Accounting Career Paths

Accounting Career Paths

Public Accountant

Students who get their CPA certification can work at public accounting firms. There are different sizes of firms, but the Big Four accounting firms hire hundreds of new graduates every year. Public accountants learn to navigate all different businesses, including government and nonprofits. A list of responsibilities that public accountants have include:

  • Review financial statements
  • Evaluate business assets
  • Tax planning and consulting
  • Analyze operations
  • Financial planning

Personal Financial Planner

The job title describes this career very accurately. Individuals are becoming more focused on the future of their finances, and it is becoming more confusing for the average person to figure it out on their own. A personal financial planner will assist with this, so they need to have a strong knowledge of tax law, insurance, and investing. Building a customer base is one of the biggest challenges for personal financial planners, but it is also the most important since they are often times self employed.

Internal Auditor

Big corporations hire internal auditors to ensure that the company is using their resources in the best way while still complying with state and federal regulations. This can be a good way to get on a CFO track since internal auditors see the internal works of the organization, and they have a lot of contact with upper management in most cases. Their roles include:

  • Monitoring, assessing, and analyzing organizational risk and controls
  • Reviewing and confirming information
  • Compliance with policies, procedures, and laws

Forensic Accountant

Working as a forensic accountant involves combining accounting, auditing and investigative skills in order to interpret financial evidence in legal cases. Often times they end up as expert witnesses during trials. Some of the crimes a forensic accountant helps investigate include embezzlement, securities fraud, money laundering, and bankruptcies.

Tax Accountant

A tax accountant generally prepares annual and quarterly taxes for individuals and companies. The work pace can get hectic during tax season, but is often slower paced throughout the rest of the year. Tax accountants need to have good customer service skills in order to acquire and retain customers. They also need to stay up to date on tax code and regulations which changes every year. It is not uncommon for tax accountants to eventually open their own practices.

Government Accountant

Federal, state, and local governments all need to hire accountants to create budgets, track costs, analyze publicly funded programs, and make sure money is collected and spent according to the law.The government also hires auditors to help maintain records and audit private businesses and individuals regulated or taxed by them.


For detailed steps to attaining a CPA license, as well as more information about accounting related careers, go here.

For information about the national CPA exam, go here.

For information about obtaining an Oregon State CPA license, go here.

Eastern Oregon University has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), located in Lenexa, Kansas.


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