How to Choose the Right Accounting Career Path

blog post cover with accounting icon

Choosing the best accounting career can be a difficult decision. There are plenty of great paths to consider, each with their own benefits and growth opportunities. But how do you know which one is the right for you and your career goals? 

Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to make a move, this blog post will provide you with advice for choosing the best accounting career for you. Let’s get started! 

Why work in accounting?

A career in this field can offer stability and growth opportunities, on top of being a path that is often highly lucrative and personally rewarding. And while there are many benefits to a career in accounting, here are the three main selling points:  

1: High demand. As an accounting professional, you can hold the keys to unlocking financial insights and contributing to informed decisions. Whether it’s reporting or analysis, your role can play a major part in steering businesses or individuals toward financial success.  

2: Diverse industry opportunities. One of the best things about a career in accounting? Every business, in every industry, relies on accounting professionals to help them navigate economic challenges, optimize resources, and plan for a prosperous future. So, the options are nearly endless for where you can take your accounting skills. 

3: Transferrable skills. Speaking of skills, the ones that you pick up in an accounting career are extremely transferrable. Whether you’re making an industry move or pursuing a different accounting role than before, your expertise will enable you to do so.  

What Type of Accounting Career is Right for Me?

To determine which accounting career is the best for your professional or personal goals, you will need to ask yourself some questions. 

Do you like working with people or do you prefer to work independently? Are you detail-oriented or more creative? Do you like crunching numbers or solving problems? How much do you prioritize work life balance?  

We’ve put together a quick list of tips to help you answer these questions and narrow down your options. 

3 Key Steps to Choosing the Right Accounting Career

1) Reflect on your passions and strengths. Examine your interests and skills to determine which accounting career resonates with you the most. Consider areas where you excel—like financial analysis, problem-solving, or attention to detail. This will help you choose a path that aligns with your natural abilities. 

2) Research and explore different specialties (like the ones on this list). Take the time to look into the responsibilities, challenges, and growth prospects associated with the various branches of accounting. This research will help you gain a deeper understanding of the potential paths ahead, allowing you to make an informed decision. 

3) Seek advice and guidance! You don’t know, what you don’t know. Network with professionals in the field, seek out career counseling, and identify possible mentors whothat can give you some guidance. Their own experiences can offer you a wealth of information and insight into the field of accounting. Plus, it’ll give you a network to lean on as you grow professionally. 

9 Great Accounting Career Paths

This list outlines nine viable options if you’re interested in an accounting career. Under each job title, you’ll find a brief breakdown of responsibilities as well as the hard or soft skills you’ll need to succeed in that role. 

And now, with the above tips in mind, here are nine accounting career options for you to consider! 

Accounts Payable Specialist

An accounts payable specialist is in charge of the daily operations of accounts payable, including matching invoices to purchase orders and vouchers, data entry, and issuing payments. 


  • Prepare, verify, and process invoices for payment 
  • Communicate with vendors to resolve past-due balances or discrepancies in billing 
  • Match purchase orders to invoices from vendors and enter data into accounting software as needed 
  • Print checks for approval before mailing out payments to vendors 

Skills needed:

  • Excellent organizational skills 
  • Attention to detail 
  • Time management 
  • Familiarity with accounting software 

Salary Range: The average annual pay for accounts payable specialists is $44,332 per year. 

Accounts Receivable Specialist

An accounts receivable specialist is responsible for the daily operations of accounts receivable, like maintaining customer files and records, issuing bills and statements, and collecting payments. 


  • Track payments received from customers and update corresponding customer account records in accounting software 
  • Handle billing inquiries and disputes from customers 
  • Contact customers to arrange for payments of invoices 
  • Generate reports on account status, delinquent accounts, and past-due balances 

Skills needed:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills 
  • Ability to work closely with clients  
  • Familiarity with accounting software 

Salary Range: The average annual pay for accounts receivable specialists is $42,336 per year. 


Hiring an accountant for your small business? Make sure you hire someone with these six must-have skills.


Budget Analyst

A budget analyst is responsible for conducting financial analysis and research. They use their analysis to develop effective budget plans and to ensure optimal resource allocation and financial efficiency. 


  • Prepare budgets to support grant applications 
  • Monitor actual spending throughout the year against the approved budget 
  • Analyze contracts for compliance with government regulations and internal policy 
  • Verify the validity of account transactions before entry into databases or software programs 

Skills needed: 

  • Attention to detail 
  • Math aptitude (ability to solve complex problems) 
  • Strong organizational skills 
  • Ability to work independently 
  • Familiarity with accounting software/systems 

Salary Range: Median annual pay for a budget analyst is $79,940. 

Financial Planner

A financial planner provides advice and guidance to clients on a range of investment, retirement, and tax planning issues. They also create long-term financial plans for individuals or businesses by analyzing the client’s goals, risk tolerance, income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. 


  • Analyze the client’s current financial situation (assets/liabilities) 
  • Develop strategies to help them meet their objectives in savings and investments 
  • Recommend specific products to help them achieve these goals (e.g., insurance policies or mutual funds) 
  • Monitor progress towards meeting those goals over time with ongoing communications between meetings with clients 

Skills needed: 

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to work under pressure and multi-task effectively when needed 
  • Great attention to detail so that nothing is overlooked or forgotten during the planning stages of a project (e.g., deadlines, filing tax returns, etc.) 

Salary Range: Average annual pay for financial planners is upwards of 100k, with an average of $72,364 base salary and an average of $31,713 of additional pay. 

Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant is in charge of analyzing financial records and transactions to determine if any fraud has occurred. Forensic accountants are typically employed in the legal, insurance, and accounting sectors. 

They investigate cases involving fraud or embezzlement within companies or organizations where there may have been criminal wrongdoing by employees. They are also involved in investigations such as divorce proceedings. 


  • Identify evidence of illegal acts committed by individuals, which could include theft from employers (embezzlement) and tax evasion schemes carried out over an extended period using offshore accounts 
  • Gather information from various sources such as bank statements and interviews with witnesses to uncover any discrepancies in financial records 
  • Prepare detailed reports on findings which can then be used in legal proceedings as evidence 

Skills needed: 

  • Strong investigative and forensic accounting skills 
  • Working knowledge of accounting and financial procedures/processes 
  • Analytical skills – must review financial data and spot any irregularities that may suggest fraud has taken place 
  • Attention to detail 

Salary Range: The average annual pay for forensic accountants is $75,482 per year. 

Government Accountant

Government accountants are employed by federal, provincial, and local governments to maintain financial records of public funds. They work in various departments such as revenue, treasury, taxation, and auditing. 


  • Maintain accurate financial records for all money flowing through the government through tasks like budgeting, accounting, auditing, and reporting on income/expenditures, etc. 
  • Provide support to other government employees in their roles (e.g., assisting tax assessors with audits) 
  • Prepare financial statements which can be used internally within the government or made publicly available 

Skills needed: 

  • Knowledge of accounting principles and practices 
  • Strong analytical skills – must be able to review complex data and report on it clearly and concisely 
  • Communication and interpersonal skills – must be able to effectively communicate with other government employees and the public 

Salary Range: The average salary for a government-employed accountant is $63,902 per year. 


Interviewing accounting professionals? Check out these 25 impactful interview questions to ask your next candidate.


Internal Auditor

Internal auditors are responsible for examining a company’s accounting practices and ensuring that they comply with federal and provincial laws governing financial reporting. They may also perform audits on other aspects, such as compliance with banking regulations. 


  • Examine financial records to ensure accuracy of the information contained therein, including payroll, expenses, and tax returns 
  • Perform audits on internal processes/procedures used by employees within companies to identify any issues that could lead to problems down the line (e.g., poor inventory control) 
  • Report on findings of audits and making recommendations for improvement where necessary 

Skills needed: 

  • Knowledge of accounting principles and practices 
  • Research and analytical expertise 
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Attention to detail 

Salary Range: Median annual salary for internal auditors is $62,969 per year. 

Managerial Accountant 

Managerial accountants (AKA management accountants) are responsible for providing financial information to managers within a company to be used in making decisions about how best to manage company investments. They also help with budgeting, cost analysis, and other types of accounting. 


  • Prepare reports on financial performance, including revenue/expenses from previous periods and projections based on past trends (e.g., sales forecasts) 
  • Provide advice or recommendations to management about the best course of action moving forward 
  • Assist departments within companies by preparing budgets explicitly tailored around their needs while taking into account the company’s overall financial goals as a whole 
  • Review tax returns 
  • Oversee general ledgers 

Skills needed: 

  • Mathematics and data analysis 
  • Ability to track, report, and present data findings 
  • Business acumen 
  • Leadership skills 

Salary Range: The average annual pay for managerial accountants is $95,566 per year. 

Tax Accountant

A tax accountant is in charge of preparing and filing tax returns for individuals or businesses. They may also be involved in providing advice on how best to reduce one’s taxable income. 


  • Prepare individual or business tax returns – this includes calculating the amount of tax payable/refundable, completing all required forms, and ensuring that they are filed on time 
  • Advise clients on ways to reduce their taxable income – this could involve making changes to their investments, expenses, or even the structure of their business 
  • Provide support to other accounting staff members within a company (e.g., bookkeepers) when it comes to completing tasks related to taxation 

Skills needed:  

  • Knowledge of tax and accounting regulations and best practices 
  • Strong analytical skills 
  • Attention to detail 
  • Interpersonal skills if client-facing  

Salary Range: The annual average pay for tax accountants is $61,279 per year. 

Unlock Your Path to Success  

Choosing the right accounting career path is an exciting and empowering journey. Trust in your abilities, seek guidance when needed, and embrace the opportunities that come your way.  

When you’re ready to put those accounting skills to use—or are looking for a new company to do so—head over to the Insight Global job board, where you will find thousands of listings.  

Need to hire accounting professionals? We can help with that, too. Just fill out the form below to get started. 

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