Accountants play a vital role in the world of business. They are responsible for keeping accurate public records and ensuring an organization’s taxes are paid correctly and on time. Due to recent corporation scandals, an increasing number of accountants are employed to watch for any mismanagement of funds or fraud and to ensure compliance to tightening federal regulations regarding accounting and financial reporting practices. Typical daily duties include analysis and verification of financial data and reports, and communicating their findings to management/clients.
Accountants who render services to individuals are highly trusted by clients and often asked to not only prepare taxes, but also act as a financial advisor. Clients ask for help in creating a personal budget, managing investments and saving for retirement.
There are several specialties within the accounting field that a professional can choose, however they all stem from four main types of accountants:
- Public accountants – The largest group of accountants, public accountants may perform duties related to taxes, audits, financial reporting, fraud investigation, and advising on employee benefits and asset security. Most public accountants hold the Certified Public Accountant credential and a large percentage run their own accounting firm or work for a public accounting firm that consults for businesses.
- Management accountants – This type of accountant records and analyzes financial data for their employer. They are often part of a strategic planning or new product development team to report on financial information that executives will then use to make important business decisions. Other responsibilities typically include cost and asset management, budgeting and financial analysis/reporting.
- Government accountants and auditors – These professionals work in the public sector and are employed by the government at the state, federal or local level. Accountants maintain and examine financial records for government agencies, and auditors conduct audits on businesses or individuals to make sure they are following regulations and paying taxes properly.
- Internal auditors – Internal auditors examine an organization’s financial records to check for accuracy, fraud, waste, and proper security/management of assets. Additionally, internal auditors play a large role in evaluating the organization’s compliance with policies (both internal and external) and efficiency in their operations. They may also work closely with technology managers to review and evaluate the information systems.
Do you have the skills necessary to take on a bookkeeping challenge?
Success as a bookkeeper or accountant starts with attention to detail and skill with numbers. Most often this information is processed electronically, so you must be comfortable using computers and accounting software. In addition, you should enjoy paperwork and be able to work with minimal supervision.
What are the career opportunities in this field?
Accountants enjoy a high degree of occupational mobility. Not only can they find work in virtually any geographical location, they can also find employment in any sector of the economy. Every company needs skilled accounting help; some businesses may use a single accounting consultant while larger companies and corporations employ vast teams of accountants specializing in different areas.
This occupational mobility also includes upward advancement in the accounting field. Since internal auditors are often primed for executive positions within a company, many public and management accountants eventually shift to internal auditing for career growth.
- Public accountants - Entry-level public accountants typically begin advancing and receiving more responsibility after one or two years in the field. A few years later, they will often move into a Senior Accountant role. Further advancement includes management of other accountants, opening their own accounting business, or transitioning to executive-level positions.
- Management accountants - Most management accountants enter the field as cost accountants, junior internal auditors or trainees for other specialized accounting positions. Typical advancement includes promotion to chief cost accountant, budget director, manager of internal auditing, and supervising other accountants.
- Internal auditors - Most often, professionals in this position begin in the public accounting or management accounting fields. Those beginning a career in internal auditing will learn the basics of the auditing function as well as the organization’s internal business-unit makeup. As they progress, internal auditors receive increased responsibilities such as evaluating the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls and fiscal management. They also may investigate the information systems for proper use and accuracy. Because of this in-depth knowledge of the organization’s internal operations, internal auditors often progress into executive positions.
Where do the work?
Accountants typically work in an office setting, although an increasing number of companies are allowing accountants to complete some work from home. Some accountants and auditors travel frequently in order to audit other branches, satellite offices, or client sites.
A 40-hour work week is standard although additional hours may be required prior to important deadlines such as year end and tax time. In addition, self-employed accountants often work beyond 40 hours, especially if they have a large number of clients. Other accountants may work on a contract basis – for example, tax specialists might choose to work only during tax season.
How do I advance in this career?
Individuals interested in a career as an accountant or auditor should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or a related field. The greatest opportunity for advancement will be granted to those who take the extra step of earning certifications, most commonly exemplified by the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. Obtaining a master’s degree in accounting or business with a concentration in accounting will also increase the rate of advancement in this field.
NOTE: The Bachelor of Science in Accounting program at Herzing University does not fulfull all of the requirements for a graduate to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam or apply for licensure as a CPA in most states/jurisdictions. Most states/jurisdictions require a specific amount of study beyond a bachelor's degree (typically, a total of 150 semester credit hours, but this varies by state/jurisdiction) as well as several years of professional experience working in accounting to be eligible to apply for licensure. Some states (including, but not neccessarily limited to, Texas) require the program to have a specific programmatic accreditation for graduates to apply for licensure as a CPA, which this program does not have at this time, and no representation has been made to when or if such an accreditation will be obtained. Applicants interested in becoming a CPA should check with their state board of accounting prior to enrolling in any accounting program. Students planning to pursue certification other than the CPA exam should also contact with their state board of accounting prior to enrolling in any accounting program.
What certification/licensure does this program prepare you for?
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – Only professionals with this credential are able to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Every state uses the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s (AICPA) 4-part Uniform CPA Examination, but each state has different eligibility criteria so check with your state before beginning a degree program to make sure it will meet the educational requirements. Because a larger number of college credits than what is required for most bachelor's degrees is required for exam eligibility, Students might consider continuing in the MBA program to fulfill the educational requirements. Also, most jurisdictions also require several years experience working in accounting to be eligible to take the CPA exam. See the State Board of Accountancy website to learn more about each state's requirements.
Bookkeeping and Payroll - Graduates of the Herzing University Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting Diploma program will have met the education requirement for the following certification opportunities:
- American Payroll Association (APA)
Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) – This exam is for entry-level payroll professionals who wish to prove basic payroll competency. Examinees are given three hours to complete the 150 multiple-choice question electronic test. Upon passing, the credential is good for three years and requires continuing education credits to re-certify. These credits can be earned by taking courses, attending APA industry seminars and programs, or retaking the exam.
What is the program title, length, and content?
Herzing University’s well-regarded, get-down-to-business approach can clearly be seen in our different accounting programs. Each is designed to help our students reach their specific career goals. Graduates of our accounting programs have both the academic credentials and hands-on capabilities employers look for to fill critical accounting and auditing positions.
Accounting Program Comparison Chart
Program availability varies by location.
|Diploma in Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting||25||6-8|
|Associate and Associate of Applied Science in Accounting||65||20|
|Bachelor of Science in Accounting||123||36|
Diploma in Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
Herzing University’s 8-month long diploma program is a great way to get into the accounting field. Graduates qualify for positions as entry-level bookkeepers as well as support positions in payroll and accounting. Download Program Course Sheet
Associate and Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
This associate degree program adds general education and additional specialization classes to the core accounting fundamentals taught in the diploma program. Graduates are well prepared for a variety of entry-level business and accounting positions in a wide range of industries. Download Program Course Sheet
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
The Herzing University bachelor’s degree in accounting is designed for those who want to pursue a career in accounting. Graduates have a solid core of capabilities to be highly eligible for a wide range of career opportunities in accounting and business. Download Program Course Sheet
Master of Business Administration in Accounting
Students enrolled in a Herzing University bachelor's degree program who are interested in pursuing a master's degree can save time and money with the Herzing University online MBA!
- Dual Enrollment – This program allows current bachelor's degree students the opportunity to exchange up to four courses (12 credits) in their bachelor's degree program with MBA courses.
- Herzing bachelor's degree students and alumni receive a 15% tuition scholarship on their master's degree courses while an undergraduate student!
Note: The MBA and Dual Enrollment are not offered at all locations; please check with your local campus for availability.
Which locations offer this program?
New Orleans Campus