More than 1.4 million people are employed as accountants and auditors. Accountants and auditors work throughout private industry, the nonprofit sector, and government. Many work for accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services firms. They also work for government agencies. Others work as professors at colleges and universities.
Junior auditors may work in-house for companies that have their own internal audit staff, or they may work for accountancy firms that provide auditing services for clients. They may also be hired in clerical positions as accounting clerks, cost clerks, ledger clerks, and timekeepers, or as trainees in technical or junior executive positions. In the federal government, most beginners are hired as trainees at the GS-5 level after passing the civil service exam.
Some state CPA societies arrange internships for accounting majors, and some offer scholarships and loan programs. The Career Paths section (https://www.aicpa.org/career/careerpaths.html) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Web site offers useful resources and information for aspiring auditors.
Talented auditors can advance quickly. Junior auditors can advance to senior positions within several years and to managerial positions soon afterward. Those who are successful in dealing with top-level managers may eventually become supervisors, managers, and partners in larger firms or go into independent practice. However, only a small percent of new hires advance to audit manager, tax manager, or partner.
Private accountants in firms may become audit managers, tax managers, or cost accounting managers, depending on their specialty. Others on the finance side may rise to become managers of financial planning and analysis, controllers, treasurers, or chief financial officers. Others advance to top-level business executive positions such as chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or chief operating officer. Some accountants leave the profession to work as accounting professors.
Federal government trainees are usually promoted within a year or two. Advancement to controller and to higher administrative positions is ultimately possible.
Tips for Entry
Read the Journal of Accountancy (https://www.journalofaccountancy.com) and Internal Auditor (https://iaonline.theiia.org) to learn more about the field.
Visit https://www.thiswaytocpa.com for useful information about resumes, job interviewing, networking, auditing and accounting careers, licensing, and much more.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office. The AICPA offers a wealth of information about landing an internship at https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/work-experience/articles/internships/do-something-useful-summer.