Accounting

 

Quick Facts

2014 Median Salary
$58,000

69% of accountancy students pursue a master’s degree, primarily the Master of Accounting Science (MAS).

2014 Top Hiring Employers
Deloitte
KPMG
PricewaterhouseCoopers
Ernst & Young
Plante Moran

full list

 

What do Accounting majors do?

Accountants prepare, develop, analyze, evaluate, and verify financial documents. They disseminate information that their clients need to ensure that their businesses are run efficiently and that they comply with the terms of their contracts. The typical view of the accountant as the “bean counter” has changed and accounting has become more consulting-oriented.

What kinds of jobs do Accounting majors get?

Career options for Accounting majors are diverse and varied, but most College of Business graduates typically start in one of three paths.

Public AccountingPrivate AccountingConsulting

In 2014, 39% of Accountancy undergraduates started their careers in Public Accounting with an average starting salary of $56,593.

Public accounting firms range in size from local (Martin Hood Friese; Sikich; Frost, Ruthenberg & Rothblatt) and regional firms (BDO, Crowe Horwath, Grant Thornton, McGladrey, Plante Moran) to large international firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Public accounting firms provide accounting services to clients who are businesses (automotive, entertainment, healthcare, technology, retailers, manufacturers, individuals), non-profits, and government agencies. Primary services include:

Audit/Assurance: preparing and reviewing financial information
Tax: preparation of income tax returns
Advisory/Consulting: advising clients on business decisions such as mergers and acquisitions, decreasing risks, increasing profit or efficiencies

In 2014, 18% of Accountancy undergraduates started their careers in Private Accounting with an average starting salary of $55,222. Private accountants work directly for a company or organization.

Corporate Accounting
Government Accounting
Nonprofit Accounting

In 2014, 20% of Accountancy undergraduates started their careers in Consulting with an average starting salary of $63,676.

Many public accounting firms offer consulting services, helping clients review particular business needs; restructure their financial reporting, organizational hierarchy, expenses, risk, evaluation and analysis of information; make recommendations; and implement changes in any area of a business. Many accounting consultants specialize in a certain industry or clientele. Accounting consultants are quick problem solvers, creative thinkers, very fast learners, and have honed math and analytical skills. Intern duties include helping clients get the best deals done at the appropriate price, negotiating terms of a deal, implementing or changing new technologies necessary to run the business, reducing risk and enabling smooth post-deal integration.

Technology/Information Technology (IT) Consulting
Risk Consulting
Forensic Consulting

How do I get a job in Accounting?

Landing a great internship and full-time job in accounting is a process and preparation begins from your very first semester as a College of Business student. Your first step is to plan ahead using the charts below. Then you want to make sure you are proactively preparing yourself to secure an internship on your way to your future career.

Your path will depend on whether you choose to graduate in 4 or 5 years, do a summer or winter internship, pursue the MAS degree, and study abroad. Everyone’s college experience is different, but here are the most common sequences Accountancy majors follow.

5-year Track4-year TrackTransfers (5-year track)Transfers (4-year track)
With Summer Internship With Winter Internship
1st Semester Apply for BCS Job Shadow
Begin completing internship checklist
2nd Semester
Summer
3rd Semester Apply for second BCS Job Shadow
4th Semester Apply for Leadership Program at public accounting firm
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
5th Semester Apply for Leadership Program at public accounting firm
6th Semester Apply for winter internship
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
7th Semester Apply for summer internship
8th Semester Winter internship
Graduate with Bachelors in Accountancy
Summer Summer internship Classes (if needed)
9th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
10th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
Graduate with MAS

Here is some additional information to consider as you plan your job search:

  • Your priority should be getting an internship. Public Accounting internships are generally designed for students who will return to campus for one or two semesters of classes before graduating with their final degree, i.e. MAS
  • Winter internships (done in the spring semester) in public accounting firms offer prime experience due to ‘busy season’ activity levels
  • The Department of Accountancy offers summer classes; students can be off-campus interning during spring semester and graduate on schedule
  • Recruiting for spring semester internships takes place one year in advance, e.g. in Spring 2015 for internships starting January 2016
  • Recruiting for Summer internships takes place during the preceding Fall semester, e.g. Fall 2015 for internships starting in May/June 2016
  • Employers give their interns first consideration for full-time positions with the firm
With Summer Internship With Winter Internship
1st Semester Apply for BCS Job Shadow
Begin completing internship checklist
2nd Semester Apply for Leadership Program at public accounting firm
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
3rd Semester Apply for second BCS Job Shadow
4th Semester Apply for Leadership Program at public accounting firm Apply for winter internship
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
or summer classes
5th Semester Apply for summer internship
6th Semester Apply for summer internship Winter internship
Graduate with Bachelors in Accountancy (if pursuing MAS)
Summer Summer internship Classes (if needed)
7th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
8th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
Graduate with Bachelors in Accountancy (or MAS)

Here is some additional information to consider as you plan your job search:

  • Your priority should be getting an internship. Public Accounting internships are generally designed for students who will return to campus for one or two semesters of classes before graduating with their final degree, i.e. MAS
  • Winter internships (done in the spring semester) in public accounting firms offer prime experience due to ‘busy season’ activity levels
  • The Department of Accountancy offers summer classes; students can be off-campus interning during spring semester and graduate on schedule
  • Recruiting for spring semester internships takes place one year in advance, e.g. in Spring 2015 for internships starting January 2016
  • Recruiting for Summer internships takes place during the preceding Fall semester, e.g. Fall 2015 for internships starting in May/June 2016
  • Employers give their interns first consideration for full-time positions with the firm
With Summer Internship With Winter Internship
3rd Semester Apply for BCS Job Shadow
Begin completing internship checklist
4th Semester Apply for Leadership Program at public accounting firm
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
5th Semester
(Start here if you are a
3rd-year transfer)
Apply for Leadership Program at public accounting firm
6th Semester Apply for winter internship
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
7th Semester Apply for summer internship
8th Semester Winter internship
Graduate with Bachelors in Accountancy
Summer Summer internship Classes (if needed)
9th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
10th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
Graduate with MAS

Here is some additional information to consider as you plan your job search:

  • Your priority should be getting an internship. Public Accounting internships are generally designed for students who will return to campus for one or two semesters of classes before graduating with their final degree, i.e. MAS
  • Winter internships (done in the spring semester) in public accounting firms offer prime experience due to ‘busy season’ activity levels
  • The Department of Accountancy offers summer classes; students can be off-campus interning during spring semester and graduate on schedule
  • Recruiting for spring semester internships takes place one year in advance, e.g. in Spring 2015 for internships starting January 2016
  • Recruiting for Summer internships takes place during the preceding Fall semester, e.g. Fall 2015 for internships starting in May/June 2016
  • Employers give their interns first consideration for full-time positions with the firm
With Summer Internship With Winter Internship
3rd Semester Apply for BCS Job Shadow
Begin completing internship checklist
4th Semester Apply for Leadership Program
at public accounting firm
Apply for winter internship
Summer Leadership Program (if selected)
or summer classes
5th Semester
(Start here if you are a
3rd-year transfer)
Apply for summer internship
6th Semester Apply for summer internship Winter internship
Graduate with Bachelors in Accountancy (if pursuing MAS)
Summer Summer internship Classes (if needed)
7th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
8th Semester Apply for full-time position (if not secured yet)
Study for CPA (if applicable)
Graduate with Bachelors in Accountancy (or MAS)

Here is some additional information to consider as you plan your job search:

  • Your priority should be getting an internship. Public Accounting internships are generally designed for students who will return to campus for one or two semesters of classes before graduating with their final degree, i.e. MAS
  • Winter internships (done in the spring semester) in public accounting firms offer prime experience due to ‘busy season’ activity levels
  • The Department of Accountancy offers summer classes; students can be off-campus interning during spring semester and graduate on schedule
  • Recruiting for spring semester internships takes place one year in advance, e.g. in Spring 2015 for internships starting January 2016
  • Recruiting for Summer internships takes place during the preceding Fall semester, e.g. Fall 2015 for internships starting in May/June 2016
  • Employers give their interns first consideration for full-time positions with the firm