Accounting and finance is a field that is very crucial in every business industry. Accounting is the science of measuring, processing, and communicating any entity’s financial information of any entity.
Besides, accounting is a separate industry where professionals offer their services to different businesses for preparing financial statements and maintaining records.
Payroll management, corporate finance, managerial accounting, financial accounting, etc., are some of the domains of an accountant’s job.
If you are considering joining the accounting field and want to know which degree to pursue, this article is for you.
Whether you are confused about which degree to graduate in or which subjects to specialize in for becoming an accountant, you will find answers in this article.
We will also answer questions like becoming an accountant with an accounting degree and choosing certifications to opt for. So let’s get into it.
Who Is An Accountant?
An accountant is responsible for preparing and maintaining any business entity’s financial records and reports. The accountant’s job is to record business transactions and figures for companies and business entities.
Accountants also prepare reports on the company’s performance and issues related to finance. In some companies, accountants also manage the tasks like auditing, financial statement analysis, and account analysis.
Duties and Responsibilities Of An Accountant
Here is a brief description of the responsibilities & duties of an accountant. The responsibilities of an accountant are as follows:
- To track payments to internal ad external stakeholders of a company
- Budget forecasting
- Financial statements preparation
- Tax payments and returns
- Management of all accounting transaction
- Monthly, quarterly, and annual closings
- Timely bank payments
- Reporting on the financial health and liquidity of the company
- Balance sheet and profit & loss statements
- Compliance with financial policies and regulations
What skills and qualifications are required to excel in the accounting career?
- Most companies prefer to hire individuals for accountancy jobs who have:
- Working experience as an accountant in the industry
- Well-acquainted with accounting regulations, including GAAP(Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
- Advanced MS Excel skills like pivot tables, Vlookups, etc.
- Attention to detail and analytical skills
- Graduation in accounting, finance, or relevant subjects
- Certifications like CPA and CMA are also preferred
- Experience with accounting software like FreshBooks and QuickBooks
Can I Become An Accountant Without Degree In Accounting?
Now to the question if you can become an accountant without a degree in accounting.
The short answer to this question is YES!
You can actually become an accountant without having a bachelor’s degree in the field of accounting or finance. In most cases, the accountants working in the industry have the certifications like AAT, CA, CMA, ACCA, etc.
It implies that you can graduate in any field and then go for professional diplomas to work in the field of accounting.
However, you must understand that having professional diplomas and certifications is necessary to work as an accountant in the industry. Unlike the common belief, all accountants are not math genies or have a degree in accounting.
When you can understand the basics of accounting, have a bachelor’s degree in any field, and enrol yourself in professional certification, you can easily make your way to a professional accountant.
However, you must know that if you want to practice as a Certified Public Accountant, you will need to have a relevant degree in accounting, finance or related field.
There is no exemption from not having a degree in business, economics, or accounting to become a certified accountant.
How To Become An Accountant Without Accounting Degree?
Now you know that having an accounting degree is not a prerequisite to pursuing an accountant career. Then, how can you become an accountant without an accounting degree?
Here are the certifications and diplomas you can go after to become an accountant without a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field.
If you want to start your career as an accounts administrator, bookkeeper or relevant position, you can opt for ACCA Foundation as your entry route.
There is no entry requirement other than having a high school degree for the certifications. ACCA diploma is spread over 1 to 1 and half years. The fields offered are financial & management accounting, accounting & business, and certified accounting technician.
The chartered accountant or CA is a career path many adore. You can become a fully certified chartered accountant by taking 3 years of certification.
If you have completed your graduation, the need to appear in the CA foundation is also eliminated. However, if you choose CA after a high-school degree, it will take around 4.5 years to complete your degree.
AAT or Association of Accounting Technicians is broken down into three levels: level 2, level 3, and level 4. The first level is equal to GCSE, the second is equal to A, and the third is equivalent to NVQ level 4/5.
After completion of the qualification, the individuals are awarded a Foundation certificate in accounting, a professional diploma in accounting and an advanced diploma in accounting.
The duration of AAT is around 2-3 years, and it’s the best option for those looking to assume a position of assistant financial accountant, payroll manager or bookkeeper.
ACCA is also a good career path for those pursuing an accounting career without a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
The requirement for ACCA IS 3 GCSEs, grades A to C in 5 separate subjects with mathematics and English included. The time frame for completing CA is more than 3 years.
Upon completion of the degree, you get a certificate of achievement, a diploma in accounting & business, an advanced diploma in accounting & business, and a strategic professional certificate.
ACCA is a suitable career path for individuals looking to pursue a career as a chartered accountant, financial accountant, tax consultant, or auditor.
ACA is a certification for people who want to pursue a career in auditing. You can specialize in auditing with the certification comprising on 3 to 5 years with entry requirements of 2 A Level passes, grade A*-E plus 3 GCSE passes, grade A-C or member of AAT, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA.
You get the certification in finance accounting and business. You can assume the internal auditor, forensic accountant or financial accountant position.
CIMA is the certification comprising 4 years with a minimum of three years of relevant practical experience. You can assume the position of management accountant, finance manager, and finance business partner and get the certificate of CIMA in Business Accounting.
How To Become An Accountant Without Bachelor’s Degree?
You can also become an accountant without having a college or bachelor’s degree in relevant fields or any other field.
There are several certificates and diplomas that you can get and start your career as an independent accountant. The courses and certifications include:
- Bookkeeper certification to excel in bookkeeping skills and take an exam to certify in basics and advanced bookkeeping
- Accounting certification gives you an understanding of accounting fundamentals like ledges, account payable, receivables, inventory, financial statements, reporting standards, etc.
- Accounting analysis certification puts the focus on the business aspect of accounting, concentrating, accounting analysis, etc., and the certification is offered by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers(NACPB)
- QuickBooks certification is the training of QuickBooks focused on familiarizing the students with the basics of QuickBooks software.
What Accounting Jobs Can You Get Without A Degree?
If you don’t have a degree in accounting or any other field, there are still many accounting jobs you can opt for. Some of the positions in the accounting domain without a degree are as follows:
- The auditing clerk has the primary job of auditing clerks’ checks, maintaining the accuracy of financial records, and verifying information of financial documents
- The accounting clerk is supposed to do administrative tasks like contacting customers about invoices, handling accounts, maintaining financial records, etc.
- The accounting Assistant has to look after financial duties like financial record preparation, handling transactions, etc.
- The bookkeeper is responsible for recording transactions, tracking customer accounts, maintaining fiscal records, banking statements, etc.
You can pursue an accounting career with or without an accounting degree. Even you can attempt to become Certified Public Accountant without a degree in the states like Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, Hawaii, and Georgia.