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Market Outlook on Accounting Jobs

by Dana Severson

Every few years there’s a corporate scandal. In 2012, allegations were made that the Bank of America failed to disclose losses. A few years before that, Bernie Madoff made news for his Ponzi scheme, and in 2002, the executive VP of Lipper Holdings was charged with securities fraud. Each one tends to shine a light on the accounting practices of corporations -- big and small. With such bad press, you’d think that the job outlook for accounting professionals would slowly dim. But the market is still growing. Of course, some occupations are expected to improve more than others.

Accountants and Auditors

In light of recent financial crises, companies place greater emphasis on accounting practices. This increased demand is expected to stimulate the creation of 16 percent more jobs for accountants and auditors through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A master’s degree in the field or a professional certification, such as a CPA, should improve your job prospects. As of 2011, the average salary for an accountant or auditor is $70,130 a year, adds the BLS.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerks

Clerks in accounting or bookkeeping should also see relatively good job prospects, largely due to the same reasons as those for accountants. In fact, job growth is expected to keep pace with the average for all U.S. occupations -- an estimated 14 percent from 2010 to 2020. Being a relatively large field, even more vacancies will be created by those leaving the occupation, explains the BLS. In 2011, bookkeeping and accounting clerks made an average of $36,120 a year.

Tax Examiners

In the accounting field, tax examiners will see the least amount of growth as far as jobs go. Opportunities for employment will increase by about 7 percent through 2020, reports the BLS. This works out to about 5,500 new jobs. On average, tax examiners made $55,480 a year in 2011. However, the top 10 percent of earners made in excess of $92,650 annually, so the earning potential is still there.

Budget Analysts

A degree in accounting could also lead to a career as a budget analyst, where you help an organization manage its finances. Though the job outlook isn’t as bright as that of an accountant, opportunities for employment are still expected to increase by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. In 2011, budget analysts averaged $71,450 a year, but the top 10 percent made more than $100,000 annually.

Financial Managers

Though you won’t likely step out of college and land a job as a financial manager -- most employers seek candidates with at least five years of experience -- this finance professional is still part of the accounting field. The job outlook is close to that of a budget analyst, with opportunities for employment expected to increase by 9 percent. However, this is a larger field. The 9 percent growth rate works out to the addition of over 46,000 new jobs. Even better, the average financial manager made $120,450 a year in 2011, according to the BLS.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.

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