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Accounting Career Paths: Choosing the Right One for You

Public, private, and non-profit organizations need accountants, offering a broad scope of diverse career opportunities in this area of expertise. Accounting jobs exist in companies of most any size or industry, and each role encompasses several duties and responsibilities.

Discovering Professional and Personal Rewards

Accounting is an in-demand skill, allowing those who major or minor in the subject to explore several job openings after graduation. These positions are often quite lucrative and present frequent opportunities for growth. Accountants often receive promotions from their supervisors and can progress as high as the CEO in some cases.

While salary and available employment play a large part in career choice, many people also strive to find a career that gives them a sense of purpose. Graduates who follow accounting career paths may be surprised to find the rewarding opportunities it provides. For example, numerous accounting majors have used their talents to make a difference through government positions.

What are Careers in Accounting?

The field of accounting is versatile, allowing professionals to fulfill an array of responsibilities. Public accountants serve multiple firms, while private accountants work for a single company. Other accountants hone their skills to work in specific industries, such as tax, auditing, and management. Consider the following accounting careers to see which appeals most to you:

Government Accountant

These public accountants manage the financial records of local, state, and federal government agencies. They conduct audits on private organizations and individuals subject to tax regulations and ensure governing bodies follow rules when collecting and spending money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), government accountants earn an average salary of $72,260 each year.

Management Accountants

Management accountants help companies make the best financial decisions for them by creating budgets and planning for business costs. They may also supervise a company’s financial investments and develop strategies to enhance performance. Typically, these professionals operate in the private sector and sometimes are referred to as managerial, corporate, or industrial accountants. On average, management accountants earn $76,230 annually.

Tax Accountant

These professionals help individuals and organizations file their taxes to avoid audits and receive the maximum available return. Tax accountants also draft reports and help their clients find potential credit opportunities. In 2020, the median wage for tax accountants was $73,180 annually.

Financial Accountant

Financial accountants evaluate the financial performance of their company and draft reports for external parties, such as creditors, stockholders, and taxing agencies. They often serve as consultants to senior managers, performing internal audits and drafting budgets. According to the BLS, they earn a median salary of $78,600 each year.

Public Accountant

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) helps large firms maintain financial information they are legally required to disclose, including tax forms and investment documents. These professionals often specialize in other areas of accounting, such as auditing, consulting, and forensic investigations. While many CPAs work for public accounting firms, some own their own agencies. Depending on what sector they work in, public accountants can make anywhere from $45,220 to $128,680 annually.


Auditors monitor an organization’s financial activities to ensure it properly manages revenue. They also develop strategies to minimize risk from cyber-attacks or supply chain issues.

There are two general types of auditors — internal and external. Large corporations employ internal auditors to improve business processes and mitigate inefficiencies. External auditors conduct the same tasks but work outside of the companies they audit. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $76,230 in 2020.

Who Qualifies for an Accounting Career?

Although there are numerous accounting career paths to consider, most require general skills that you can obtain with a bachelor’s degree. However, a master’s degree in accounting can open you up to additional opportunities in the field. For example, a master’s degree can give you the number of hours you need to become a CPA or allow you to receive specialized training in a related business field.

At MVNU, we offer a concentration in accounting as part of our Master in Business Administration program. This online program is tailored to working students and explores the complexities of the field. It also fosters a high-level understanding of financial advising, management, and regulatory compliance. 

Follow an Accounting Major Career Path with MVNU

Established by the Church of the Nazarene in 1968, MVNU is an accredited university that helps busy students advance their goals while balancing work, family, and other responsibilities. If you would like to pursue accounting careers at a school with strong Christian values, reach out to us today for more information about our degree programs.

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