This program is also available to be completed online
The field of accounting offers a wide variety of entry-level and professional career options for individuals with the aptitude and interest in this direction. For those students who are planning to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), it is highly recommended that a student enroll in the Associate of Arts - Oregon Transfer Degree and then complete their accounting program at a qualified four year institution. CPA testing requirements and a listing of four-year academic institutions can be found at the Oregon Board of Accounting, website: http://egov.oregon.gov/BOA. Currently the requirements to take the CPA exam is a bachelors degree with 150 semester (225 quarter) units and with 24 semester (36 quarter) units in accounting.
A variety of job titles exist in the accounting area, beginning with Billing Clerk, Accounts Payable, Price Analyst, Adjuster, and Bookkeeper, and advancing to more complex positions of Accountant, Auditor, Controller, Treasurer, Finance Director, and Chief Financial Officer. In government and regulatory agencies, job titles include Tax Examiner, Revenue Agent and Financial Analyst.
Career opportunities in the accounting field exist in virtually all industries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and international activities. Accounting is also an excellent foundation for starting your own practice or business.
Those students who do not complete a bachelor's degree in accounting can still find many opportunities in the accounting field working in the accounting departments of larger organizations as wells as bookkeeping for smaller businesses.
For more information on specific occupations in the accounting field, visit www.bls.gov/oco/oco1001.htm.
Specific Work Activities
If you work for an accounting firm, you may deal with clients in a wide range of industries. For example, you could be assigned to a client in the music industry, examining the company's financial records, providing tax advice or developing a computer system to track the sale of CDs.
If you work directly for a company, you could be involved in everything from advising on how to increase profits to analyzing future financing needs. If you work in government, you might find yourself testifying on the impact of pending tax legislation. You can even use your accounting expertise to instruct students or conduct research.
Positions in accounting can be found in a variety of settings. They will typically require substantial contact with other employees, in addition to time spent working individually or in small groups to complete projects or tasks.
Accounting requires a diverse array of skills, aptitudes, and technologies. You should have strong problem-solving abilities, excellent oral and written communication skills, and strong technical know-how. One day you may be preparing a financial report on the computer; the next you may be presenting your findings on video.
Physical Work Conditions
Most accounting-related positions are indoors.
Individuals in accounting-related positions are typically held to very high standards of performance, and are often subject to audits. Work must be completed on time regardless of outside circumstances. Because accountants are typically responsible for teams or groups of staff, they must consistently work to keep those employees motivated to complete assignments. Accountants, especially those with limited experience, are expected to be receptive to feedback on a regular basis and must remain current on issues that affect their industry.
Individuals in accounting-related positions often work extensive hours and may travel to other worksites or corporate locations; limited part time opportunities exist. Accountants are also expected to remain current on industry trends, and will typically be expected to attend workshops, conferences, and advanced training programs as they advance.
Wages and Projections
Wages vary by area of the country and by employer. Wages can vary from a beginning hourly wage on a part or full time basis. Those students graduating with a four-year accounting degree currently are in very high demand with starting salaries averaging nationally at $44,564. Most accountants receive benefit packages, with additional benefits varying by level. Accountants in mid to upper level positions will typically have substantial benefit packages that can be equal in value to their salary (these positions typically require extensive experience and/or advanced degrees).
Individuals interested in advancement opportunities in accounting may be assigned to training programs within their organization as well as continuing college education. Promotional opportunities are typically based on individual commitment and willingness to contribute hours and energy to their assigned responsibilities. The ability to transfer within the company may also be a requirement for advancement. Accountants with a strong set of industry skills and demonstrated leadership can be promoted to levels of mid-level and upper management.
Career opportunities in accounting-related positions exist across all industries. Potential employers include government and regulatory agencies, corporations, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and numerous opportunities abroad.
See the catalog for Certificate and AAS Degree requirements