Are you someone who’s good with numbers and has an excellent working memory for carrying out detail-oriented work? Do you like the comfort of a steady and secure work environment with consistent hours? Are you interested in becoming an accountant but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you have a love for numbers and a keen eye for detail, or maybe you’re drawn to the idea of helping individuals and businesses make sense of their finances. Whatever your motivation, a career in accounting can be rewarding, challenging, and lucrative. But how do you become an accountant?
Don’t worry! We are here to rescue you & answer all your questions! No wonder, accounting is a field that involves analyzing and interpreting financial data to help individuals and organizations make sound financial decisions. Accountants play a critical role in ensuring that businesses operate efficiently and effectively and that financial records are accurate and up-to-date.
So, whether you are a recent high school graduate or a seasoned professional looking for a career change, read on to learn more about how to become an accountant and take the first step toward a rewarding and fulfilling career in the world of accounts!
Before we delve into the discussion, let’s first understand…
Who is an accountant?
An accountant is a professional who specializes in analyzing and interpreting financial information. Their main role is to prepare, examine, and maintain financial records for individuals, businesses, and organizations. Accountants use their expertise in accounting principles and financial analysis to help their clients or employers make informed financial decisions. They may also provide advice on tax planning, investment strategies, and risk management.
Accountants can work in a variety of settings, including private companies, government agencies, accounting firms, and non-profit organizations. They may specialize in specific areas of accounting, such as auditing, tax accounting, managerial accounting, or financial accounting. Accountants ensure accurate financial transactions in compliance with laws and regulations.
What does an accountant do?
Here are some common tasks and responsibilities of an accountant:
- Maintain financial records: Accountants are responsible for recording and organizing financial transactions, such as income, expenses, and investments.
- Prepare financial statements: Accountants create financial statements like balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements to show a company’s financial health.
- Manage budgets: Accountants help manage budgets and financial plans, ensuring that organizations operate within their financial means.
- Perform audits: Accountants may conduct internal or external audits to review financial records and ensure compliance with regulations and standards.
- Provide financial advice: Accountants offer financial advice to clients or employers, such as tax planning, investment strategies, and risk management.
- Analyze financial data: Accountants analyze financial data to identify trends, risks, and opportunities for improvement.
- Ensure compliance: Accountants ensure that financial transactions comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
- Collaborate with other professionals: Accountants collaborate with financial analysts, tax specialists, and auditors for precise financial reporting.
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Why become an accountant?
There are several compelling reasons why someone might want to become an accountant:
- Job stability: Accounting is a high-demand profession, and the need for skilled accountants is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that accountants enjoy job stability and can often find employment opportunities in a variety of industries and settings.
- Financial reward: Accountants typically earn competitive salaries and their earning potential increases with experience and additional certifications. This can make accounting an attractive career choice for those seeking financial stability and growth.
- Challenging and varied work: Accounting includes tasks like preparing financial statements, analyzing data, and offering strategic advice. This can make for a challenging and engaging career that offers a lot of variety and opportunities for growth.
- Flexibility: Accountants can work in a variety of settings, including private companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and accounting firms. This means that accountants can often choose a work environment that suits their preferences and lifestyle.
- Opportunity for advancement: Accountants can advance by getting a CPA designation and taking on leadership roles. This can lead to increased responsibility, job satisfaction, and financial reward.
Popular specialization in accountant
Undergraduate and graduate students typically have to choose from several specializations for accounting majors. Specializations enhance accounting degrees by guiding students in selecting electives and focusing their research on specific areas. However, many students lack awareness of available majors, their significance in the accounting industry, and their impact on their coursework during their degree program.
Before choosing an accounting major, consider the following common options.
Accountants must be aware of accounting laws, industry regulations, and GAAP, but some businesses resort to fraud to boost their appearance. Students specializing in auditing and forensics can work as government investigators, forensic accountants, and external or internal auditors. These professionals investigate, audit, and review accounting work. They also testify in cases against companies or individuals accused of unethical or illegal accounting practices.
It is important for students who wish to enter a leadership position to have the appropriate training to do so. Specializing in management accounting allows students to handle accounting tasks for a management team and gain skills for overseeing accounts. Management concentrations offer a solid business foundation, essential for advancing in management roles in government or corporations. Both occupations give accountants more opportunities to advance throughout their careers.
Individuals with a financial accounting major usually work for large corporations and work on quarterly results, official income reports, and more. Corporate work also opens the door to various paths to executive-level leadership and management, such as chief financial officer. In Financial Accounting, students learn to report a company’s financial position to stakeholders and follow government regulations for documenting earnings and expenses.
The Tax Accounting specialization provides students with the basics of preparing tax returns for individuals, non-profits, and corporations so that returns can be filed quickly with state revenue departments or the Internal Revenue Service. Most tax accounting majors teach students the ethical considerations related to tax management and preparation, as well as the software used to file taxes electronically at the federal and state levels, and the tax laws that apply to several situations. Advanced topics in personal or corporate tax and service law may also be included in Master of Accountancy programs.
It is a specialized area of accounting that focuses on the investigation of financial fraud and other financial crimes. Forensic accountants use their accounting skills and knowledge to analyze financial transactions, identify irregularities or discrepancies, and uncover evidence of fraud or other financial misconduct. They may work with law enforcement agencies, government agencies, or legal teams to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Forensic accountants are trained to identify potential fraud schemes, such as embezzlement, money laundering, and financial statement fraud.
Steps to Become an Accountant
Following are some of the steps you need to consider if you looking for an answer on how to become an accountant –
- Complete Senior High School – Candidates who are planning to pursue a career in finance and accounting should opt for the commerce stream in their 12th standard. Stream selection allows candidates to study subjects like Accounting, Economics, Business Mathematics, etc. with a minimum aggregate score of 55% and above. This will help the candidates to get into the best colleges.
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree – To become an Accountant, candidates must complete a 3-year Bachelor of Commerce program like B.Com (Hons), BBA, etc. from recognized institutes. After enrolling in the course, candidates will have to study subjects like cost accounting, corporate accounting, taxation, business management, etc. to understand the principles of accounting.
- Get an internship – Hands-on experience will not only add to your resume, but it will also help you land a high-paying job. Candidates can undergo internships, workshops, attend seminars, etc. to gain practical knowledge of the profession and learn how to apply theoretical approaches in practical life.
- Choose a specialization – Accounting has several specializations that a candidate can choose based on their interests. Some of the best-chosen majors are financial accounting, auditing, tax accounting, management accounting, etc.
- Get a higher education – To be successful as an accountant and get more opportunities for growth in this field, candidates can choose a master’s degree or other relevant certifications.
- Be up-to-date with financial legislation – Although not a mandatory requirement, it would be very helpful for the candidate to be aware of the financial changes in the country. This will be an added advantage.
How to become an accountant after 12th – eligibility criteria
Some of the most important steps to take to be an accountant are as follows:
- Some of the colleges offer accounting courses. So, candidates should be ready to crack the entrance exam for admission to top colleges like AMUEE, DUET, JMIEEE, CUEE, etc.
- Candidates must have completed relevant undergraduate courses such as Bachelor of Commerce (B. Com Hons), Bachelor of Banking and Insurance, Bachelor of Finance, etc.
- The primary objective of the undergraduate program is to provide a brief understanding of the principles of accounting.
- Applicants must also choose what kind of accountant they want to become. Cost Accounting, Chartered Accountants, etc. To apply for these, candidates must pass additional exams and pass certain levels.
Accountant skills required
Accountants require a variety of skills to perform their job effectively. Here are some of the most important skills required to become an accountant:
- Attention to Detail: Accountants must have excellent attention to detail, as they are responsible for ensuring accuracy in financial records and reports.
- Analytical Skills: Accountants need strong analytical skills to be able to analyze financial data, identify trends, and make informed recommendations.
- Communication Skills: Accountants must be able to communicate complex financial information clearly and effectively to both financial and non-financial stakeholders.
- Computer Skills: Accountants must be proficient in using accounting software and other computer programs to manage financial data.
- Mathematical Aptitude: Accountants need to be proficient in mathematics and be able to perform complex calculations accurately.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Accountants must have strong problem-solving skills to identify and resolve issues with financial data or processes.
- Ethics and Integrity: Accountants must operate with the highest level of ethics and integrity, as they often have access to sensitive financial information.
- Time Management: Accountants must be able to manage their time effectively, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.
- Teamwork: Accountants often work as part of a team and must be able to collaborate effectively with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders.
The accountant fee structure in India
The educational fee structure for accounting programs in India varies depending on the type of program, the institution, and the location. Here are some approximate fee ranges for accounting programs in India:
- Bachelor’s degree in Accounting: The average annual fee for a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in India ranges from INR 50,000 to INR 3,00,000 per year.
- Master’s degree in Accounting: The average annual fee for a Master’s degree in Accounting in India ranges from INR 50,000 to INR 4,00,000 per year.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course: The cost of the CPA course in India can range from INR 2,00,000 to INR 6,00,000 for the entire course.
- Chartered Accountant (CA) course: The cost of the CA course in India varies depending on the institution offering the course, but it can range from INR 1,00,000 to INR 5,00,000 for the entire course.
Career progression in accounting
Career progression in accounting in India can vary depending on the specific field of accounting and the individual’s education and experience. Here are some common career paths and progression opportunities in accounting in India:
- Entry-Level Accounting Positions: Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting can begin their career in entry-level positions such as accountants, accounting clerks, or audit assistants. As they gain experience and knowledge, they can progress to higher-level positions.
- Senior Accountant: With experience, accountants can progress to senior accountant positions, where they have more responsibility and management, and accounting teams.
- Managerial Positions: Experienced accountants can progress to managerial positions such as Accounting Manager, Finance Manager, or Controller.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA): Those who have completed the CPA course can progress to higher-level positions in the accounting field and may work as consultants or in senior management roles.
- Chartered Accountants (CA): Those who have completed the CA course can work in various fields such as auditing, taxation, finance, and consulting. They can also start their own accounting firms or work as freelance consultants.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO): Experienced accountants who have demonstrated strong financial management skills and leadership abilities can progress to the position of CFO, where they oversee financial strategy and decision-making for a company.
Job opportunities after studying accounting
India has slowly gained a stronghold as one of the brightest emerging economies. It is also one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. So, with opportunities arising for all, and with the entire world focussing on optimization, the role, and importance of cost accountants have increased manifold on account of growing competition in the corporate sector. Their job, broadly stating, essentially comprises closely analyzing costs and devising ways to reduce them as far as possible.
Another good development is that an ICAI has a mutual recognition arrangement with the Institute of Management Accountants, USA and the Institute of Public Accountants, Australia, and Indian CMAs/CWAs can automatically become members of these institutes. The course curricula have also been mapped with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in the UK, where the arrangement has been made by Indian CWAs/CMAs to get exemption in eleven papers (at different levels) to qualify as a management accountant professional in the UK.
The responsibilities of a cost and works accountant/costs and management accountant would typically include:
- Corporate Decision Making
- Resource Management
- Performance Management
- Financial Reporting & Strategy
- Optimization of Stakeholder’s value
- Risk Management
- Enterprise Governance
- Audit assurance and Taxation
- Sustainable Development
- Corporate Social Responsibility
A CWA or a CMA can work in high-profile jobs both in the private as well as government sectors. There is plenty of scope in the banking and insurance sectors. The government has made it mandatory for thirty-eight classes of companies to employ a cost accountant. This very fact throws up tremendous opportunities for one.
Accountant Salary in India
The salary of an accountant in India can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of education, experience, industry, and location. Here are some approximate salary ranges for accountants in India:
- Entry-level positions: The salary of an entry-level accountant in India can range from INR 2,00,000 to INR 4,00,000 per year.
- Mid-level positions: The salary of a mid-level accountant in India can range from INR 4,00,000 to INR 10,00,000 per year.
- Senior-level positions: The salary of a senior accountant in India can range from INR 10,00,000 to INR 25,00,000 per year.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA): The salary of a CPA in India can range from INR 10,00,000 to INR 30,00,000 per year.
- Chartered Accountant (CA): The salary of a CA in India can range from INR 7,00,000 to INR 30,00,000 per year
A career in accounting could be the right career choice for maths and accountancy lovers as it offers numerous opportunities. After the final course, one may join M. Phil or Ph.D. in commerce and allied subjects. Presently, a total of 35 Indian Universities have approved the course offered by ICAI/ICWAI. Many Cost and Works Accountants of the Institute have been top performers in their corporate life. They can occupy a position of responsibility, like, Managing Director, Finance Director, Financial Controller, Chief Accountant, Cost Controller, etc. One can start their practice as a cost accountant after obtaining a license from the Institute.
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Yes, several other professional courses can help in building a career in accounting in India, such as Cost and Management Accountancy (CMA), Company Secretary (CS), and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) among others.
Accountants are in high demand in India, and there are many job opportunities in various industries such as finance, accounting, and auditing. Accountants can also work in consulting firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
Yes, the accounting profession is highly respected in India because it requires a lot of mental agility to clear all the exams and become an accountant. Also, being an accountant requires you to be sharp and very alert to spot even the smallest mistakes.
Yes, accountants do have a scope in the public sector as there are many jobs available such as accountants, trainee bank clerks, chartered accountants, chartered accountants, etc.
To become an accountant in India, one typically needs a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, or Business Administration. Pursuing a professional course like Chartered Accountancy (CA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can also help in building a career in accounting.
Anushree has 4+ years of experience in the career counseling industry as a Senior Content Writer. She has also worked as a Social Media Marketing Expert for a startup and Content Quality Analyst for Publishing and E-learning Industry. She has done her Master’s in Commerce and PGDM in Finance & Trade and Marketing & HR, but she is currently following her passion for writing.