Career Detail

Accountant and Auditor
“Making Sure the Numbers Add Up”
Accountants and auditors help to ensure that the Nation's firms public records are kept accurately and its taxes paid properly and on time.
Average Pay: $61,480    Qualifications: B.A. Degree
The Job
Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients, which may be corporations, governments, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, such as advising companies about the tax advantages and disadvantages of certain business decisions and preparing individual income tax returns. Others audit clients' financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported. Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Accountants also act as personal financial advisors. Most work a 40-hour week, but many work longer hours, particularly if they are self-employed and have numerous clients. Tax specialists often work long hours during the tax season.
Work Environment
Most accountants and auditors work in a typical office setting. Some may be able to do part of their work at home. Some may travel frequently to perform audits at branches and other locations.
College Majors
Accounting, Finance, Business Administration,
Minimum Qualifications
At least a bachelor's degree. Many choose to obtain certification to help advance their careers, such as becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Personality traits helpful for this career
An aptitude for mathematics and be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures quickly.
Quick Facts
  • Most accountants and auditors work in urban areas, where public accounting firms and central or regional offices of businesses are concentrated.
  • More Info: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Internet:
  • Bachelor's degree candidates in accounting received starting offers averaging $48,993 a year in July 2009
  • Master's degree candidates in accounting were offered $49,786 initially.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of wage and salary accountants and auditors were $59,430 in May 2008. The middle half of the occupation earned between $45,900 and $78,210. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $36,720, and the top 10 percent earned more than $102,380. According to a salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, bachelor's degree candidates in accounting received starting offers averaging $48,993 a year in July 2009; master's degree candidates in accounting
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