There’s a lot of upside to adding deep accounting knowledge and skills to your resume — impressive credential, prospects for higher pay, and a chance to take your career to the next level, among other positive career boosts.
If you already have solid work experience and have developed expertise in certain areas, adding accounting knowledge – and a Master of Accounting (MAC) degree – can put you in an especially strong position, whether you want to advance in the field you already work in, or leap to an entirely new career.
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Allison Elia on how accounting skills have helped her make an bigger impact on her organization…and her community.
Here are a few ways accounting can transform your professional prospects.
It delivers financial savvy and technical skills.
One of the most common reasons people pursue MAC degrees is to jump ahead in the company or industry they already work in.
For example, you may already have a successful career in sales, but now you’d like to leap to a sales management job or a strategic role helping your company get the most from its sales efforts.
The deep accounting knowledge that a MAC degree provides can be a big help, giving you the financial savvy needed to do forecasting and provide you more insight into how sales activities affect the bottom line. You’ll understand how commission incentives, sales competition, and price discounts really impact your company’s profits.
By adding advanced auditing skills, you could harness your insider knowledge of how your company operates to become a trusted internal auditor. Internal auditors bring a systematic, disciplined approach to all sorts of organizational practices, from risk management to financial controls. They can identify little problems before they grow out of control, and ensure the company is ready for external scrutiny from regulators, investors and others.
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It can take you beyond the numbers.
Some people wonder if an accounting career will focus too much on numbers and finance. While those are an important part of accounting, accounting skills apply to much more than just money.
For example, some accountants apply their auditing skills to nonfinancial information. An auditor working for a pharmaceutical company, for example, might evaluate the company’s manufacturing supply chain to ensure the drugs the company makes are safe, effective, and high quality.
From auditing the supply chain, to tackling cybersecurity, to stepping into emerging roles related to sustainability, accounting goes well beyond the finances.
Or an auditor might tackle cybersecurity — one of the biggest risks facing business today — to make sure the company is protecting its employees, data and customers.
Sustainability accounting is a relatively new field that focuses on rigorously measuring the economic and environmental impact of various business practices, such as switching a corporate fleet from gasoline-powered vehicles to hybrids and electric cars. If someone asks whether making business “green” is worth the investment, accountants specializing in sustainability can provide the answer.
It can open up unique and unexpected career paths.
If you tell your mom you’re going to become an accountant, she’ll be excited about the prospect of a secure job. But your close college friends? They’ll be supportive, sure, but maybe not excited. But they should be.
Accounting can lead you to some pretty cool jobs. For example, did you know that the FBI employs accountants to help bring mobsters to justice and trace terrorist financing?
Forensic accountants are often hired to solve monetary mysteries, such as figuring out how financial crimes were conducted. Day in and day out, these accountants solve tricky puzzles, often uncovering truths that someone tried to hide.
Other accountants are involved in products and industries you might never associate with them. They help develop financial software, ensure Oscars go to the right winners, or work to integrate bleeding-edge technology, like bitcoin, into existing business practices.
Or, you could just be an accountant (which isn’t bad either!).
Of course, all employers need people with accounting know-how. Government economists predict the number of accounting jobs will grow significantly in the next few years. And those jobs will pay well. New accountants often hit six figures after just a few years, especially if they have an advanced credential like a MAC degree.
So yes, deep accounting knowledge – and a MAC degree — will provide a solid boost to your career prospects. It can also be the gateway for a more interesting job and, ultimately, a great career.
Next step: Find out what’s next for you?
Find out what unique job you could unlock if you added deep accounting knowledge to your current skills and interests in our “Cool Jobs” quiz.