The recent recession has resulted in changes in the employment outlook for several occupations, but there are some fields that are perennially in demand, such as accounting. Even with the weak economy, companies and organizations of all sizes and across all industries still need accountants. If you have a flair for numbers, you may want to consider a career in accounting. Accounting can be an especially great fit for those with military experience who are accustomed to organization, discipline, and routine.
Gone are the days of solitary accountants working alone with a spreadsheet and calculator. Today, accountants are expected to be able to work well with teams and to be able to communicate effectively across different departments and levels of an organization.
Accountants can take on a variety of responsibilities, including:
With some of the recent corporate accounting scandals and tougher penalties for errors and irregularities on financial statements and reports, accountants can also face substantial pressure to deliver accurate and detailed reports. With the discipline developed through the military, many service members have the ideal attitude, disposition, and focus to handle the scrutiny and accountability they will face while working in this field.
Accountants need to have more than just an interest in working with numbers and statistics. Accountants also need to have an eye for detail, a passion for accuracy, and the ability to impose and maintain order and structure. If you’re like most people with military backgrounds, these characteristics are almost second nature, making you an ideal candidate for an accounting career. Military experience will also help you set a strong example for integrity and ethics, overcome any obstacles to achieving goals, and enforce standards to deliver high quality work.
Accounting degrees are available online at almost every level, from an associate’s degree to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with bachelor in accounting degree the most popular. Many schools also offer online certification courses and programs that give students a broad understanding of accounting and financial reporting. You may also choose to pursue professional certifications to improve your employment prospects. Accounting certifications include CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFP (Certified Financial Planner), and CMA (Certified Management Accountant).
In addition to working for accounting firms, accountants will find career opportunities across all industries and sectors, including hospitals, universities, municipalities, and government agencies. Businesses of all sizes need accountants, with larger firms needing general accounting as well as specialized areas such as internal auditing, budgeting, and cost accounting.
Military experience often creates a preference for order, accuracy, and structure, which makes many service members ideally suited for careers in accounting. The skills and attitude developed in the military is easily translated to the discipline and focus needed to be successful in this highly responsible field.