Accounting Trade School Programs

Accountants ensure the financial stability of companies and clients. They take on great responsibility, looking after funds to prevent mismanagement and set up retirement and investment options. Some of their most important duties include compiling budget reports and computing tax obligations.

Education & Training

Trade Schools with Accounting Programs

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What Do You Learn During Accounting Training?

In accounting school, recruits learn to record the spending of money for people and corporations. This skill requires attention to detail and an ability to focus on tedious work for long periods.

Associates must compile accurate fiscal statements and search for any discrepancies.

Accountants write reports on a company’s bottom line. Workers inspect a group’s financial operations in search of new ways to enhance profit.

Salary

Below are annual salaries and wages for each state.

Area Name Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Alabama $35.83 $74,520.00
Alaska $39.34 $81,820.00
Arizona $39.49 $82,130.00
Arkansas $33.97 $70,660.00
California $46.25 $96,210.00
Colorado $42.00 $87,360.00
Connecticut $42.13 $87,620.00
Delaware $40.69 $84,620.00
District of Columbia $53.24 $110,750.00
Florida $38.56 $80,200.00
Georgia $41.45 $86,220.00
Guam $23.01 $47,860.00
Hawaii $35.00 $72,790.00
Idaho $34.20 $71,130.00
Illinois $40.39 $84,010.00
Indiana $36.94 $76,840.00
Iowa $34.68 $72,130.00
Kansas $36.09 $75,070.00
Kentucky $35.27 $73,360.00
Louisiana $34.03 $70,780.00
Maine $37.34 $77,660.00
Maryland $42.52 $88,440.00
Massachusetts $46.07 $95,830.00
Michigan $38.38 $79,830.00
Minnesota $40.12 $83,450.00
Mississippi $32.71 $68,040.00
Missouri $37.06 $77,070.00
Montana $35.49 $73,810.00
Nebraska $35.73 $74,320.00
Nevada $33.16 $68,980.00
New Hampshire $39.09 $81,310.00
New Jersey $49.06 $102,040.00
New Mexico $34.59 $71,940.00
New York $53.04 $110,320.00
North Carolina $41.21 $85,710.00
North Dakota $33.47 $69,620.00
Ohio $37.38 $77,760.00
Oklahoma $37.32 $77,620.00
Oregon $38.62 $80,330.00
Pennsylvania $37.87 $78,780.00
Puerto Rico $20.03 $41,650.00
Rhode Island $45.45 $94,530.00
South Carolina $35.01 $72,820.00
South Dakota $35.09 $72,990.00
Tennessee $35.27 $73,360.00
Texas $41.97 $87,300.00
Utah $37.14 $77,260.00
Vermont $39.32 $81,790.00
Virgin Islands $27.35 $56,880.00
Virginia $42.88 $89,180.00
Washington $43.53 $90,530.00
West Virginia $34.37 $71,490.00
Wisconsin $37.26 $77,500.00
Wyoming $35.58 $74,000.00

Occupation:Accountants and Auditors (SOC Code132011)
source: data.bls.gov

Career Overview

Requirements for Accounting Jobs

Prospects must complete about six years of accounting classes to earn the required bachelor’s degree. Some companies will only consider recruits who hold master’s degrees in accounting.

Employment potential increases when a prospect seeks certification in a specific field. To become a CPA, it takes 150 hours of college curriculum to qualify for a shot at the state licensing test. Hopefuls can focus other branches such as internal auditing for the fields of healthcare, education, and medicine.

To increase the credentials of their workers, some employers will cover the fees required to take certification exams. In some cases, colleges provide students with job internships at established firms or with public accounting groups.

What Do Accountants Do?

In general, accountants prepare, examine, and ensure the accuracy of financial statements. They prevent bookkeeping mistakes that can lead to legal issues. A big part of their job is confirming a client’s compliance with fiscal regulations and laws.

Accountants help companies and private clients pay taxes in a correct and timely fashion. They come up with cost-cutting measures, and decipher financial records to give sound monetary advice. In many cases they audit financial operations to find areas in need of improvement.

These workers consult on the best ways to record budgetary information. To do this, they compile financial data into detailed reports and present them to policymakers. Other accounting requirements include balancing books and assembling spreadsheets or graphs.

Wherever there is commerce or money being exchanged, accountants work behind the scenes to ensure stability. Prospects can specialize in many areas of the field, including:

  • Income statement preparation
  • Balance sheet reporting
  • Tax consulting
  • Employee benefits
  • Corporate statement preparation

What Are Accounting Duties?

Accountants optimize financial efficiency within an organization and for clients. They audit ledgers and scrutinize accounting systems for effectiveness. Workers also organize tax returns to determine how much money is owed or amount of return from the IRS. To prevent legal action against clients, clerks make sure levies are paid in a timely fashion.

Accountants examine fiscal records to check for errors. They record spending habits within ledgers and make financial recommendations based on the data. This insight may also give them ideas for cost-cutting measures or ways to increase revenue.

In most cases, accountants must explain their financial decisions to clients or management. This takes place via meetings, video conferences, or phone calls. Workers may also need to write reports detailing their decisions.

Another important duty is to check the accuracy of statements compiled by others. Associates might inspect financial records for evidence of dishonest practices. Accounting classes teach students how to spot clerical mistakes or patterns that may indicate fraud.

What Is a Certified Public Accountant?

Certified public accountants, or CPAs, review and write documents that clients use to update investors. Publicly traded businesses need CPAs to sign annual and quarterly reports before submittal to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The majority of states require CPAs to graduate college with a minimum of 150 credit hours. These workers must earn a bachelor’s business or accounting degree, along with a master’s accounting certificate.

Certified public accountants often find work with firms or small businesses. Some of them even own a company themselves. While the job requires additional schooling, CPAs make up to 15 percent more than standard accountants. This is because CPAs have exclusive power to write audited income statements and balance sheets.

Certified public accountants work for a wide range of clients, from private citizens to major companies. They take on several duties relating to:

  • Auditing and budgeting
  • Taxation
  • Consulting
  • Financial summary creation

What’s the Work Environment Like?

About 20 percent of associates put in over 40 hours per week, especially during tax season or at the end of a budget year. This is why clerks may work in groups with auditors and accounting colleagues, although they often work alone. Sometimes accountants must attend company events in other cities.

Depending on the firm, workers may need to go out of town to attend seminars or briefings. While many meetings take place over conference or video calls, sensitive matters might require face-to-face discussions.

In general, auditors travel more than accountants.

Staff members keep their workspaces organized and free of clutter. They use filing cabinets and desktop dividers to avoid losing important documents.

Some utilize folders or binders to keep track of the many papers that contain client’s financial information.

Workspaces contain various accounting equipment such as laptops, calculators, and notepads. Some workers utilize two or three monitors to maximize workflow.

Other commonly used accounting tools include:

  • Scanners and printers
  • Fax and copy machines
  • Phone systems
  • Writing utensils and sticky notes
  • Accounting apps such as QuickBooks or Xero
  • Resource planning software

What Are Useful Skills for People in This Field?

  • A deep understanding of financial terminology
  • An orderly way of working to prevent mix-ups
  • A strong ability to follow directions
  • Communication talents for listening to concerns and discussing reports
  • Knowledge of financial law
  • Math skills for calculating money
  • Analytical abilities to find errors within financial documents
  • Detail-oriented mindset when compiling critical reports

Where Do They Work?

Anywhere money is found, accountants work to diligently record spending habits. This gives job seekers opportunities in nearly every sector of the U.S. economy. Some of these industries include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Insurance
  • Medical
  • Finance
  • Tax preparation
  • Payroll services
  • Government

Can You Work Remotely?

Many bookkeepers and accountants are self-employed, giving them the opportunity to work from home. Associates with five or more years’ experience may even get the chance to work remotely for established accounting firms. These roles are perfect for single parents or those providing local care for loved ones.

Lots of work-at-home gigs in the accounting industry begin in an office. Once an associate proves their worth to an employer, they gain the trust necessary to do jobs remotely. Clerks who choose this path must be reliable, self-motivated, and easy to contact at all times.

What Are Alternate Careers or Roles for Accountants?

Workers with advanced accounting skills can acquire roles in other areas of the field. Management accountants recognize financial trends and advise clients on making wise use of their funds. Similarly, internal auditors focus on improving a company’s operations and spending habits by accessing risks and reviewing options.

Another engaging role is that of a financial manager. These workers supervise accountants and auditors, preparing financial statements or forecasts as necessary. They are responsible for the monetary well-being of a company, making sure that all legal requirements are met.

Some successful accountants move on to create their own firms, specialized towards a certain area of interest. Others may choose to study forensic accounting, which combines the fields of finance and law. This career involves cases dealing with the following subjects:

  • Bankruptcies
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Suspicious transactions
  • Contract disputes

What’s the Difference Between Accountants and Auditors?

Auditors check the work of accountants. While businesses that release public financial statements must hire accountants, auditors are usually optional.

Interview with an Accounting Graduate

An interview with Jennifer Miranda, a graduate of an Associates in Accounting program offered by University of Phoenix – Austin.

Q: What program did you attend?

A: An Associates degree program in Accounting at the University of Phoenix. The program was based out of Austin, but I took the classes online.

Q:  How long was the program?

A: On average it runs 2 years. I took a year off in between so it took me 3 years.

Q:  Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

A: It was considered full time. You only take two classes, but because of the workload it is full time. Each class goes for nine weeks.

Q:  Were you happy with the training that you received?

A: I would have to say it was intermediate. I had some classes I received excellent training in, but then there were some classes that I did not feel like I learned anything. In those, everything was like grade school; the answers were there in front of me.  My core classes I virtually taught myself by going out and buying different books and learning the techniques through those.

Q:  What was the most difficult part of the program for you?

A: Really the whole interaction with the staff. My counselors were awesome and sometimes I felt bad for them because I would take out a lot on them. They were always very motivated, it just felt like a lot of times they had their hands tied.

Sometimes I couldn’t get a hold of my instructors online. I had one teacher flag me for plagiarism, but what had happened is that somebody else had posted the assignment a year prior, and the assignment required specific headings, so when you use those headings that she required those still pop up as plagiarized sections because they’re on the internet. I tried for three weeks to get a hold of her to talk about it.

Q:  About how many other students were in your classes?

A: On average there are 20-25 people in the classes, but you really only interact on the forums with about 8 that really take it serious.

Q:  What is your current career?

A: Right now I’m working part time at PetSmart.  I went on an accounting interview but was not selected.  There’s a lot that I still don’t know.  The program didn’t require any internship or externship. I wish it had. An Associates is not much in the work place these days. They often want you to have a Bachelors or 5 to 7 years experience.

Q:  What was the most important class/lesson from the program?

A: I learned about diversity and cultures and religions, that helped me understand different people. Also I learned a lot in leadership and management, things that make it easier for me to follow through and of course science courses I learned a lot in because I love science.

Q:  How much did it cost for you to complete the program?

A: $22,000. So far that’s what I’ve added up, they used more than one lender, so I’m not sure.

Q:  Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships?  Which ones?  Were these easy to obtain?

A: They helped with Pell grant money, not scholarships, I did try on my own but it never came my way. The only downfall is I didn’t get as much as I thought I would. I don’t know if my counselor didn’t know how much I was eligible because  they included my husband’s income, so I don’t know.

Q:  Were any of your classes online?

A: Yes my whole program was online, I did love that part.

Q:  Did you consider other programs?

A: Yes. First I wanted to do business management. When I went in they asked me if I was a number cruncher, things like that. I am good at things like that, so they talked me into going into accounting.

Q:  Did you consider other schools?

A: When I went back after taking a year off, I originally wanted to switch schools but I kept thinking I should just stick it out, plus I still owed money to the University of Phoenix.

Q:  Would you recommend this school to someone else? Why or why not?

A: I would for those who want the online convenience, I was able to log in at my own leisure and stay logged on however long I could, I loved that about it. The only thing I would say is before they get enrolled, be sure of what you want to go for. It’s very hard to transition. It’s not like a typical college where you can change your major five times. But if someone is dedicated it’s a good school.

Q:  For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job?  If so, what are they and what do they entail, and did you get them by the time you graduated?

A: The CPA, certified public accountant.  I still need to go take that test, but I’m dreading it.

Q:  Any other advice?

A: Just do your research and find the school that’s going to fit you, and that’s more geared to what you want, if it’s business geared, don’t go there if your going to be a teacher. Look at what schools that are good for that. Just because they offer a program doesn’t mean it’s good. Look at the classes you take and really ask if you’re going to use that in your career. I didn’t do my research, but I intend to do my research next time for my Bachelors to know where I want to go.

Related Resources

Becoming an Accountant in Florida
Becoming an Accountant in Texas
Becoming an Accounting Clerk in California