What Can I Do With A Degree In Accounting?
Accounting has been described as one degree with 360 degrees of opportunity. This refers to the very wide range of roles that accountants occupy in professional practice, business, industry, government and consulting. You can find accountants in many different roles, including: chief executive officers and chief financial officers in industry and government; partners, directors, and managers in public accounting; financial analysts and financial planners in the financial services industry; internal auditors, fraud examiners, enterprise risk managers, and information systems auditors across a wide spectrum of organizations; taxation directors and tax compliance officers in major corporations and government agencies; and chairman of the board and audit committee chair on boards of major corporations. Accountants offer services to corporations of every size, governments at all levels, not-for-profit organizations with diverse missions, and private citizens with varying interests and incomes.
Students who graduate from The University of Akron with a degree in accounting are usually recruited for entry-level positions in public accounting, corporations, government and not-for-profit organizations. In public accounting, our graduates are often recruited to work in auditing, taxation, and consulting. Students in some public accounting firms might also be involved in compilation and reviews of financial statements. Students who are recruited by corporations often work in internal auditing, financial analysis, information systems auditing, financial reporting, tax compliance, and tax planning. The George W. Daverio School of Accountancy at The University of Akron offers the following degrees:
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accountancy
- Master of Science (MS) in Accountancy
- Accelerated BS/MS in Accounting Degree
- Master of Taxation (MTax).
As a group, public accounting firms are the most visible recruiters on campus. All participate in accounting student organization activities. These firms provide such services as independent audits of the financial reports of companies, audits of the control systems of companies, tax planning and compliance, forensic accounting, compilation and reviews of financial statements, and consulting. To become a professional accountant and progress in a public accounting firm, one must pass the CPA exam and stay current with accounting standards and developments in industry. The traditional career progression in public accounting typically includes staff accountant, senior, manager, senior manager, and then partner. A partner is often the individual responsible for finding new clients and managing all aspects of service for which the firm is engaged. Partners, managers, seniors, and staff accountants work as a team on audit, tax and consulting engagements.
Some of our most visible public accounting recruiters include BCG & Co.; Apple Growth Partners; Cohen & Co.; Bruner Cox; Bober Markey Fedorovich; Meaden & Moore; SS&G; Rea & Associates; Skoda Minotti; Crowe Horwath; Plante & Moran; Grant Thornton; Ernst & Young; KPMG; Deloitte; and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The last four are the largest public accounting firms in the world and are referred to as the big-4 in the accounting profession.
Many corporations hire accounting graduates. Several are active on campus and participate in accounting student organization activities. Accountants in industry work in many different roles. Often their primary roles include financial reporting, analysis and interpretation of financial and other quantitative data, planning and control, decision-making, performance evaluation, and cost management. Accountants in industry also work in internal audit, enterprise risk management, and information systems audit and control. Many accountants in industry specialize in tax planning and compliance. The career path in industry is diverse, but, in general, individuals who are certified as CPAs, CMAs, CISAs, or CIAs are more likely to be promoted in their organizations.
Some of our most visible industry recruiters include The J M Smucker Company; RPM International; The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company; Parker Hannifin; FirstEnergy Corporation; Babcock & Wilcox; The Timken Company; The Sherwin-Williams Company; and Key Bank.
Several government and not-for-profit organizations recruit accounting graduates from The University of Akron. Career paths depend on the recruiting organization. Recruiters come from local, regional, state and federal government agencies. Among our most active recruiters are Summit County Auditor’s Office, the State of Ohio Auditor’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Defense Finance and Accounting Services.
The State of Ohio requires 150 semester credit hours of college coursework in order to be eligible to sit for the CPA examination. The School of Accountancy recommends the Accelerated BS/MS Accounting degree for students who wish to become CPAs. Students who already have an undergraduate degree in Accounting should consider the School’s MSA degree or MTax degree. Students without an undergraduate degree in accounting should pursue the School’s MSA degree.
Candidates for CMA certification exam, which is administered through the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, must complete a bachelor's degree. The four-part exam requires candidates to comply with standards of professional conduct, agree to meet continuing education requirements and have at least two years of work experience in managerial accounting.
Accounting graduates may also take such certification exams as Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). Requirements for these examinations can be found at the web sites listed below under professional organizations.
Professional Organizations and Regulators
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- Ohio Society of CPAs
- Accountancy Board of Ohio
- Securities and Exchange Commission
- Public Companies Accountancy Oversight Board
- Information Systems Audit & Control Association
- Institute of Management Accountants
- Institute of Internal Auditors
Job and Earnings Outlook
Employment of accountants and auditors is among the best for recent college graduates. This outlook is for the foreseeable future.
Average starting salaries for graduates with degrees in accounting tend to vary widely, depending on the job function, but are usually in the range of $32,000 to $60,000 per year. Salaries for entry-level positions for School of Accountancy graduates average about $45,000. Graduates who have passed the CPA examinations are generally more highly sought after and generally have higher starting salary offers.