5 Areas of Expertise in the Field of Accounting

Five Common Accounting Specializations

  • Tax
  • Audit
  • Financial Forensics
  • Government
  • Cost or Management

When it comes to the most popular field of expertise in accounting, there are a plethora of great options to choose from. This is because accounting is present in almost every public sector and has to be utilized in most businesses. So, finding various types of jobs here is not difficult.

Related resource: Top 15 Best Affordable Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs

1. Tax

Taxes are a very common specialty that millions of accountants focus on. After all, one of the two certain things in life, besides death, is the tax that the government will expect everyone to pay. So, it comes as no surprise that this discipline carries enough sub-topics for one to dedicate their entire career to it. As far as some typical job duties, the primary responsibilities will include filing the right tax returns for individuals, corporations, partnerships, and so on. Additionally, tax audit defense for those who may be getting their tax returns analyzed by the IRS is a common practice of many tax accountants.

2. Audit

For public accounting firms, the number one source of income comes from the audit practice. Although it is very close to how much tax discipline brings, auditing has been the unbeatable leader for many years. This is because every public company must hire an independent auditor who can review their financial statements every year. Usually, the fees to do so are counted in hundreds of thousands of dollars for some of the Big Four firms. The job responsibilities in this area will include integrating with the client’s firm for a while and going through all of their statements of operation to look for material misstatements or potential mistakes.

3. Financial Forensics

Accountants who enjoy the audit-like type of work but prefer not to review endless papers of the same company often join the financial forensics. For those unfamiliar, this is the area of expertise where people locate a suspicious activity that may be indicative of fraud. The projects here tend to be completed through a team-based approach and the positions go as far as the FBI or CIA. After all, some of the most important scams in the history of this nation were brought to light by outstanding accounting. Just remember the massive fall of Enron when their shady accounting practices were finally uncovered in 2001.

4. Government

Those with high ambitions often pursue governmental positions that pertain to the profession. Although this may prompt one to immediately think about the White House, it is actually a bit more subtle. In other words, government accounting deals with things like cities’ or counties’ financial work where local CPA might be needed to help stay in compliance. Additionally, working in this area offers unique resources that are not available in most other industries. Not to mention the fact that the benefits related to government jobs are unparalleled by anything in the market!

5. Cost or Managerial

Finally, the fifth most common area of expertise in the field of accounting is cost or managerial reporting. This is an internal position where accountants assume the role of the company’s financial manager who has to work with costing systems, variances, supply, and delivery, price maximization, cost-to-benefit ratios, and so on. According to Forbes, having good strategic cost management should be the main priority of every company.

Though there are some other notable positions, these five tend to be the most common ones in the market nowadays. People interested should research each of these fields of accounting and choose the one that matches their long-term interests the best!