As a fresh accountancy graduate out of school and looking for a job, securing a job can be a daunting task since you don't have the required experience to land jobs. Hence, it is vital to start looking for entry-level accounting jobs to experience navigating through your career paths.
Accounting as a profession is distinct from many career paths. Some roles available for recent graduates include data entry, tax analyst, bookkeeping, auditor, financial analysis, and forensics. Since you already know the different career paths in accounting, we are going to talk about applying for entry-level accountant jobs and the entry-level salary for an accountant
Before you begin applying for entry-level accounting jobs in different organizations, you must create long-term career plans which include the type of job that fits you and where you want to be in future. Accounting career is divided into two; private and public accounting.
You have to consider which of the two types is a better match for you and consider the entry-level salary for an accountant in the industry. No matter how passionate you are about an industry, money is necessary to enable you to pay bills. Hence, you can select the one with a good salary that matches your career goals.
For better understanding, we will analyze both private and public accounting to help you make the right choice.
Public accounting is the best choice for recent graduates who want to work with as many clients as possible and explore the accountancy world. They don't work for a single company as they can be hired or contracted by firms to do accounting tasks, and they get paid either hourly, daily, weekly or even monthly, depending on the terms of the contract.
On the other hand, accountants in the private sector work as internal accountants for a single company. It lets you master a particular industry. For instance, an accountant working with McDonald's is a private accountant because he works for a single company and receives a salary from them.
Also Read: How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Accountant?
Or, if your interest is in solving financial puzzles, then auditing or forensic accounting is the ideal career path for you. Before applying for that job, here are sectors you might consider looking for entry-level accounting jobs and how much entry-level accountants make in the industry.
Career opportunities in public and private accounting
Here, we highlighted where you can get career changing opportunities in both public and private accounting. We are starting with public;
Career opportunities in public Accounting
The big four firms are the big players in the accounting industry, and they dominate the public accounting field. The Big Four accounting firms are Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG. They're supported by local and regional firms. Young accountants dream of working for any of the big four. The big four have branches in almost all countries in the world. They offer internship roles to students and entry-level to recent graduates.
Some of the services rendered by Public accountants include invoice auditing, tax, forensic accounting, etc. They also do advisory and consulting services for clients globally. The demand for accountants is now high across the world. Some of the most sorted specialties in public accounting include tax preparation and planning, auditing services, and financial planning.
Many companies in the current business environment, such as small and medium-sized firms, need helping hands to support customers with consumer assistance programs and meet deadlines.
Public accounting firms often offer staff the opportunity to work with prestigious clients alongside competitive salaries and other benefits. Some of them support their staff's continuing education which can often include earning professional certifications like Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA), etc. Some even sponsor their MBA programs.
Before taking a job in private accounting, you must understand that the task is challenging, stressful, and unpredictable, and you will work longer hours. Many public accounting firms make work-life balance a priority for their staff. They are a strong advocate for an equal level of prioritization between personal and professional activities. But even when doing their jobs remotely, the hours and workload can still be extreme for employees.
Also Read: Entry Level Accountant Job Description
Career Opportunities in the private Accounting
Private accounting keeps you in one company. Therefore, you can become acquainted with the company and its industry thoroughly. You can find entry-level accounting jobs in companies owned by a family, partners, private individuals, and other accounting firms within your state or region. Since becoming a CPA is not compulsory to work in private businesses, accountants with CPA and related qualifications earn higher salaries compared to those who don't have it. I advice recently graduates to ensure they become chartered accountants so they can make more money in the profession.
Apart from the big salaries and benefits, there are several things that CPAs or ACAs can do that an ordinary accountant can't do. There are some documents they can sign that non-chartered accountants can't sign. There are various roles available to accountants in the private sector. Companies involve Corporate accountants in almost everything they do, from helping to negotiate real estate transactions to solving tax issues at the federal and state level and reaching out to bankers.
Private accountants also work long hours with stressful job demands like their counterparts in the public. However, private accountants are not under pressure from clients asking for a reduction in fees and job delivery. Also, they don't face competition from other accounting firms like the way public accountants do.
You have to note that job security in private accounting is determined by the company’s financial health. Private accountants can be sacked anytime, especially when the company no longer make enough money to settle its obligations. This is one big advantage that the public accounting has over the private.
Opportunities in financial services
There is strong demand for accountancy and finance professionals in the banking, lending, finance and other investment industries. In fact, as long as new businesses are being created on a daily, the demand for accountants will continue to rise. This sector also needs specialists in risk, compliance, audit, fraud and forensics.
In the financial services sector, commercial banks offer opportunity to finance professionals to work in areas such as bank tellers, retail loan officers, commercial credit analysts and commercial bankers. Fund administration, clearing and settlement operations, asset management, and collateral and derivatives are specialty areas in investment banking.
Career opportunities in healthcare, nonprofits and government
1. Career opportunities in Healthcare
The healthcare sector is the most dynamic for accounting, finance and revenue cycle professionals. There is high demand for IT literate accountants and finance professionals in the health sector as there is an increase in virtual service offered by healthcare organizations, including telehealth, there is also an urgent need to employ more staff to meet the demands.
There are many lucrative career paths available in the health sector including healthcare payroll jobs, for instance. Or you can secure an entry-level role as a medical billing professional and progress to become a supervisor, manager, director and vice president of revenue cycle.
2. Career opportunities in Nonprofits
The nonprofit sector is another shinning light for accountancy and also an option for career building. Organizations in the nonprofit sector include religious organizations, clubs, NGOs, etc. Accountants working in the nonprofits sector are responsible for handling funds including contributions, membership dues, contributions and donations and making sure that the organization obey and strictly follow the rules which separate accounting for nonprofits and for-profit organizations.
3. Career opportunities in Government
There are also available entry-level accounting jobs in government sector, including federal, state and local levels. Government agencies are replacing retired professionals and recruit financial workers with fresh ideas and the right skills to complement their efforts to improve their infrastructure.
If you are analytical with high ethical standards, coupled with interest in public services, then government accounting job is the ideal job for you to start a career and grow. Working for the government can be very challenging especially if you just entered into the industry, but you will start enjoying it as your level increases. The government offer retirement plans for their workers which often include pensions and other compelling benefits like gratuity.
How much do entry level accountants make?
The answer to the question "How much do entry level accountants make?" depends on several factors such as the employer, the industry you are working, your negotiation power, your certifications, skills and years of experience.
This part of this article explains the answer to the question "how much do entry level accountants make?"
Entry level salary for accountant jobs
It is expected that entry-level salary for accountant will remain stable in the coming year, but wages can still be competitive based on the negotiation power of the in-demand talents.
Before you negotiate salary with an employer, it’s essential to know the current salary for entry-level accounting job. You also need to know the salary differences between public and private firms, as well as geographic variances.
As an example, a private tax accountant with less than one year of experience earns $54,500 salary per annum. Public accountant who specializes in rendering tax services to clients and has less than one year of experience earns about $49,000 per annum. Finally, the annual salary for a tax accountant working in the financial services sector is $71,000.
With the right skills and certifications, entry-level accountants are sure to make good money. So I advice you add some certifications to your degree, then you acquire some skills like how to use accounting software, Microsoft spreadsheets etc.