Money, Money, Money! If you have the right skills for the job,
accounting can be a fulfilling and very profitable career option. Since
the 1980s the business sector has become increasingly complex and
competitive. These days, more and more companies are concentrating on
the bottom line, turning accounting into a real growth industry.
Accountants and auditors prepare and analyze financial information
for governments, businesses, and other organizations. In the corporate
realm, 90percent of all CEO's have a background in accounting. There are
three main job areas: public accounting, management and government
accounting, and internal auditing.
For years accounting was considered by many to be merely a dull task
of number crunching, but computer software programs have helped relieve
some of that tedious load, thereby allowing accountants to become more
creative and influential in business practices. In fact, accountants and
financial officers have become so important to a firm's survival and
financial health that many times they take a leading role in corporate
Generally own their own firms or work in private partnerships.
Often involved in more than just tax returns.
Play an important part in international trade agreements, mergers, acquisitions, valuation and appraisals.
Management and Government Accountants
Comprise a large majority of workforce.
Work within an organization preparing and tracking financial information for their employers.
Analyze and report on corporate financial information systems.
May include Electronic Data Processing auditors and others with backgrounds in finance or information processing.
Certified Public Accountants (CPA's)
Account for more than 40 percent of the one million accountants and auditors.
Audit or examine a client's financial records.
Increasingly involved in management-advisory roles.
Act as consultants and offer advice to businesses on ways to improve daily operations and become more cost-effective.
Certified Management Accountants (CMA's)
A specific certification for accountants who want to work primarily for corporations.
May specialize in taxation, budgeting, costs, investments, or internal auditing.
Often solitary work
Computer use likely
Can expect overtime and long hours, especially during tax time.
More than 300,000 new jobs in accounting and auditing expected by the year 2005.
Faster than average growth over the next ten years.
Increasing opportunities for women and minorities (57 percent of the newly employed recruits were women).
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AIPCA) has
targeted efforts to increase minority participation in the profession.
Salary as well as status and responsibility, increases with time.
Salary ranges widely depending on location, job description and experience.
Starting salary for accounting graduates is approximately $28,000 plus overtime.
Salary for experienced accountants in major firms: $30,000-$40,000
Salary for managers: $40,000-$80,000
At partner level, CPA's can expect to make $100,000-$200,000
Active pursuit of CPA designation (a series of tests administered by
the state) which includes at least two years experience in public
MBA and a master's degree in taxation strongly suggested.
Deregulation of the industry has resulted in a great deal of turmoil since the mid 1980s. Many banks went through aperiod of crisis. The effects of recessions, mergers, bad loans, defaulting of loans and the S & L crisis hit the industry hard. By the end of the century, the number of bank jobs may drop by 250,000 from the current 1.49 million. Half of those cuts will involve tellers and administrators, while the other half will include specific types of technicians and managers. However, if you are interested in banking and possess the right skills, you can still become successfully employed. Banking will always be a huge industry, and entry level jobs in particular have rapid turnover rates as workers retire or transfer to other jobs. Moreover, new opportunities in certain areas which are expected to grow substantially include; computers, mathematical and operations research, all areas in which the government projects a growth of 63 percent by the year 2005.
Generally, a college degree is not mandatory at the entry level, but even a liberal arts degree gives you an edge for employment and can also get you enrolled in a bank's officer development trainee program that can almost match a financial MBA. These great, free training programs can place you on a direct career path into management after about a year of intensive on-the-job and classroom training.
In today's competitive job market, banks are looking for more aggressive sales and marketing-oriented people, particularly people with well-developed customer service skills. Banks realize that they will remain competitive by expanding their range of consumer services. They are also beginning to concentrate on niche markets like retail mortgage lending, securities trading and mutual funds. Today, banks have to compete with big corporations and other non-bank financial service firms in the traditional banking areas of the credit-card market, check writing, loans, and payment processing. So although the banking industry is streamlining by merging, automating and cutting back jobs, realize that the industry is in flux, successfully adapting to changes, and will continue to survive and prosper in the future.
Take deposits, cash checks, accept loan payments, update accounts, sell travelers checks and money orders.
Should have previous experience in sales, cash handling and dealing with the public.
Need basic computer skills and the ability to use keyboard as well as 10 by touch adding machine also required.
Being detail-oriented and having math or accounting background a plus.
Customer Service Representatives
Represent the bank to the public; good communication and customer service skills required.
Handle inquiries of all kinds, act on customer requests, field complaints, provide information on prices and services. Increasingly market additional bank services.
New Accounts Person
Sign up customers for checking, savings accounts and related bank services.
Next position after teller and before higher-level assistant loan or operations officer.
Bank and Loan Officers
Decide to whom bank lends money. Promote and manage financial services. Can become Vice President or Branch Manager after 8- 10 years on the job.
Either small branch or large corporate office environment
Some computer, and 10 key adding machine skills necessary
Salesmanship and marketing skills increasingly necessary
Fair and in flux due to merging of large banks, automation and job layoffs.
Huge growth in computer, mathematical and operations research specialists.
Increased opportunities in mortgage banking and personal credit.
Good outlook for sales and marketing specialists, especially with brokerage and mutual fund sales expertise.
Best area of non-technical specialties; financial managers, loan officers
Branch level may have more openings than large corporate headquarters.
Trend is toward using part-time tellers at $7.50 hr. rather than full-time at $950-$1250 a month.
New Accounts Person: $1,000-$1,800 per month
Assistant Loan Officer: $2,000-$3,000 per month
Operations Specialist: $1,200-$1,800 per month
Loan Officer: $2,400-$3,600 per month
Branch Manager: $3,500-$5,000 per month
College degree is helpful, but not mandatory.
Vocational training offered by some private schools.
Free officer development trainee programs available from some employers.
Need good communication skills, salesmanship and college degree to advance.
Return to the Finance and Accounting Careers menu.
FINANCIAL PLANNERS AND BUSINESS MANGERS
A financial planner is a personal investment adviser who generally works one-on-one with people who feel more comfortable when someone else helps manage their cash; whether it be in the millions or the hundreds. Financial planners assist their clients in setting financial goals. They assess the clients' willingness to take risks with their money and suggest investments which will help them achieve the goals they've set.
Business managers perform much of the same duties as financial planners. They combine financial planning skills and expertise with the day-to-day management of one's professional, and often personal affairs. In addition to providing retirement and investment advice and handling all tax matters, business managers allocate cash and establish and maintain living expense budgets. In short, they take charge of the client's financial dealings.
In today's complex and uncertain economic environment more people are becoming aware of the need for qualified professional guidance in planning their taxes, financial portfolio or retirement fund. The increasing array of investment products, tax laws and financial commitments makes it increasingly necessary to manage money well. Increasingly, these type of financial services are being offered by banks, credit unions, and other institutions. Even securities and commodities firms are realizing the business potential of serving their clients full financial needs, including insurance, tax, business, retirement and estate planning, in addition to the usual investment strategies.
Provide security and guidance for people who choose to make the most of their money. Demand is on the rise as baby boomers age and more people recognize the need for this type of specialized service. Sell their clients on their capabilities and the worth of the financial services they offer. Counsel clients on planning investment strategies. Have a thorough understanding of how these strategies and services work, the risks involved, and the ability to communicate this knowledge to their clients. Must be able to inspire trust and a sense of confidence in their clients. Create plans that reflect their clients' specific income, assets, personality and emotions.
Must be trustworthy, intuitive, thorough, and sensitive to their client's needs. Handle day-to-day management of client's professional and/or personal affairs. Must be aware of both minute detail and the "big picture." Sometimes act as financial "watchdogs" for undisciplined clients.
Office environment or self-employed
High level of responsibility
Work closely with clients
Faster than average growth. Projected increase in demand as affluent baby boomers age and need more financial services and counseling. Financial services are being offered by a more diverse range of institutions, such as credit card companies, credit unions, banks, securities firms, etc.
Varies according to location, services and client's income. May earn a commission on sales and also receive a fee for their services, specifically financial planners representing and "selling" financial products (stocks, insurance, etc.). Advisors who don't sell products might charge an hourly rate of about $100, and/or receive a commission calculated from the client's net worth. May charge a flat fee for extensive counseling ranging from $500-$10,000 plus. May charge a combination of flat fee and commission. Business managers for celebrities or wealthy clients may earn up to 10 percent of the client's annual income. Median annual salary for self-employed financial planner or manager was approximately $36,500 in 1994. Professionals working for large financial consulting firms may reach salaries of $150,000 and up.
College degree in business education, accounting or economics suggested.
CPA designation can be helpful.
MBA preferable for employment in large banks or other institutions .
Specialized work in accounting, investment, insurance, law, and finance.
Specialized programs in financial planning available at some schools.
Must be aware of latest financial developments, investment opportunities and tax laws.
Management is a broad, general term which applies to a multitude of specific job opportunities in a very wide range of fields in both the public and private sectors. Because every type of organization needs some kind of management, specializations have evolved. These job opportunities are available in businesses, financial institutions, manufacturing, chain and retail stores, government, hospitals, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations, just to name a few. Yet although the fields of employment may be diverse, and actual responsibilities differ from job to job, all managers need certain types of skills to organize their resources and get the job done as efficiently as possible.
Managers are responsible for supervising people and projects. The manager is also a team leader, so he/she must have strong people skills. They must be able to succesfully foster cooperation and a sense of motivation among employees. Ideally, managers should have a broad base of knowledge and experience in their chosen profession as well as specific technical skills if necessary. Some degree of computer literacy is also essential. In order move successfully into the next century, businesses and organizations need to be aware of the new management trends that are developing . In the 21st century, successful managers should be able to see the "big picture" and able to use it to best advantage, which means they must know how the company operates at every level.
In the 1990s, management has become a more competitive and active career than during the previous decades. It's not just pushing papers around on a desk. In many fields, management reorganization has increased efficiency by downsizing. At the corporate level, companies have trimmed the fat by cutting back layers of middle management teams, but of course, this means massive job cutbacks. In the past ten years over one million management jobs were cut in corporate America. But the cutbacks seem to have leveled off now. The Bureau of Labor predicts that there will actually be strong employment growth (between 20-50 percent) for managers in general: at least until 2005. But you must be very well qualified to compete in this new job market. In addition to the specific expertise and technical skills which may be required for a particular job, you also need to be more versatile, creative, and quality conscious.
Here is a list of some of the best bets for management opportunities, and a general idea of median salary levels for top executives at small to mid-size companies.
General Managers: median salary $40,000
Corporate Managers: variable
Management Consultants: median salary $40,000
Marketing Managers: $90,000 at executive level
Hotel: Assistant Manager from $32,000-53,000, General Manager from $45,000-$100,000
Golf/Country Club Management: from $60,000 to $170,000
Retail : variable
Manufacturing: $71,000 at executive level
Property Management: variable
Human Resources: $55,000-$200,000 plus for executives, average salary for recruiters $38,000, $25,000 at mid level
Health Care: variable
Computer: $56,000 for data -processing managers
Sales Executives: $75,000
Should be able to supervise and work with others as a team.
Computer use likely.
Motivational, leadership, organizational, and human resource skills necessary.
Ability to communicate effectively.
Increased hiring trend for recent college graduates.
Estimated growth of 20% to 50% until 2005.
Best for engineers and health-care professionals with technical and managerial skills.
Good in areas pertaining to manufacturing, production and international concerns.
Better opportunities at smaller corporations.
Large corporations experiencing downsizing trend at middle management level.
Trend to "out-sourcing" (hiring outside, independent managers from existing job market).
Service sector employment levels unstable.
Middle management survivors report a 4.2% increase in wages last year. Highest rise in retail and wholesale trade sectors. Improvements for accounts managers, compensation and benefits, labor, government affairs, international sales. and planning managers. Depends upon specific field, position, location, experience, education, etc.
Some companies provide executive training programs which generally last from 6 months to one year. Degree not always necessary, but experience, outside activities, organizational abilities, communication, and leadership skills are important. A.A. degree or certificate from technical school or community college expected for managers working in the trades ( in addition to specific job experience or apprenticeship). Four-year degree sufficient for most middle management jobs. MBA degree is virtually essential for experienced professionals aspiring to senior executive rank at many large corporate organizations. Some MBA schools are specializing in specific fields to make graduates more competitive in the MBA flooded job market. Computer competence increasingly necessary.
The wildly optimistic bull market of Wall St. in the 1980's is over. In those days, people involved in playing the market made money hand over fist by finding new ways to beat the system: using junk bonds, creating waves of mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts of major companies. Large institutional and small private investors poured huge sums of money into stocks, bonds and other securities. This enabled many stockbrokers to earn astronomical commissions, salaries and bonuses at least until October of 1987 when the stock market took its first big plunge. In the next couple of years about 1/5 of the workforce was laid off, and the big money became much harder to come by.
Things have improved a bit since the darkest days, but remember that these kinds of jobs are highly dependent on the state of the economy at the moment. Generally however, it is now expected that there will be a trend to more money being invested in the financial service industry as baby boomers age and put more money away for retirement. So, it's expected that this should create an increased demand for financial services and advisors.
Also, as the world's economy becomes truly global, the International market continues to expand. Telecommunications advances like the Information Superhighway, will combine with declining regulatory barriers to increase the flow of investments across international borders. In 1994, Morgan Stanley announced plans to move into Mexico and Moscow. This type of expansion should be a boon to bilingual stockbrokers and other financial service representatives.
Securities Sales Representatives/Stockbrokers
Buy or sell financial products such as stocks, bonds, annuities, or shares in mutual funds.
Must be assertive, quick and decisive regarding other people's money.
Often act as financial counselors and advisors, helping to develop a client's financial portfolio (including life insurance, CD's, annuities, etc.)
Must be knowledgeable about investment options, and sensitive to individual client needs and resources.
Depend on a solid client base of business and social contacts.
Office work, mainly sales oriented, conducted by telephone.
Not 9-5; lunch, dinner and social events often involve business contacts.
Fast paced, highly stressful and competitive.
Larger firms employ armies of brokers, though smaller firms also exist.
Expected to grow faster than average for any occupation through 2005.
In 1990, there were 191,000 jobs for security sales representatives.
There are over 8,000 firms and 23,000 branch offices nationwide.
Employment levels entirely dependent on the economy.
Better opportunities now for mature (35 yr. old) individuals with sales experience and good business contacts.
Inexperienced sales representatives may have better chance of employment in a smaller firm.
Depends on sales experience, client base, and current economy.
Most trainees are paid a salary to begin, ranging from $1,200-$1,500 a month.
After meeting licensing and registration requirements and achieving certain commission levels, earnings are paid on commission from sales.
Average annual earning for beginning sales reps. is $35,000.
After a few years experience the annual average increases to $90,000.
Top sales reps. for institutional accounts (banks, businesses, etc.) can earn well over $200,000 a year.
College education especially majors in Business Administration, Economics and Finance.
Sales experience working on commission.
Intensive on-the-job training program often sponsored by the firm.
Some courses are offered by business schools or correspondence courses.
At least one exam( General Securities Registered Representative Examination, and some states require the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination as part of the licensing requirements.
Ongoing training during career through seminars, publications and other means.