What is an Information Technology Accountant?

Information technology accountants use traditional accounting principles with software systems to centralize, access, organize and protect an organization’s financial data. This electronic standardization process allows organizations to identify weak internal controls, correct human errors and reduce process inefficiencies. Information technology accountants are usually in charge of managing and implementing the American Institute of CPA’s Information Management and Technology Assurance (IMTA) standards.

The Standard Education

Anyone who wants to become an information technology accountant will need to complete a customized bachelor’s degree program from an accredited college or university. While there are a few programs available in information technology accountancy, most students simply major in accounting and minor in a field like statistics, computer science, business administration or information management systems. Accounting majors will take classes in income taxation, corporate income, internal auditing, cost accounting, accounting information systems and state and federal taxation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For example, classes on accounting basics will cover the fundamentals of bookkeeping, recording transactions and finance cycles and accounting statements. Classes on advanced financial and accounting principles will explore topics like inventory, acquisitions, depreciation, asset disposal, long-term liabilities, cash statement analyses, manufacturing accounting and receivables and payables. Classes on financial programs will cover basic Excel spreadsheets used to execute formulas, record business transactions, analyze financial data and prepare financial reports. These programs usually include non-accounting business courses in topics like microeconomics, business law, corporate finance, organizational theory and analytical statistics.

The Alternative Education

As previously mentioned, there are a limited number of bachelor’s and master’s programs in IT accounting available online and on-campus. Students who earn this degree may pursue careers in IT auditing, security and risk management as well as accounting database and information systems management. Graduates with this degree will have no problem finding work at public accounting firms that need employees talented in accountancy, computer auditing and data management. These programs may focus more on advanced mathematics, so they will require students to complete classes in calculus, probability, statistics, algorithms and linear and non-linear programming.

Some of these programs may focus more on the accounting information technology side, so students will learn more about software engineering, Internet technology, computer information systems, quantitative data methods and enterprise resource planning (ERP). These degree programs may include classes in business intelligence, information security, data management, IT strategy, machine learning and Big Data applications. Of course, there will be classes on financial concepts, management strategies, accounting regulations, cost controls, bookkeeping and tax preparation. Some information technology accountants actually get a degree in finance because they will be able to focus more on quantitative analysis, risk management and internal control systems development.

Related Resource: What is Managerial Accounting?

Readers should keep in mind that there are many benefits of earning a double major. A regular bachelor’s degree results in 120 semester hours, but the CPA exam requires 150, so these students will be eligible to immediately take the CPA exam. Because information technology accountants have duel areas of expertise, they may pursue unique career paths and switch careers as industry demand changes.