Accounting and A&IS majors can begin their careers in a variety of career paths, ranging from public accounting, tax accounting, controllership, and internal audit to financial planning, corporate finance, systems analysis 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, management consulting, IT consulting, and financial forensics (i.e., criminal investigation).
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, tax planning and compliance, corporate finance, controllership, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), investor relations, and internal audit.
A&IS majors have opportunities to begin their careers in all these fields, plus those in management consulting, IT consulting, systems analysis, and more.
"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.
Certified Public Accounting
Certified public accounting (CPA) firms provide accounting, assurance, tax, and consulting services for corporations, governments, nonprofits, and individuals. Many Accounting/A&IS 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, and other areas. CPA managers, directors, and partners have career experiences that translate to executive and C-level positions in private, public, and nonprofit corporations.
Tax Planning and Compliance
Tax accountants are consistently in high demand for their services. Tax accountants determine tax strategies that defer or minimize tax payments while maximizing earnings, and arrange audits with taxation authorities. These accountants also prepare tax documents for a clientele that can include public and private companies, nonprofit organizations, and private individuals. Accounting/A&IS majors can develop careers paths as tax accountants within a CPA firm or a corporate entity, or later branch out into career paths that involve other accounting, finance, and/or management functions.
Accounting/A&IS majors often work for a company’s finance group in various capacities, including budgeting, FP&A, risk management, investors relations, or working as financial analysts, etc. These positions prepares Accounting/A&IS majors to become Financial Controllers, FP&A Directors, Chief Accounting Officers, and Chief Financial Officers.
Financial controllers have the primary responsibility of managing all accounting, internal audit, internal control, and finance-related activities within a firm. Accounting/A&IS majors serve the controllership function in a variety of positions, developing experience that facilitates their advancement to Chief Financial Controller or Chief Financial Officer.
Financial Planning & Analysis
The Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) team is responsible for all budgeting, forecasting, key performance indicators (KPIs), variance analysis, and related functions in a company. Many FP&A skills are taught in our Managerial Accounting courses. Accounting/A&IS majors can begin their careers as an FP&A analyst, or transfer to FP&A after gaining experience in public accounting. Along with controllership, FP&A experience is considered a potential stepping stone to the CFO position.
The Investor Relations (IR) team is responsible for managing communication between a company's corporate management and its investors, including the communication of financial results and expectations, marketing strategies, investment plans, financial risks, and valuation models with investors and equity analysts, and conveying investment community feedback to senior management. While companies rarely hire fresh graduates into IR positions, the sophisticated understanding of financial reports and analytic methods developed by Accounting/A&IS majors are important skills for IR managers.
The Internal Audit (IA) team is responsible for evaluating a company’s internal controls, risk management policies, and IT processes. Internal auditors ensure that companies comply with relevant laws and regulations, help maintain accurate and timely financial reporting and data collection, and issue recommendations for correcting problems. Accounting/A&IS majors can be directly hired into corporate IA teams or transfer into IA positions after gaining audit experience at CPA firms.
Forensic Accounting / Special Agent
Forensic accountants are in high demand and the career options available to them are diverse. For example, forensic accountants can investigate financial and securities fraud, computer fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, tax evasion, and much more. computer Additional Career choices for Accounting & Information Systems Majors Accounting/A&IS majors work as forensic accountants for CPA firms, professional consultancies, insurance companies, and government regulators, and as special agents for the FBI, SEC, and other investigatory entities.
Potential A&IS Careers
In addition to the career choices listed above, A&IS majors also have career opportunities in the other fields, some of which are described below:
As a business analyst, you will help manage, change and plan for the future of an organization. You will need to understand the current organizational situation, identify future needs, and create solutions to meet those needs usually in relation to information and software systems. You will also play a key role in communicating between internal departments and external parties, conveying how information technology can support the organization’s needs. In short, if you enjoy analyzing data, creating solutions, working with people, and having a good grasp of information technology, a career as a business analyst could be for you.
As a systems analyst, you will use design technology and related systems to design new business solutions for clients. Frequently, this will mean iterating through the systems development life cycle, employing development methodologies such as Agile, and working with a team to meet the needs of your customers. You will be the liaison between internal and external clients, including colleagues and developers, throughout the development process. You will work closely with managers and software developers, during both the report and implementation phase. If you enjoy designing high-level plans and digging deeper to solve real problems, a career as a systems analyst would be a great choice for you.
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.