Numbers span all languages and cultures, creating what is known as the language of business: accounting. The earliest accounting records date back thousands of years to the use of an abacus, a rudimentary counting tool. As the workplace has progressed, so has the role of the accounting professional. This has been particularly evident in recent years; the integration of technology in accounting has created many specializations and job opportunities within the field - from forensic accounting to health care IT auditors.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants, auditors, financial bookkeepers and clerks rank among the top 25 occupations in the nation — and the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent by 2020.
The need for accountants with professional specializations is on the rise. The demand for forensic accountants, for instance, has expanded with the fallout from high-profile financial scandals like Enron and Lehman Brothers. These accountants focus on disputes or litigation in civil or criminal law and often investigate corporate and securities fraud, insurance and personal injury claims and computer fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has adapted by adding forensic accountants to its roster of permanent positions.
Environmental or “green” accounting is also a growing field. With sustainability and environmental protection becoming more prominent objectives in today’s business world, green accountants will be employed to help leaders make more informed decisions.
There are varied educational paths for accountants, but most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree. Many professionals choose to earn a master’s degree and certification, such as becoming a Certified Public Accountant