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How to become an Accountant

The first step to becoming an accountant is to get a degree in accounting or a related field. While some bookkeepers and accounting clerks can start as junior accountants and work their way up, more accountants earn their bachelor's degrees before joining the field. To advance in the field and/ or be able to submit documents to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), accountants must become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). This requires an accountant to take additional courses and pass a national exam. Accountants may also choose to get additional certifications including Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), or a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

How to become: Staff Accountant · Financial Accountant · Accounts Payable Clerk · Auditor · Accounting Manager
These qualifications are required: Driver's License · Certified Management Accountant · CPA
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What skills help Accountants find jobs?

  • Account reconciliation
  • Accounting
  • Accounting software
  • Accounts payable
  • Analysis skills
  • Balance sheet reconciliation
  • Bilingual
  • Bookkeeping
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Customer service
  • ERP systems
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Career progression for Accountant

Education levels for Accountants

Based on the requirements of Accountant job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.
required level of educationpercent of job openings
Bachelor's degree54.5%
Master's degree17.1%
Associate's degree14.9%
High school diploma or GED11.7%
Bachelor's degree0.8%
Master's degree0.5%
High school diploma or GED0.3%
Doctoral degree0.2%
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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as an Accountant in the United States within the last three years.
Years of experienceAnnual salary in USD
0 - 4$42,500
4 - 8$49,700
8 - 12$55,300
12 - 16$57,900
16 - 20$58,800
20 - 24$59,300
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Common qualifications for Accountants

Explore popular schools to earn these qualifications
certification

Certified Management Accountant

Cuyahoga Valley Career Center
70 reviews
Explore other and more common qualifications
  • certificationCPA
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Common questions about career advices for an Accountant

Do accountants need to be good at math?

Yes, accountants need to have a basic knowledge of math with some algebra. However, most accounting practices are done using excel sheets or similar software where they should remember basic accounting formulas. More than math, accountants need to be knowledgeable and continually educate themselves in tax laws, regulations, financial records and fiscal terms.

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What subjects should an accountant take?

Subjects in accounting, taxes and auditing are needed to become an accountant. Additionally, some also take subjects in management, marketing and finance to gain more knowledge on how businesses work.

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What are good certifications for accountants to have?

Some certifications that are good to have as an accountant are:

  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Certified Management Accountant
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Certified Financial Services Auditor
  • Certified Internal Auditor
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certified Government Auditing Professional
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
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