What Is an Accounting Degree?

Some people are good with numbers, others aren’t. Those who aren’t are in frequent need of an accountant, whether personally or for their business, to ensure that they handle their finances appropriately. Personal accountants keep individuals on the correct financial path toward retirement; business accountants keep the business on the correct financial path toward profit. No matter the client, the accountant is heavily relied upon to be accurate, honest and trustworthy. After all, the accountant is the one handling the money.

An accounting degree adequately prepares students to enter into the complex world of accounting, and goes beyond just learning how to balance the financial books. While the accountant’s role in keeping the finances balanced should never be understated, accountants are also oftentimes responsible for ensuring the client’s tax obligations are accurately met, as well. Should the client fall into trouble with the tax authorities, the accountant is expected to stand by the client’s side and explain all financial transactions in detail.

Students who enjoy working with numbers and analysing financials are well-suited to become accountants. Students who enjoy helping others are also well-suited to become accountants. When asked who is a key player in the success of a person and/or business, many reply their accountant, because one of the keys to success is knowing what you can and cannot handle, and many people cannot handle their own accounting.

Accounting Job Opportunities

Students graduating with an accounting degree will most likely begin working as an accounting technician and work their way up to a chartered certified accountant, a chartered public finance accountant or a tax advisor.

While it may seem like starting at the “bottom of the barrel,” beginning work as an accounting technician provides crucial experience in all facets of accounting, including bookkeeping, payroll, budgeting, tracking and reporting revenue and expenses, auditing and compliance. Accounting technicians earn anywhere from £15,000 to £32,000, and the experience gained provides a solid foundation for higher-paying accounting work.

Chartered certified accountants are the “accountant.” These accountants are responsible for the entire accountancy system, developing their client’s accounting processes in compliance with accounting standards and overseeing all of the finances, including investigating and auditing financial abnormalities and taking charge of the budgeting portion of a client’s business strategy. Chartered certified accountant salary ranges are oddly wide, starting as low as £15,000 and maxing out to over £100,000.

Chartered public finance accountants have the same responsibilities as chartered certified accountants, but their responsibilities lie within the public sector of finance. This includes working for local government, central government or publicly-funded organisations serving their communities. The range of salary for this specialised accountancy field is also broad, starting as low as £18,000, with the higher salaries being £80,000 plus.

Graduates interested in pursuing a career within tax legislation can put their accounting degree to work as tax advisors. Tax advisors learn and keep up with tax legislation, and are primarily responsible for ensuring their clients remain within the tax legislation. They are tasked with finding the most economical way for their clients to pay their taxes, applying appropriate advantages and exemptions to tax filings. Tax advisors earn £20,000 up to £150,000 at senior and corporate levels.

Accounting Curriculum

Mathematics, statistics, analysis, financial markets and economics are all topics accounting students will master when earning their accounting degrees. Students will be expected to analyse financial situations and present professional reports detailing findings and strategies for their “client’s” financial health.

Balancing the books, handling income and expenses, financial reporting, understanding and implementing internal and external auditing procedures, budgeting, and business strategies while utilising statistical and quantitative analysis are many of the different coursework requirements for an accounting degree.

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