Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Careers for Accounting Majors: They're a Lot More Diverse than You Think Pt. 3

In the previous post, I discussed environmental accountants. In this segment, I'll be exploring the law and order-centric world of the forensic accountant.

Forensic Accountant

In addition to being one of the fastest-growing law enforcement professions, forensic accountancy is one of the more inherently interesting and satisfying branches of accounting. If you enjoy solving puzzles and a good mystery novel (and if you're also proficient with numbers), financial forensics might be the career for you.

Some of the most famous criminal cases in the United States have hinged upon the work of forensic accountancy. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping was solved by Treasury Department agent Frank Wilson; he recorded serial numbers from the ransom money and distributed those numbers in a booklet, ultimately leading to the discovery of the cash and the kidnapper. This same numbers-cruncher also helped to get Al Capone prosecuted and convicted for tax evasion.


Forensic accountants scrutinize financial, tax, and business records of individuals and organizations in order to uncover fraud or illegalities that may be pertinent to civil or criminal cases. Money laundering, tax evasion, and embezzlement all fall under the purview of the forensic accountant; occasionally, financially-motivated homicide prosecutions depend upon the work of the forensic accountant.


The level of education necessary for the forensic accountant will depend upon the agency (local, state, or federal). At minimum, the candidate will require a Bachelor's degree in accounting as well as the appropriate public accounting certification. The ideal prospect will also have had extensive coursework in criminal investigation.

Because giving expert court testimony is an essential part of a forensic accountant's duties, all forensic accountants must receive specialized training that will prepare them for court appearances, as well as techniques in financial investigation, and knowledge of state and federal laws. The ability to issue clear and effective written communications is also critical.


Salaries for forensic accountants average $65,940 per year.

In the next installment, I'll be discussing auditing.

Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to financial services and technology companies.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Careers for Accounting Majors: They're a Lot More Diverse than You Think Pt. 2

It may come as a surprise that there are accounting jobs that suit nearly every personality type and area of interest. If you have a strong social and/or environmental consciousness, consider environmental accounting.

Environmental Accountants

The strong social and governmental focus on sustainable environmental practices has led to a plethora of local, state, and federal regulations. Additionally, public opinion demands that every business conduct its practice with an eye towards ecological responsibility. The environmental accountant must balance conserving company resources and eliminating waste with ensuring a positive environmental impact.


The environmental accountant integrates conservation practices and principles into standard reporting, that includes cost/benefit analyses. He/She monitors all activity along the supply chain, including administrative and operational requirements (office supply usage, electricity, etc.). Environmental accountants must also have a keen understanding of the regulations that govern the environment in which the company operates, in particular those monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal oversight agency for all public and private business entities.

Since consumer interest regarding environmentally friendly practices is now at an all-time high, it is important to demonstrate a company’s commitment to maintaining a green work environment. So everything from green packaging and sustainable manufacturing to paperless offices come under the purview of the environmental accountant to ensure the most efficient and cost effective means of maintaining an ecologically responsible workplace.


Environmental accountants must possess a Bachelor's degree; acquiring a Certified Professional Environmental Auditor's credential is essential for career growth and maximizing earning potential.


The mean salary varies depending upon location. In New York, the mean salary is $85,000—in Texas, it is $68,000. Texas, New York, and California employ the highest number of environmental accountants.

In my next post, I'll discuss forensic accounting.

Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to financial services firms and technology companies.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Careers for Accounting Majors: They're a Lot More Diverse than You Think Pt. 1

If you're looking for a fascinating career that is also in-demand, consider accounting.

According to the United States Department of Labor, accounting professionals—including budget analysts, forensic accountants, senior accountants, auditors, and controllers—are projected to be increasingly in demand well into the next decade. Accountants and auditors in particular may grow approximately 11 % faster than all other occupations on average. It is estimated that the increasing complexity of tax laws, the robust health of the economy, and enhanced regulations within the financial sector are all contributing factors to this accounting boom.

So, what's so diverse about different levels of accounting? If you've never considered a career in accounting, you might be somewhat confused as to what makes, for example, an auditor different from a controller. Don't they all deal with numbers?

They do, in a macro sense. However, there are a great many variations across industries and sectors. In this series of posts, I'll be discussing different accounting professions, what sort of personalities might find them appealing, and what kinds of specific projects the professionals can expect. First, I'll start with…

Budget Analyst

Also called a financial analyst, a budget analyst monitors and organizes the finances for his or her organization. This includes working across departments to determine budgetary needs, drafting proposals for funding, making financial projections, and drawing up budgets for any special projects. This can be either in the public or private sector, as well as in nearly any industry (health care, tech, arts and entertainment, travel, food and beverage, etc.) 

People who enjoy and excel at cross-functional collaboration would thrive as budget analysts.
In the public sector, budget analysts require a comprehensive understanding of legislative measures and regional demographics in order to effectively map out budgetary requirements and projections. People who are passionate about social issues and who would like to have a positive affect on the community are exceptionally suited to careers as public sector budget analysts. 

Salaries for local government budget analysts (with Master's degrees) begin at approximately $44,000. The average salary for federal government budget analysts is $71,220.

In the private sector, the possibilities are limitless. For example, a budget analyst working for a major network or film studio would not only perform organizational budget proposals, funding requests, and financial analysis, but also work closely with production teams for various projects. 

The average salary for budget analysts in the arts and entertainment industry is $92,370.

In my next post, I'll discuss environmental accountants!

Author Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant, and currently consulting with financial services and technology companies.