degrees offered at UCG by Anderson University and Furman University — two of UCG’s five member universities. They include baccalaureate and master’s degree concentrations as well as certifications in accounting specialties. These accounting programs are ideal for individuals with some college credit but no degree or for those on a business transfer path at a two-year college.
David A. Taylor, President & Frederick Baus, Special Projects Coordinator | University Center of Greenville
Special thank you to Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP for reviewing and contributing to this article.