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A is for Accountant

What Exactly Do Accountants Do?

Accounting is not so much math as understanding the concept of “debit and credit”. According to Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), accountants examine, analyze, and interpret accounting records to prepare financial statements, give advice, or audit and evaluate statements prepared by others. They also install or advise on systems of recording costs or other financial and budgetary data, analyze financial information, and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.


Types of Accountants

Jobs

Functions

Degree Required

Bookkeeper

•post the transactions and reconcile the accounts of the business
•Accounts Receivable/Payable

High School
(Entry Level Position)

Controller

•financial statement preparation and analysis
•budgeting and planning, cost control
•risk assessment
•internal control, segregation of duties, and industry knowledge

Bachelors Degree

Technical Accountant/
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

•payroll tax (although a good bookkeeper or controller will know how to do this, too) and year-end requirements (W-2s and 1099s)
•Sales tax compliance and filing

Bachelors Degree +
State Certification

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

•complex strategies such as IPOs and financing for the larger company
•manage cash flow, debt ratios, and financing options.
•highest level of accounting executive

Bachelors Degree +
Experience in a related
position

Source: www.onetonline.org


Degrees and Certificates Available in Accounting

There are many colleges in Minnesota that offer many different certificates and awards in accounting with curricula that give a solid foundation in accounting principles and practices for entry-level accounting positions in nearly every industry. The higher the educational attainment in accounting, the better the compensation. Below is a table showing wages for graduates who obtained a range of accounting certificates and awards between 2012 and 2013.


Degrees and Certificates Available in Accounting

Awards

Instructional
Program

Graduates

Median Hourly
Wage
(1 Year After)

Median Hourly
Wage
(2 Years After)

Top Industry of Employment

All Awards

Accounting and Related Services

2,104

$19.54

$21.64

Professional and Technical Services

Certificates
(less than Bachelor’s Degrees)

Accounting and Related Services

160

$14.73

$16.14

Retail Trade

Associate Degree

Accounting and Related Services

584

$15.58

$17.10

Finance and Insurance

Bachelor Degree

Accounting and Related Services

1,281

$21.75

$24.04

Professional and Technical Services

Graduate Degree

Accounting and Related Services

79

$24.86

$26.41

Professional and Technical Services

Source: DEED, Labor Market Information Office, Graduate Employment Outcomes in Minnesota


Where do Accountants Work in Minnesota?

Since the primary goal of any business is to make a profit and stay in business without the threat of liquidation for the foreseeable future, all businesses need skilled accounting services. Accountants in Minnesota work in industries from Professional and Business Services to Natural Resource and Mining. Below is a table showing the industries in which accountants are employed, total employment, and median wage in Minnesota.


First Quarter 2015 Employment Estimates

Industry

OES
Employment

OES Median Wage

Professional and Business Services

11,320

$31.17/hr

Financial Activities

3,800

$30.03/hr

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

2,340

$30.67/hr

Manufacturing

2,170

$32.56/hr

Educational and Health Services

1,910

$28.48/hr

Public Administration

1,330

$30.43/hr

Construction

790

$33.34/hr

Other Services

460

$28.78/hr

Leisure and Hospitality

320

$23.02/hr

Natural Resources and Mining

50

$29.26/hr

Source: DEED, Labor Market Information Office, Occupational Employment Statistics


Wage and Employment Outlook

Currently there are over 25,000 accountants employed in Minnesota. Statewide employment projections show that this occupation is set to grow by 7.2 percent between 2012 and 2022, opening up 1,854 new accounting jobs over the 10-year period. An additional 7,620 accounting job openings will result from retirements, changes of careers, occupation change, or workers who leave the geographical area. This will result in an estimated 9,470 total openings according to the 10 year projection. Most accountants in Minnesota are hired in the Seven-County Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. The table below shows areas, projections, and median wage distributions.


First Quarter 2015 Employment Estimates

Geography

OES
Employment

Median Wage

Projections
% Change
2012-2022

Minnesota

24,490

$30.60/hr

7.20%

Seven County Metro

18,950

$31.55/hr

6.90%

Central Minnesota

1,760

$27.89/hr

11.90%

Southwest Minnesota

1,190

$27.21/hr

3.80%

Northwest Minnesota

890

$28.35/hr

11.40%

Northeast Minnesota

810

$27.58/hr

4.50%

Southeast Minnesota

N/A

$28.62/hr

1.50%

Source: DEED, Labor Market Information Office, Occupational Employment Statistics


Conclusion

Regardless of the size of an organization, a good bookkeeping and accounting presence is very pertinent to business continuity. Accounting is a system that identifies, records, and communicates information that is relevant, reliable, and comparable to other firms’, to help both internal and external users make informed decisions. Accounting’s influence in operating, financing, and investing is critical to the survival and growth of any business.

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