Accounting is a tremendously valuable field to study, even if you do not want to become a certified accountant, per se. It involves number-crunching, computer proficiency, problem-solving, as well as good customer service – all skills that are treasured by many employers and industries today.
Of course, when people think accounting, they automatically think “accountant.” Accountant is a wide-ranging title used to describe professionals who prepare and examine financial documents. Generally speaking, they examine financial statements for accuracy, ensure an organization’s financial operations comply with regulatory laws, organize and manage fiscal records, inspect account books for efficiency, and provide budgetary recommendations. Some accountants work explicitly with taxation – computing taxes and preparing tax returns – while others may specialize in areas like forensics or auditing.
All accountants, however, require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers today actually prefer to hire accountants with a master’s degree. On top of educational requirements, certain accounting careers, such as Certified Public Accountants, require a multiple-examination process before earning their title. Accordingly, becoming an accountant can take time.
Not everyone who wishes to enter the field of accounting, however, has the time (or money) to dedicate towards a long-term educational journey. Some may simply wish to get into the workforce as soon as possible. Others may just want to know what alternative careers for accountants or aspiring accountants are out there, potentially with less schooling under their belt.
There are many different alternative careers for accountants. If you are an already seasoned accountant, for example, you can find alternative career paths as a Financial Analyst, an Investor Relations Specialist, a Business Manager, an Accounting Professor, Actuary, or a Certified Financial Planner. If you have not yet begun an accounting degree, you also have career options that are quicker-to-pursue. Below, Goodwin College outlines the top 5 alternative accounting careers that you can land in two years or less:
- Bookkeeper –
Bookkeepers, similar to accountants, are responsible for maintaining an organization’s financial records. They record debits (costs) and credits (income) transactions, create financial statements, prepare bank deposits, manage bank accounts, and track transactional data. Also known as general ledgers, bookkeepers usually work with (and head the financial records of) a single organization, which may be retail, healthcare, wholesale, services, insurance, or another industry.
- Payroll Professional –
Much like the name entails, a payroll clerk works directly with employee compensation, or payroll. These professionals track employee hours, maintain administrative records of employee data, calculate their wages, as well as benefit packages, and distribute paychecks. In addition to being an alternative career for accountants, the payroll path also touches on the Human Resources side of an organization.
- Accounts Receivable or Payable Clerk –
These two alternative accounting roles (though sometimes combined into one job title) can be achieved with an associate degree in accounting. An Accounts Payable Clerk is responsible for maintaining financial records and filing reports, performing basic accounting functions, and perhaps most importantly, issuing payments owed by the organization (typically for certain products or services). An Accounts Receivable Clerk has very similar job duties, only their main responsibility is to collect and record payments made to their organization. Both types of accounting clerks directly communicate with clients and customers.
- Auditing Clerk –
Auditing clerks examine figures, postings, and financial documents to ensure they are mathematically accurate and properly coded. They may fix small, mathematical errors themselves, or in the case of major discrepancies, notify senior accountants and work with them to solve any problems. Most companies, and most industries, have financial documents and therefore could benefit from hiring an auditing clerk.
- Accounting Assistant –
Like accountants, accounting assistants perform a variety of tasks that help support a company’s financial needs. Their work may consist of general office tasks, such as filing and email correspondence, in combination with accounting responsibilities like bookkeeping. Advanced accounting assistants may add and balance billing vouchers, ensure that financial data is accurate, monitor loans and accounts, and code documents according to a company’s procedures. Accounting assistants often work with and for senior accountants, in accounting firms or larger companies.
As you can see from the above, there are many alternative paths for individuals who desire an accounting career, but who do not want to commit to years of schooling to become an accountant. How do you land one of these in-demand, growing, alternative accounting careers?
All of the accounting careers listed above can be achieved with an associate degree in accounting. At Goodwin College, you can earn your associate accounting degree on a flexible schedule that meets your needs. Accounting classes are offered on days, evenings, and weekends, on-campus and in a hybrid, on-campus, online format. For those students who really want to get into the accounting workforce fast, classes are also offered at an accelerated 7.5-week pace.
Not only can you land a successful, alternative accounting career with an associate degree, you can also position yourself for advanced opportunities down the road. In some cases, graduates with an associate degree – especially those who become bookkeepers or accounting clerks – can qualify for junior accounting positions by showing their accounting skillsets and knowledge on the job.
Learn more about the accounting program at Goodwin College by calling 800-889-3282 or visiting us online at https://www.goodwin.edu/landingpages/accounting.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.