Career opportunities in accounting include public accounting (certified public accounting firm), industry (industrial and commercial enterprise), not-for-profit organizations, government, and after graduate education, college or university faculties.
Accountants in public practice provide audit, tax, or management advisory services. Success in passing the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination is necessary for advancement in public accounting. A variety of services are performed by public accountants including:
- auditing (attesting to the fairness of financial statements),
- computer consulting,
- tax return preparation,
- tax and financial planning, and
- carrying out financial investigations in cases of fraud, insolvency, or disputes.
Accountants in industry make up a substantial portion of the profession. They record, analyze, and report information used by managers to make financial and managerial decisions for businesses such as manufacturers, retailers, service companies, and financial institutions. Governmental and not-for-profit accounting, a growth accounting field, includes positions with federal, state, and local governments, hospitals, universities, and charitable organizations. Government agencies employ a large number of accountants, some of whom audit records of private businesses, not-for-profit organizations, or individuals subject to government regulation. Accountants in industry may also be certified as Certified Management Accountants (CMA).
Accounting graduates often continue their formal education by pursuing advanced technical or professional degrees such as a master’s degree in accountancy, a master’s degree in business administration, or a law degree. A doctorate in accounting usually leads to a university faculty career.
CPA candidates must earn a minimum of 150 credit hours of college/university course work to sit for the CPA exam in Indiana. Graduates with an undergraduate degree in a nonaccounting field may satisfy the CPA exam requirement through the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Professional Accountancy (PBCPA) program at USI.
Those who wish to engage in public accounting practice in Indiana as certified public accountants should familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations issued by the Indiana Board of Accountancy (www.in.gov/pla/accountancy.htm). Students planning to practice outside of Indiana should consult the CPA board of the appropriate state.