Venture Capital Accountants and Auditors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Does high school matter for aspiring VC accountants and auditors? The answer is a resounding yes. High school classes help you to grow intellectually and as a person, and excelling in your courses will help you to earn a high GPA, which will get you into a top college. And since venture capital partners prefer to hire applicants who attended top colleges, you can now see why your high school education is important.

In addition to obvious classes such as accounting, statistics, economics, and mathematics, you should also take English and speech courses because, in addition to being able to crunch numbers, you’ll also need to write reports and discuss financial issues with limited partners, your department manager, and partners in the firm. Other important classes include government, social studies, and science.  

Postsecondary Education

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting, economics, finance, or business administration is required to work as an accountant or auditor in the venture capital industry. U.S. News & World Report provides a list of the best undergraduate accounting programs in the United States at Some partners prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting, economics, business administration, or finance.

AACSB International accredits colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting and business. Visit for a list of accredited programs.

Other Education or Training

Many accountants and auditors participate in continuing education (CE) classes, workshops, and webinars to improve their job skills, to stay up to date with industry trends, and, if they’re certified, to satisfy CE requirements for recertification. Many professional associations provide these opportunities. For example, the Institute of Internal Auditors offers seminars and e-learning opportunities on audit report writing, finance and compliance fraud, operational/performance auditing, risk issues, technology, and personal development (communication, strategic thinking, and problem-solving). Other opportunities are provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, CFA Institute, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Institute of Management Accountants, and the National Venture Capital Association.

Many top public accounting firms provide classroom-based and online learning. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers offers self-study classes such as Venture Capital Funds, Overview of Investment Companies: Fund Accounting Concepts, and Taxation for Regulated Investment Companies.


The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers a certificate in International Financial Reporting Standards to those who complete the program of online, self-study training courses. Topics include financial statements, interim reporting, and cash flows; investments in associates and joint ventures; and fair value measurement. Certificates programs are also offered by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (business accounting) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (international auditing and international financial reporting). 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Many accountants and auditors become certified to improve their skills and demonstrate to potential employers that they’ve met the highest standards established by their industry. Becoming certified can also translate into higher earnings. According to the Institute of Management Accountants, those who hold the certified management accountant (CMA) credential earn 63 percent more in total compensation than non-CMAs. Robert Half Accounting & Finance reports that the CMA credential is one of four certification designations that are in especially strong demand. The other credentials include:

  • certified internal auditor (Institute of Internal Auditors)
  • certified public accountant (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, AICPA)
  • chartered global management accountant (a joint venture of the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)

Additionally, some accountants and auditors earn the following certifications: 

  • credited business accountant/advisor, accredited tax preparer, accredited tax advisor (Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation)
  • certification in control self-assessment, certified financial services auditor, certification in risk management assurance (Institute of Internal Auditors)
  • certified financial manager (Institute of Management Accountants)
  • certified treasury professional, certified corporate financial planning and analysis professional (Association of Financial Professionals)

A large percentage of accountants are certified public accountants (CPAs). Those who receive this designation have passed a qualifying examination and hold a certificate issued by the state in which they wish to practice. The Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the AICPA, is used by all states. Nearly all states require at least two years of public accounting experience or the equivalent before a CPA certificate can be earned.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Completion of at least one internship in college is highly recommended to prepare for entry-level accounting and auditing positions at public accounting firms. Jobs at venture capital firms require at least one year of experience at an investment bank, a portfolio company of a VC firm, or at a public accounting firm that provides services to the VC industry. 

According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, certified public accountants need a combination of strong leadership ability, communications skills, tech know-how, and business savvy. At the organization’s Web site,, you can learn about the steps to take to develop these qualities. Other important traits include a detail-oriented, organized, and analytical personality, strong problem-solving skills, the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team, and honesty and strong ethics. Accountants and auditors must be proficient in the use of financial-related software and databases (such as Microsoft Dynamics Oracle PeopleSoft, Arbutus Analyzer, and SAP) and office software (PowerPoint, Excel, and Word).