Accounting graduates are prepared for careers in public, managerial and governmental or not-for-profit accounting.

Public accounting firms (CPA firms) offer professional accounting and related services for a fee to clients such as corporations, partnerships, organizations, governmental entities and individuals. These services tend to fall into three broad categories: external auditing, tax services and management advisory (consulting) services.

  • External Auditing: Users of financial information, such as bankers and investors (the external users), are more confident about the fairness of a company’s financial statements when a team of independent auditors from a CPA firm have performed a detailed examination of a company’s accounting records.
  • Tax Services: Accountants also provide expert advice on tax planning to both individual and business clients. The objective of tax planning is to consider the effect that taxes have on various business decisions. Also, accountants prepare federal, state and local tax returns.
  • Consulting Services: Management advisory services comprise the fastest growing area for many accounting firms. Some of the services offered to clients include financial planning, accounting systems design, inventory control, budgeting, personnel administration and internal auditing.

In contrast to public accountants who work in firms that provide services for many different clients, management accountants are employees of and provide accounting services for a single company or organization. Careers in management accounting can be both very challenging and financially rewarding. Management accountants may specialize in internal auditing, cost accounting, budgeting, information systems design, financial accounting and taxation.

Another career option for professional accountants is with governmental entities such as federal, state and city governments; or other not-for-profit organizations such as churches, hospitals, charities and schools. While governmental or not-for-profit accountants often work in a regulatory environment, frequently their job duties relate to the management of the receipt and disbursement of funds.