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Do I Need a Degree to Become an Accountant?

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Job stability and flexibility may have piqued your interest in an accounting career. If you want to transition to accounting from a completely different field, going back to school for a four-year degree is probably not appealing or even realistic. While certain accounting jobs may require a related bachelor's degree or passing the CPA exam, there are many options that don't require a traditional degree. Professional certificates, like those offered by the Tulane School of Professional Advancement, can help you jumpstart your accounting career without completing an advanced degree.

Entry-Level Accounting Careers

Most entry-level positions don't require a bachelor's degree in accounting. Depending on the job responsibilities, employers may require an accounting professional certification, hands-on experience, or an associate's degree. Get your foot in the door in one of the following roles:

- Bookkeeper. You'd be responsible for a business's day-to-day financial records and providing its most recent financial information. Your duties could extend to preparing annual financial reports and tax returns, but your main responsibilities include data entry, confirming bank statements, and preparing monthly financial reports. You may even be involved in financial strategy and business decisions.

- Accounting clerk. Your duties as an accounting clerk would fall in the first part of a business's accounting cycle. Accounting clerks help classify, compute, and record financial data to complete and verify accurate financial records. Hone in your interests and specialize in bookkeeping, tax preparation, payroll, or another area.

- Auditing clerk. As an auditing clerk, you’d verify a business’s financial statements and records and check accounting records for accuracy while correcting errors. Your main responsibility is to make sure a company's financial records are accurate and comply with company policies and the law.

Basic Software and Skill Requirements

A high school diploma or GED is essential for any entry-level accounting job since you'll need basic computer and math skills. While a degree is not necessary, you can stand out among the competition with additional training, such as a course in spreadsheet writing, QuickBooks training (a commonly used accounting software), or a professional certificate in business studies.

Build a Foundation to Become an Accountant

While the above roles are similar to accountants, accountants focus on the bigger picture rather than daily financial tasks. It’s possible to move to an accounting position without a degree, but getting hands-on experience and showcasing industry knowledge is crucial to landing this role without a bachelor’s in accounting.

Prepare for your next career move with Tulane School of Professional Advancement. Our professional certificates in Applied Business Studies and Accounting Fundamentals can help you build a strong foundation in basic accounting responsibilities and business concepts, whether you're ready for a career change or looking to build on your current skillset. Request more info about our certificate programs today.

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