Careers in finance and accountancy have gained popularity among Indian students looking to study abroad. Chartered Accountancy has always been a prestigious career option for many in India. It’s challenging as well as a rewarding profession, and for students who enter the commerce stream, it is the first choice of specialization.
An accountant is primarily one who is specialised in accounting, auditing and taxation. Accountants work in all fields of business and finance. Some are engaged in public practice work, others work in the private sector and some are employed by government organisations.
All the countries have their own Accountancy Association which regulates the quality and quantity of the professionals in this field.
The duty of an accountant is to ensure that the financial transactions of an organisation are maintained according to the law. They keep track of cost of management of the company and manage tax matters. They are also engaged in activities such as preparing project reports, market research, management accounting, cost analysis, working capital management, budget planning, inventory control, policy planning, securities consultancy, registrar of issues of securities, auditing etc.
Accountants work as finance managers, financial controllers, financial advisors or directors (finance) and watch over the finances in the day to day management of companies. Their key areas of work include accountancy, auditing, cost accountancy, taxation, investigation and consultancy.
Being able to interpret figures and convey information clearly and accurately in reports is an important part of an accountant’s job. Concentration and attention to detail are critical. As an accountant’s work often relates to discussing financial matters with a number of people, and very often with people who don't have a background in finance, they should be able to express themselves clearly.
Qualified accountants have plenty of career opportunities in different sectors. You could either work in an accounting firm; the finance department of any organisation or MNC; or start your own private practice. Some of the opportunities available for accountants are in capital markets, corporates, consultancy firms etc.
The demand for the skills of an accountant usually exceeds the availability of qualified people in the job market, so the remuneration is generally substantially more attractive than in most other careers.
To become a qualified accountant who can conduct the full range of accountancy services including audits, you must qualify with global bodies such as Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) if you plan to work in India.
What to study
Many colleges in the US, UK and Australia offer courses in accountancy. At the bachelor’s level, there is the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accountancy; the Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Economics and Accountancy; and the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting. At the master’s level, options include the Master of Accountancy or Master of Science in Accountancy. Some select colleges offer specializations in subjects such as taxation such as the Integrated Master of Accountancy- Taxation at University of Wisconsin- Madison, USA.
Courses in Accountancy generally include subjects such as financial accounting, management accounting, auditing, taxation and company law.
Students who choose the commerce stream in high school usually opt for accountancy at the bachelor’s level. But otherwise, you need to have completed 10+2 and could have studied any related subjects such as Math or economics, to apply for a bachelor’s degree. Applicants to the master’s degree in accounting must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution either in Accounting or related disciplines. Some colleges ask for a GRE or GMAT score.
All students must be able to demonstrate English language ability prior to being admitted into the programme.
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