Finding Public Accounting Jobs in the United States

In order to find the best-paying position in a field like accounting, it helps to know how to work your way to the various levels.

Accounting is a high-demand position that will be sought well into the future, considering the need to manage finances from the self-employed individual to every company in each industry. Go here for ideas on how to get an accounting job with no experience.

People assigned with accounting duties ensure financial records for businesses and individuals are accurate after preparing these and ensuring these fall within legal compliance. They further verify taxes are fully paid when due. Different accounting jobs exist based on the industry.

Types of Accounting Jobs 

Varied accounting positions are available in each industry, each with comparable duties. The objective is to ensure the accurate preparation of financial records for the business or individual, following legal guidelines and ensuring that all taxes are paid consistently and on time. Here are some positions that exist.

  • Public accountant: These professionals provide accounting services with local, regional, or international firms offering services to their clients. These public accounting jobs usually specialize in a particular area of accounting, whether tax prep, auditing, or helping clients with financial planning.
  • Private accountant: These accountants work with businesses, from small companies to international organizations, to handle their finances. The professional works with these firms on most financial decisions, transactions, and taxes and works with financial institutions.
  • Financial services accountant: These experts work within institutions in the financial field, like working with clients in a commercial banking institution. Part of their responsibility can include asset management or assessing credit viability for lending applications and disbursing the funds.
  • Nonprofit accountant: Accountants in this arena typically manage fundraising activities, contributions, and membership fees, plus ensure that the laws are followed.
  • Government accountant: The federal, state, and local government branches employ accountants to perform audits and ensure financial regulations are followed. Due diligence is done to learn possible developments in the field.

For a person to succeed in the accounting field, the individual needs to excel in certain skills. Here are a few.

  • Innate attention to detail
  • Thorough math proficiency
  • Computer literacy
  • Methodical approach, problem-solving
  • Leadership skills/the ability to organize
  • Integrity
  • Effective communication
  • Foretelling the repercussions of financial decisions
  • Capability for teamwork or individual performance
  • Passion for business and finance

How To Obtain a Job in the Accounting Field

The above skills are a precursor to obtaining a career in the accounting field. It’s important to have a passion for business and finance as a start and proficiency in math. Get advice for accounting careers at

These skills will guide you through the educational requirements necessary to pursue your goals. The following steps will lead you on the path to obtaining the required credentials to practice in the field.

A bachelor’s degree 

A bachelor’s degree is not an official requirement in accounting; most businesses lean toward candidates with credentials in accounting and supporting fields within those areas.

An associate degree, along with certificate programs will improve your skill set and increase your potential income level. In some states, the accounting degree must accompany advanced coursework in supporting fields, including auditing and taxes.

You can pursue the degree either in person or online. Earning a Master’s isn’t required but allows a greater opportunity for gaining a position. Click for accounting professionals in high demand.

A niche

While in school, it’s wise to select a focus for your studies, your professional niche in the accounting profession. The two common choices are public and business accounting. Other choices are environmental, managerial, auditing, tax accounting, and on. It’s a broad field with many specialties.

How you direct your studies will set you on the course toward the career you see for your future.

CPA vs accountant

A CPA- Certified Public Accountant requires a college degree and passing specific exams along with working for a set number of hours under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA.

Once you achieve CPA status, you can perform virtually any accounting duty. You can also take positions where you represent clients with the IRS- Internal Revenue Service, perform audits and assess statements.

An accountant or public accountant is more restricted with their certification and potential for tasks. While they can perform many accounting duties like tax prep, the professional is unable to assess financial statements or perform audits.

The pathway to becoming a CPA is disciplined with a more concerted effort, including additional education, training, and certifications, but it means a more lucrative future.

The prospect also means there will be more requirements and demands, including the need for exceptional proficiency in math, business, and finance.

The CPA Exam

When you opt to pursue a CPA certification, the exams are a requirement. This four-part session includes financial accounting and reporting, regulation, audit and attestation, business environment, and concepts.

These can be taken in any order but must all be taken within an 18-month time frame from the point of taking the first one.

Campus recruiting

With the final year in college, many firms will interview college students for entry-level accounting positions. Internships are another opportunity to pursue an in with a good accounting firm.

Maintaining a relationship with professors while in school and following graduation will allow good resources for finding accounting roles. Many accounting firms will reach out to college professors for recommendations on their strongest candidates.

If you have a good rapport with the professor and a stellar academic record, you’ll have the best shot at good recommendations.

In that same vein, you’ll want to build a solid network of accounting-related contacts that can reveal potential opportunities in the workforce. These can be faculty alums, friends or acquaintances with accounting experience, or anyone you can gain insight from.

Websites for networking are also available to gather as much information on jobs in your local area and pertaining to your specific qualifications. Many companies post their need for accountants on major job websites, which you can filter to your specific expertise, interests, and vicinity.