Long gone are the times when jobs in the accountancy sector were considered monotonous, taken up by folks often known as mathematical geeks, who loved spending seven days a week at work, punching keys on their calculators. Moving beyond number-crunching and general book keeping tasks, today's job market in the accountancy sector brings diverse job specialities - interesting roles like fraud auditing, payroll reporting, and a spectrum of options ranging from running your own accounting practice to investigating financial crimes with the FBI. This field indeed shows promise, thanks to the large number of job opportunities and good financial rewards as you grow up the ladder.
While a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting would have helped you build a basic foundation, a Master’s degree focuses on enabling you to achieve mastery and expertise in this field. It is academia’s version of ACCA. It therefore doesn't come as a surprise, that MSc in Accountancy is a preferred choice of qualification for prospective students and employers alike.
And what would you be doing after the post-graduation? Depending on your aptitude, needs, interests and skill set, you could find yourself at any one of these job roles after the post-graduation:
- Actuary: If you're looking at assessing and mitigating risks, here's a suitable title for you. Actuaries, with their knowledge of finance, business, and statistics, help businesses create specific policies to minimize risk within the organization. Of course you'll have to pass a series of tests for this, and have the skill to create and authenticate paperwork.
- Appraisal and Valuation Specialist: As an Appraisal and Valuation professional, you'll assess the value associated with different parts of a business or organization, right from identifying a business’ assets to the value of future purchases. This would ensure that the company understands its true financial situation.
- Government Accountant - With the Master’s in Accounting, you can apply for positions within government agencies that depend on accountants for monitoring their budgets, and foresee internal finances.
- Public Accountant - Entry-level Public Accountants focus on general tax functions such as auditing. However, as a post-graduate in accounting and with substantial work experience, you can take up senior management positions. The knowledge gained through the years will also give you the confidence to launch your own firm.
- Management Accountant - While Management Accountants begin with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience as Trainees, Junior Auditors, or Cost Accountants, moving higher up in organizations requires a Master's degree or specialized certifications. Following this, senior management accountants will be eligible to move into positions of financial Vice Presidents, Treasures, or Controllers.
- Auditor: As an Auditor, you may work independently or be part of a large auditing firm, and you'll primarily be in charge of making sure that a company's accounting is valid, by checking income, expenditure, and important financial records.
- An Internal Auditor has to keenly follow the money that is collected and spent within an organization. The foremost tasks are to ensure that finances are properly managed, a budget is followed, money is invested appropriately, and that tax laws are adhered to. A company may hire internal auditors to monitor their accounting and spending.
- External auditors on the other hand, usually monitor financial records for several companies or organizations at once. They are hired to ensure that a company or organization complies with reporting regulations.
- Budget Analyst: This role will involve helping companies or organizations understand their financial situation and how to reap its benefits. As a budget analyst, you will engage with the top management and finalize a quarterly or annual working budget, ensuring that expenditure doesn't exceed the stipulated amount and investments are smart.
- Compliance Manager: Carrying out financial reporting and documentation services for an organization would be the primary responsibility of a Compliance Manager. This will involve filing taxes, handling audits, checking accuracy in record-keeping and other internal financial duties.
- Forensic Accountant: If your childhood dream was to fight the evil, it can still come true, as you don the role of a forensic accountant. In this role, you will work for law enforcement, identify if crimes have been committed and spot irregularities. Lawyers may also hire you to help them skim through paperwork and documents.
- Financial Planner: As the job title claims, you would help in preparing financial plans for people or organizations. Cash flow management, retirement planning, investment planning, financial risk management, insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning and business succession planning - whatever you specialize in, you'll have the liberty to outline the entire course of action for your clients.
- Risk Analyst: If you take up the job of a risk analyst, you'll have the chance to identify and analyze an organization’s strengths and weaknesses and help people make important financial decisions about how to use money.
- Tax Examiner and Revenue Agent: Skilled at tax law? Here's the perfect profession for you. These professionals are in charge of reviewing both state and federal government tax returns. You'll need to identify if tax returns are error free and collect unpaid or overdue taxes.
- Treasurer: You've probably heard of treasurers being in charge of a private organization’s treasury, read funds. One could take these skills of maintaining the treasury to the government level too, in which case a Master’s degree is helpful.
The array of options is rather wide. So, if you're confused about your next step forward, worry no further! The indispensible need for accountants in almost all sectors, coupled with the handsome salaries makes the Accounting field a promising and sought after career path. A Master’s degree trains you for the grind that a professional life in accounting demands. As a corollary, graduating with a Master's degree, like the MSc in Accountancy from Nanyang Business School, NTU will prepare you for higher positions at large organizations, assuring greater pay. Good luck!