Accounting Careers: Options, Job Titles, and Descriptions

Different Types of Accounting

Cost accounting is considered a form of management accounting, focusing on the future, and is primarily used as an aid in the decision-making process rather than as a way of reporting past performance. A financial accountant ensures that financial transactions are accurately recorded and reported. They frequently work with the general ledger either entering journal entries or otherwise overseeing these entries. They may also ensure confidential tax information is properly Different Types of Accounting documented. They also publicize financial information for stakeholders and monitor internal transactions accordingly. Financial accountants are concerned with compliance and must abide by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles set for U.S. businesses and International Financial Reporting Standards if a company operates overseas. Overall, financial accountants need to have strong attention to detail to convey the current financial state to outside sources.

  • A forensic accountant analyzes financial records to determine whether they contain any errors, omissions, or fraud, as well as to ensure that the records are in compliance with both state and federal laws.
  • According to the BLS, financial analysts earn a median annual salary of $83,660.
  • Due to the incomplete nature of the data entered, proper financial reporting is impossible.
  • These accountants are involved in budgeting and government asset management.
  • Public accounting refers to businesses that provide accounting advice to clients based on their needs.

Accountants may be tasked with recording specific transactions or working with specific sets of information. For this reason, there are several broad groups that most accountants can be grouped into. This institute created many of the systems by which accountants practice today. The formation of the institute occurred in large part due to the Industrial Revolution. Merchants not only needed to track their records but sought to avoid bankruptcy as well. Regardless of the size of a business, accounting is a necessary function for decision making, cost planning, and measurement of economic performance.


Those with this specialization are in high demand to serve as expert witnesses in litigation, as they are skilled at unravelling and explaining complex financial issues and large sums of money. Small companies that may be looking to be acquired often need to present financial statements as part of acquisition or merger efforts. Instead of simply closing a business, a business owner may attempt to “cash-out” of their position and receive compensation for building a company. These four largest accounting firms conduct audit, consulting, tax advisory, and other services. These firms, along with many other smaller firms, comprise the public accounting realm that generally advises financial and tax accounting. Forensic accountants need to reconstruct financial data when the records aren’t complete. This could be to decode fraudulent data or convert a cash accounting system to accrual accounting.

Different Types of Accounting

Cost accountants are responsible for implementing, overseeing and providing feedback on how these costs are being tracked. Direct materials and direct labor are easily tracked, but indirect costs—such as the cost of the machinery, building, utilities, shared staff,etc— can be allocated in different ways.

What all types of accounting have in common

The management account may also then provide specific advice on how to improve the organization’s financial health. Management accountants are directly involving in budgeting, external financial reporting, risk management, and performing profitability analyses. It is also important for a management accountant to have the interpersonal and professional skills required to present their information to executives in a manner that is easily understandable. Individuals interested in becoming a cost accountant would benefit from taking cost accounting, auditing, corporate accounting, risk management, supply chain management, and managerial accounting. According to, the average salary of a cost accountant is $55,710.

Government accountants working at the state level may help cities budget funds and evaluate the viability of using public funds for community infrastructure projects. They may work closely with regulatory groups such as the Internal Revenue Service on both a local and federal level.

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Graduates

People who work in accounting record, analyze, and maintain financial accounts and statements. They might work for the government, a large company, or a small business. Accounting information systems involves the development, installation, implementation, and monitoring of accounting procedures and systems used in the accounting process. It includes the employment of business forms, accounting personnel direction, and software management. The demand for accountants with a master’s degree on their side is high, which means that the competitiveness in the job market is also high. However, there are many exciting jobs awaiting someone who finishes such a program.

Different Types of Accounting

The savvy business owner will periodically look at these to make sure their business runs smoothly, complying with laws, and not engaging in risky practices. Forensic accounting involves tracking missing funds and other discrepancies that may appear in the course of accounting or through financial reports. This service may work for you or your employees to unveil the truth about any accusation of tax fraud, evasion, or such. In other words, forensic accountants are like lawyers as they may have a background or knowledge about law. As such, forensic accountants are often required to work with law enforcement agents. Governmental accounting involves public accounting duties for government agencies. Accountants make sure that revenues and expenditures are made according to the law.

Certified Public Accountant

Possessing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a related field is often necessary. Additionally, earning a certified public accountant designation is a crucial step in establishing that an accountant holds legitimacy and is cognizant of necessary tax requirements and laws before becoming employed.

Is sales credit or debit?

Sales are recorded as a credit because the offsetting side of the journal entry is a debit – usually to either the cash or accounts receivable account. In essence, the debit increases one of the asset accounts, while the credit increases shareholders' equity.

Generally, this accounting includes forecasting and budgeting of the projects for better results and profit maximization in the company with the effective utilization of resources available in the company. This accounting is mostly used by the corporates to deal with its management while implementing new budgets and future policies. Individuals interested in becoming a financial advisor would want to study risk management, taxation, supply chain management, financial management, corporate finance, and managerial accounting. They may also be required to obtain specific licenses to work as a financial advisor.

What Career Options Include Creativity and Accounting?

This type of accounting focuses on your business’s income and expenses and how you use the assets you have on hand. Due to the different requirements of each company, it’s imperative to have an idea of the different types of accounting services so you can help them to the full extent, and create more value for their growth.

  • In this article, we explore the different types of accounting fields available and what career options exist for professionals interested in accounting.
  • For example, when recording customer remittances, the bookkeeper debits the cash account and credits the sales revenue account.
  • These systems can be cloud based and available on demand via application or browser, or available as software installed on specific computers or local servers, often referred to as on-premise.
  • Financial Accounting − These are financial statements that are meant for stakeholders to illustrate how the financial condition of the company is.
  • Had senior management been going with a cash accounting method instead, they would be unaware of the 1.2 million and might make decisions or policy based on incomplete information.
  • When searching for either of these, you will likely need to open up certain parts of your books for inspection.

The career track progresses from various internal auditor positions to the manager of internal audit. There are specialties available, such as the information systems auditor and the environmental auditor. There are several types of accounting that range from auditing to the preparation of tax returns.

These two degrees take a good amount of work—around four to five years—to complete and are considered a big accomplishment for accountants. An MBA in accounting is, in many ways, similar to a master’s accounting degree . However, an MBA is more likely to focus on developing students’ managerial skills and advanced accounting skills. Transactions related to income, expense, profit and loss are recorded under this category. These components actually do not exist in any physical form but they actually exist. For example, during the purchase and sale of goods, only two components directly get affected i.e money and stock. But, apart from this we may incur profit or loss out of such transactions and we might incur some expenses for these transactions to happen.

When the client pays the invoice, the accountant credits accounts receivables and debits cash. Double-entry accounting is also called balancing the books, as all of the accounting entries are balanced against each other. If the entries aren’t balanced, the accountant knows there must be a mistake somewhere in the general ledger. In accrual accounting, revenue is recorded when it’s earned, not when money actually comes in. Even if the client hasn’t paid yet, revenue is still recorded in the books. Tax accounting also helps businesses figure out their income tax and other taxes and how to legally reduce their amount of tax owing.

Information is then used by tax professionals to estimate tax liability of a company and for tax planning purposes. Financial accounting is the process of producing information for external use usually in the form of financial statements. Financial Statements reflect an entity’s past performance and current position based on a set of standards and guidelines known as GAAP . GAAP refers to the standard framework of guideline for financial accounting used in any given jurisdiction.

  • Some reports are prepared for internal purposes only, used by the business’s leaders to inform their decisions.
  • After completing a bachelor’s degree, individuals must then take and pass the certified management accountant exam.
  • Modified cash-basis and accrual accounting use the same accounts, which are advanced accounts such as AP and long-term liabilities.
  • Remember that debits increase your expenses, and credits decrease expense accounts.

Individuals interested in becoming a management accountant should study risk management, managerial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, corporate finance, taxation, and interpersonal communications. After completing a bachelor’s degree, individuals must then take and pass the certified management accountant exam. According to, the average salary for a management accounting is $59,405. Those in the financial accounting field are concerned with the aggregation of financial information into external reports.

For example, a bookkeeper can find that a company has gone over budget but an accountant will look to see if it’s because of high overhead, poor receivables management, high debt service or poor cash flow planning. Accounting starts with bookkeeping but requires more analysis of what you’re doing. Cost Accounting − Cost accounting is done to measure the margins or during the consideration of increasing the price of a product. It shows how much a product costs for manufacturing to determine the price of the product.

  • The reports that accountants produce include balance sheets, income and cash flow statements, and tax returns.
  • In addition, accounting personnel prepare a range of reports for external stakeholders, including but not limited to banks, investors, auditors, government agencies and the public.
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  • This is a slight deviation from the financial accounting system used in the private sector.
  • In this example, the receiver is an employee and the giver will be the business.
  • A managerial accountant must be careful in communicating confidential information and to whom.

Project accountants work closely with project managers, accounting teams, and even external suppliers. They are often hired by engineering firms and construction companies, but can find jobs in all sectors including private, government, non-profit, and education. This is the type of accounting that is related to the matters of taxation.

Ohio University has a long-standing reputation for excellence based on the quality of its programs, faculty and alumni. If you are a professional who strives to align with one of the best, you need look no further than the esteemed on-campus and online programs offered at Ohio University. If you possess the basic aptitude required for an accounting position, choosing a career in the field may open a host of possibilities for you and enable you to customize a career to fit your preferences.

A key difference with managerial accounting is that those receiving the documents use it for forecasting purposes rather than as historical evidence of financial progress. Some specific techniques used by this area of accounting include cost-volume-profit analysis, risk management, and variance analysis. Government accountants perform similar work to what those in private sector perform. The difference is that instead of tracking, analyzing and reporting financial information for a business or nonprofit organization, government accountants work for various public agencies. Some drawbacks may be found in the rigid application and promotion processes, but job security can be a benefit of public versus private employment.

Accrual-basis accounting, by contrast, recognizes revenue only as work is completed and expenses as they occur, though not necessarily when vendors are paid. External investors want confidence that they know what they are investing in. Prior to private funding, investors will usually require financial statements to gauge the overall health of a company. Banks and other lending institutions will often require financial statements in compliance with accounting rules as part of the underwriting and review process for issuing a loan.

Accounting Ph.D Graduates

Admission requirements vary by school, and prospective students should examine each certificate option on its own merits, since these programs often differ widely. The information below gives prospective students a clear idea of what each program level offers, who it best suits, and what kind of careers it can open up. One of the benefits of the accounting profession are the various industries in which one can work.

Different Types of Accounting

If you’ve ever applied for a small business loan, you know you need to provide certain financial data for the lender to consider. These financials show your business’s relative health and allow the loan underwriter to make a decision on your loan. They are also often involved in budgeting for the release of your new products and preparing financial data for your investors and tax authorities.

Using the cash accounting method, a company bookkeeper debits and credits the cash account in each journal entry. Transactions with no monetary input are not included in the financial statements.

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