10 Great Specializations for Accounting Majors

Accounting jobs come in all flavors and forms. These career specializations are excellent ways to access niche job markets, gain exclusive positions and obtain higher paying promotions. The majority of these accounting major specializations are available at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels.

1. Credit Analysis Manager

Credit analysis managers plan and conduct reviews of assigned accounts with respect to credit papers, financial analysis, risk assessments and proactive monitoring. They are responsible for ratio analysis, security evaluation, collateral checks, support policies, strategy evaluation and management judgment. Credit analysis managers must understand the risks associated with individual transactions, group products, organizational borrowers and industry parties. They conduct annual credit reviews of assigned accounts to ensure that client requests are processed and successfully approved. Credit analysis managers ensure compliance with internal, portfolio and regulatory credit policies.

2. Cost Accountant

Cost accountants handle key AP, GL, billing, inventory and tax compliance operations. They provide management of daily, weekly and monthly reporting processes. They measure system performance, create corrective actions when required and use financial models to perform analysis. For example, they may gather data to support capital investments, improvement projects, internal controls and financial infrastructure. Cost accountants evaluate and implement new ways to improve operational efficiencies within departmental functions. They incorporate business input to forecast accounting results every month. They may assist in the coordination and development of annual budgets and financial plans.

3. Treasury Analyst

Treasury analysts use their working knowledge of risk management techniques and strategies to manage currency hazards. These could include cash flow, balance sheet and net investment hedging in dynamic portfolios. They use conceptual theories and risk management contexts to perform macro- and micro-economic research and analysis. They may identify currency exposures, develop appropriate hedge strategies and predict optimal results. Treasury analysts must have effective communication, presentation and interpersonal abilities. Their high levels of integrity and initiative will help them consistently produce quality results. They proactively monitor credit risks in order to escalate newly identified issues.

4. Tax Accountant

Tax accountants collaborate with internal clients and external parties to monitor and review tax compliance activities. They ensure timely and accurate filing of corporate income, franchise reports, international memos and sales, property, and corporate tax reports. They may assist with internal audits in preparation of data requests from tax authorities and external audits. Tax accountants conduct tax research on various federal, state, county and local tax issues. They may monitor various tax calendars to ensure all due dates and requirements are met in a timely manner. Tax accountants test deferred tax balances and reconcile tax filings to the tax provision.

5. Auditor

Auditors often work for corporations, financial firms and government agencies. They may conduct state and federal audits of investment companies, or they may audit franchises to ensure compliance with contractual agreements. Auditors may use information technology forensics to investigate questionable accounting methods, transactions and internal controls. They may conduct audit engagements of Securities and Exchange Commission registrants. Auditors usually have exposure to diverse industries, Federal standards and leading audit technology tools. They must identify and communicate accounting vulnerabilities and auditing issues to senior managers and partners.

6. Cost Estimator

Cost estimators develop various cost analysis models, products and projects for assigned accounts and programs. They possess the experience and technical capability to plan, organize, complete and present life cycle cost estimates to management. Cost estimators may analyze historical data, use regression analysis and develop cost estimating relationships. Some cost estimators interview functional staff to understand and estimate technical goals, standards and baseline developments. Cost estimators may analyze money distributions, cost driver variables and program schedules to quantify risks and uncertainty. Most cost estimators use complex spreadsheets to create cost models and decision analysis tools.

7. Budget Analyst

Budget analysts provide financial management with insight and oversight of accounts and portfolios. They help manage proposal reviews, budget approvals, submission processes and compliance processes. They may provide advice to program leads on management of federal awards, grants and requirements. Budget analysts provide customer service to internal customers, directly supervise team members and implement efforts to make business processes more cost-effective. Budget analysts usually have extensive experience working with federal funding, managing complex portfolios and handling government funding proposals. They should have advanced knowledge of budget analysis, control and development.

8. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants review and analyze historical reports, financial statements, accounting records, expense projections and industry information. They conduct research to gather information, analyze accounting data and reconstruct financial and accounting records. Their search for fraudulent actions, transactions and processes. They may trace funds, assets and cash flows by compiling and analyzing facts and circumstances. Then, they may formulate, substantiate and critique various claims or conclusions. Forensic accountants conduct in-depth analysis of financial data, respond to informational requests and make policy recommendations on special projects. They may examine financial aspects with investigative case agents.

9. International Accountant

International accountants participate in the integration of domestic and global accounting functions. They perform general ledger and month-end closing duties for assigned international entities. They may prepare journal entries, financial reports and balance sheet reconciliations for assigned accounts. International accountants research and resolve issues through working with other departments. They may research and resolve inter-company discrepancies, such as foreign exchange rate issues and post-merger accounting system problems. They perform detailed analysis of accounts in order to interpret results and present them to management.

10. Risk and Compliance Professionals

Risk and compliance professionals work with external regulators, internal audit teams and executive management for coordinating, supporting and tracking operations. They participate in the attestation process with IT auditors and forensic accountants to ensure policy and standard exceptions are documented as appropriately handled. Risk and compliance professionals are responsible for assessing past, current and future threat landscapes. They provide leadership with realistic overviews of threats from a risk and compliance perspective. They may be responsible for change management processes by ensuring all problems are recorded, categorized, prioritized and reviewed in a controlled manner.

Related Resource: 10 Highest-Paying Careers in Business

The above mentioned ten great specializations for accounting majors are only open to job candidates with the right training and education. The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree and industry certification, such as the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant designations, according to the Institute of Management Accountants.