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Working with Numbers: Accounting Careers

If you enjoy working with numbers, have an eagle eye for details, and want a career field that offers a wide variety of job opportunities, accounting may be right for you.

Accounting professionals excel at analyzing and tracking financial records. You can work as a detective discovering white-collar crimes, a financial officer affecting the direction of a company or an auditor tracking financial records for a small business. Some examples of specialized areas in the accounting field include the following:

  • Forensic accounting — analyze and detect evidence of white-collar crimes
  • Certified internal auditor — monitor financial records and recommend strategies to management
  • Comptroller or controller — manage the department as the chief accountant
  • Accounting clerk — handle payroll, purchasing, billing and databases as a clerical assistant
  • Chief financial officer — oversee, plan and advise the financial health of a company

Typically, entry-level accounting positions begin with an associate degree, or you can continue your education and pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting and work to obtain a Certified Public Accountant license. Licensure requirements vary by state. To discover your state's CPA licensure requirements, visit the CareerOneStop License Finder and search by occupation, license name, licensing agency or location. You can also visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.

Transferable skills you can take with you

Businesses, no matter how small or large, keep some form of financial records that should be monitored, tracked and analyzed. Accountants work in many industries including education, medical, food and beverage, retail, small business, banking, government and nonprofit. In other words, an accounting career can be a highly portable choice as you move from place to place.

The accounting field offers a variety of transferable skills you can take with you and apply to other jobs as you move. Some examples of transferable skills you can gain in the accounting profession include the following:

  • Analyzing, verifying and finding patterns in data
  • Critical thinking
  • Strategic planning
  • Oral, written and auditory communication skills
  • Working independently and in collaboration with coworkers
  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding, interpreting and applying tax law
  • Proficiency using computer accounting and word processing software

Finding work in your community

Joining professional accounting organizations will keep you current with trends, policies and practices within your field. Networking with other accounting professionals through these organizations may provide the connections you need to get an interview at your new location. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.

If you move due to a PCS, you can receive up to $500 in reimbursement for costs associated with exams or registration fees to keep working in your new state. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires. Learn more.

Learn more about accounting occupations by visiting the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. You can also read the Military Spouse eMentor Program article and consider finding a mentor to guide you in your accounting career. Click the Manage My Individual Career Plan quick action link on the right side of this page to create a MyICP to assist you in preparing for a career in the accounting field. Call a career coach at 800-342-9647 for tips and resources to assist you in getting started and identifying your next steps.

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