Corporate finance departments are increasingly filling their staff with highly educated CPAs. Becoming a CPA is very demanding and time consuming. That is a luxury I did not have. Associate Accountant jobs that still exist at smaller corporations generally demand a degree in accounting. But these jobs require experience and do not pay high salaries like CPAs. Also, many of these positions are being outsourced to public accounting firms headed by CPAs. Therefore, demand is rising for high pay Associate Accountant jobs on the staffs of local CPA firms.
These practices generally focus on tax as well as general accounting duties. An accounting degree coupled with tax preparation ability is very desirable even if applicants have no experience.
You can develop tax expertise by studying for the Enrolled Agent exam. Passing the EA exam is much easier than the CPA exam. A good review course is available at fastforwardacademy.com/enrolled-agent-exam-prep.htm to help pass the exam on the first attempt. The result is possession of all the knowledge needed for preparing every type of tax return. That's the path I pursued successfully to get hired as an associate on the staff of a local CPA firm.