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Accounting and the different career paths (Research Paper Sample)


Write on the different career paths in accounting and the certifications available


Accounting and the different career paths
This paper looks at the accounting profession, the different paths to take in the field, the skills required in the field and the importance of ethics. It is divided into two major sections, the body, which discusses various accounting jobs and the institutions offering them. The second section of the paper concludes all the findings discussed in the body of the paper. In summary, the paper provides a brief but detailed overview of the accounting profession and its different aspects.
Education/skills required for Accounting
In order for one to become a successful accountant, they require to develop certain skills right from the beginning of their studies. According to Carey, Knowles, & Towers-Clark, (2011), "an effective accountant needs to be an all-round person" (p. 56). This means that apart from an impressive academic performance, one needs to participate in extracurricular activities such as campus organizations and internships, to prepare for the diverse job market.
In addition to the above qualifications, a modern accountant needs to have computer skills. This is because modern accounting relies heavily on computers. Unlike the old times when only a pen and paper were sufficient, modern accountants must be able to understand accounting data and enter it into computers for processing.
Last but not least, an accountant must have a knack for numbers. An accountant should be able to see patterns in numbers, identify information from the numbers and if necessary do some more research to explain the observed patterns. As put forth by Jiambalvo (2009), "this means that the accountant should be a keen person that pays attention to detail" (p. 120).
Different certifications and organizations of the profession
Accounting is a broad field with different career paths all of which deal with specific aspects of accounting. As put indicated by Jiambalvo (2009), "management accounting is the most common branch of accounting" (p. 132). This is because it is applied in both large and small scale corporations. Most management accountants will seat on the management committee of an organization to aid in the decision making process. This includes making decisions that deal with the projects an organization is involved in so as to maximize profits or forecast an organizations future financial needs.
Another field of accounting is public accounting. The role of a public accountant encompasses different aspects of the profession such as auditing, tax as well as management consulting. It is a rather broad field of accounting that requires experience and consistency.
There are different organizations in the accounting field which offer different certifications and deal with the different accounting branches. The first and probably largest is the Institute of Management Accountants. Most accounting graduates settle in the field of management accounting (Riahi-Belkasoui, 2003). Apart from providing a sense of direction and providing career development to management accounts, the institute is also responsible for awarding the Certified Management Accountant certification. A CMA holder is deemed proficient in all tasks related to management as well as financial accounting.
The second most popular organization in the accounting field is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This is also another accounting body that deals with public accountants. It is obliged to set the moral and ethical requirements for the practice of public accounting, as well as auditing standards.
As indicated by Carey, Knowles, & Towers-Clark (2011), "the third most popular branch of accounting is internal auditing" (p. 67). The major task of an auditor is to ensure that an organization is as efficient as possible with no hidden costs. This involves going through an organization's information and financial systems, the management procedures as well as the controls in place to validate their accuracy. An auditor also checks whether the management principles of a company are in compliance with the current set standards in the field of accounting.
A relatively new field in accounting is the accounting information systems. Specialists in this field are required to design, develop and even test computerized accounting packages. This is just to increase the speed of producing accounting information by using information and technology.
Another body in the accounting profession is the Institute of Internal Auditors. It plays different roles such as offering education, research and development of the auditing profession. It is the single largest body that provides standardization of the auditing profession. It is responsibl...
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