Accounting majors have a variety of career paths from which to choose, ranging from public accounting to financial planning and more.
Within public accounting, you can work for any sized firm, ranging from a large, international CPA firm to a small local accounting practice. Within the CPA firm, you can work in such areas as audit, tax, and management consulting. The same holds true in business and industry, where you can choose careers in companies of all sizes, working in diverse areas such as financial accounting and reporting, management accounting, tax planning and compliance, financial planning and analysis, and corporate finance. Accountants can also provide services in specialized areas of accounting like business valuation, personal financial planning, IT consulting, and financial forensics (i.e., criminal investigation). Within government, you can create a path to success at either the federal, state, or local level. Non-profit organizations also offer many diverse opportunities.
"Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations."
Potential Accounting Careers
Below are some popular career choices for accounting or accounting and information systems majors.
This is one of the broadest accounting fields, as public accountants provide accounting, tax, auditing, and consulting services for corporations, governments, nonprofits, and individuals. Many public accountants are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), but they may concentrate their efforts on a few services, such as financial statement assurance or tax planning and compliance. Most accounting majors begin their professional careers with CPA firms, which have deserved reputations for offering excellent training, annual promotion, opportunities to take on large amounts of responsibilities very early in a career, and a platform for launching careers in corporate accounting, finance, consulting, entrepreneurship, government, management, not-for-profits, and other areas.
Accountants in business and industry work for companies ranging from family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 companies. They are considered strategic business partners of their organizations and work in a variety of different areas including financial accounting, corporate finance, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), and tax accounting, as well as internal audit, computer security, and investor relations. This career path often leads to highly desired management positions such as Financial Controllers, Chief Financial Officers, and Chief Executive Officers.
Accountants are employed by federal, state and local governments for a variety of reasons. They work for government agencies as well as audit businesses and individuals who are required to conform to government regulations or pay tax. At the federal level, some examples of where CPAs work include the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and the General Accounting Office.
Accountants in not-for-profit (NFP) organizations provide the financial information and guidance that these institutions need to determine that they operate efficiently and effectively for their stakeholders. Whether an accountant is on the staff of an NFP organization or serves in an advisory capacity, he or she can help the organization set up an internal control system, budget resources, craft strategic options, and prepare financial data for fund raising.
Spotlight: New Alumni Careers
Our recent graduates from the Class of 2018 are starting their careers at a variety of companies, some of which are featured below:
Patrick De Guzman
Ernst & Young
Undergraduate Career Center
Use the Career Center as a hub for employment resources. Among their offerings are: job listings, resume critiques, mock interviews, and even same-day advising appointments.
Graduate Business Career Management
GBCM offers consulting services, skill development programs, recruiting events, and other resources for graduate students to facilitate successful management of one's career and/or job search.
Santa Clara University Alumni Association
The University offers programming for alumni including reunions and University-wide events (e.g. Vintage Santa Clara). See the SCU Alumni Association website for more information.