Because accounting involves maintaining and auditing records and preparing financial reports, the job of a certified public accountant (CPA) comes first to mind. But those who have studied accounting also enjoy lucrative executive-level positions at private corporations, interesting opportunities at a wide range of governmental agencies, and fulfilling jobs at nonprofit organizations.

Each year, about 200 Ball State students declare accounting majors in the Miller College of Business. When they graduate, about 40 percent begin their careers with public accounting firms in Indiana, and another 40 percent accept other accounting positions. Many serve as auditors, budget officers, controllers, cost accountants, systems analysts, and tax accountants for private businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Here are some of the possibilities open to those who study accounting:

Public accountants—CPAs provide auditing, tax, and management advisory services to individual and corporate clients in many industries. In Indiana, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting plus additional course work to qualify to take the CPA exam.

Accountants within organizations—Private companies, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations all offer opportunities for those with accounting degrees.

Management analysts—Accounting provides a good background for a career as a management analyst or consultant, who analyze and propose ways to improve an organization’s structure, efficiency, or profits. An accounting graduate in this role may be involved in the design and maintenance of accounting software systems.

Banking and finance positions—Careers in these fields are attractive options for accounting graduates.

Executive-level opportunities—Many accounting graduates move during their careers from accounting roles into management positions such as controller or financial vice president, and even company president, chief executive officer, or business owner.

Legal positions—An accounting degree also provides a solid undergraduate foundation for legal studies leading to a career in corporate or tax law.

It Pays to Study Accounting

Accounting careers hold the promise of solid incomes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for accountants and analysts in 2007 was $57,060, with the highest 10 percent taking home an average of $98,220 a year. Those who move into management analyst positions earned a median of $71,150. For those in executive-level positions, earnings potentials are particularly high.

For more information about salaries, see AICPA Accounting Salaries.

More About Accounting Careers

For more information concerning accounting-related career options, visit the Web sites of the Indiana CPA Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Also check into the wealth of information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau offers details on training, qualifications, working conditions, job outlook, related occupations, and earning potential.

And check these links for more accounting career information: