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HESBURGH LIBRARIES  >  Library Guides

Career Resources — Accounting

Industry Overview

Accounting is the creation, management, analysis, and reporting of financial information to stakeholders. Accounting can involve direct oversight of annual reports and quarterly financial statements, or the creation of recordkeeping controls within companies. The industry is heavily regulated by the federal and state governments and almost always requires specific education and technical knowledge.  Many accountants are employed by the Big Four, which are defined as the four largest public accounting/professional services firms –  Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC.  Accountants, however, don’t work just for the Big Four. They work for public accounting firms of all sizes. Many others work in corporate accounting (from Fortune 500 companies to “mom-and-pop” shops), in government accounting, and for nonprofit organizations.

Vault

Wetfeet
 

Provide in-depth intelligence on what it's really like to work in an industry, company or profession—and how to position yourself for success. What you can find:

  • What is accounting? What do accountants do?
  • The structure of the accounting industry
  • The outlook
  • A day in the life
  • Professional associations
O*NET

The nation's primary source of occupational information. Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks.  Key skills and abilities for accountants:

  • Active listening; speaking
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Oral and Written Expression

Further Education

A bachelor’s degree with a major in accountancy is required to enter into accounting. To do audit and tax work, a CPA certification is almost always required. States require students to have a specified number of college credits in order to be eligible for the CPA exam. If students do not reach this credit requirement by the end of their undergraduate education, many advance to graduate school to obtain their Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA).