What Are Some of the Specialty Areas in Accounting?

Accounting is a very broad profession, ranging from positions that help consumers with their personal taxes to jobs that allow accountants to work on corporate finances, fraud investigations, and much more. Before getting started with an accounting degree or a career in the field, it’s worth reviewing the many specialties that add another layer of interest and professionalism to the large and growing accounting industry.

Fraud and Forensic Investigations

Anyone who has monitored the world economy for a few years has probably heard the phrase “accounting irregularities” at least once. When businesses decide to cook the books and misrepresent their numbers for financial gain, they open themselves up to investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, private banks, and other entities. Those investigations are undertaken by accountants with a very specific educational and occupational background.

Forensic accountants are trained throughout their educational careers to look for irregularities and scams. They do this by looking at every number, cross-referencing it with other company data, interviewing people involved with the accounting department, and relying on independent analysis. It’s easily one of the most exciting specialties in the profession, and one that is increasingly important in an era of skyrocketing company profits and lessening regulation.

Tax Help for Consumers

Accountants are on the front lines every January through April, when tens of millions of Americans pack up the previous year’s financial data and head to a local accounting firm for assistance. Getting taxes properly completed and submitted on time is no easy task, even for the typical accountant, so these professionals spend much of their time learning about the tax code, following state and federal developments regarding new deductions or practices, and otherwise taking in information that can help consumers each spring.

Because these professionals are in high demand, and because there is simply so much paperwork involved in learning about the tax code, they’re considered one of the most stable parts of the entire industry. That’s good news for accountants who value stability and consistency in their work.

Financial Advising for Consumers and Businesses

Accountants can sometimes make a successful transition into the world of financial advising, which is conveniently aligned with the profession’s standards of ethics and its focus on ongoing tax code developments. Accountants who go out of their way to learn more about the stock market and popular investment mechanisms will find that they fit perfectly with some of today’s biggest banks and best known investment firms.

Corporate Accounting and Tax Advising

Helping consumers with their taxes might seem like a pretty big challenge, but it generally pales in comparison to the work required of a corporate accountant or tax professional. In this capacity, accountants accurately document corporate profits or losses, and they help companies prepare tax statements due each year.

Accountants in this field must ensure that they are committed to the highest level of ethical accounting since, as mentioned earlier, there’s an entirely different side of the profession that will readily investigate fraud or irregularities if they surface at any time.

Accounting’s Specialties are Broad and Exciting

Whether it’s guiding corporate America to bigger profits, looking for individual tax deductions, or swooping in to investigate corporate fraud, accountants have a number of great specialties to choose from. By picking a specialty that fits with educational achievements and personal perspectives, accountants will be consistently excited to work and have no shortage of clients asking them to get it done.