5 Unique Fields of Accounting

The Accounting Industry: Five Fields Within

  • Tax Accounting
  • Internal Auditing
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Public Accounting
  • Government Accounting

At its roots, accounting is the scientific approach to understanding, establishing, and even managing numbers related to finances. Beyond this all-encompassing definition, however, there are a number of subset specialty fields to be found within the main field of accountancy. The following are five of those uniquely adapted areas of accounting practice today.

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

1. Tax Accounting

As its name suggests, tax accounting is all about the vast world of taxes and finance. Because of how taxes affect virtually all areas of business and personal finance today, tax accounting can be found at work for individuals, in corporations, in the government, and beyond. Those specialized to this area of the science must understand tax law and how to apply those very regulations to the entity in question.

2. Internal Auditing

Internal auditing is the accounting sector’s term for an internal financial review. This type of internal review particularly deals with matters related to finances and is usually performed by a business as itself the target. There are also many reasons for an enterprise to consider conducting internal auditing: to internally certify the accuracy of records, to investigate a specific concern, to periodically maintain and check internal records and record-keeping processes, to identify areas of potential losses and improvements, and any number of others.

3. Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting is also investigative in nature, similar to the internal auditing area of accountancy discussed above, but with some differences. Forensic accounting is deep, investigative accounting work that searches for answers to particular questions and that can, and often does, end up being used in legal matters and others of great importance. Per the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, those working in this specialized area are often employed by lawyers, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, government organizations or financial institutions, consulting firms, public accounting firms, and a number of other settings, and are in no way restricted to just “in-house” or internal auditing processes.

4. Public Accounting

Public accounting is a relatively wide field of the accounting industry that encompasses a great number of financial accounting necessities in a wide variety of settings. In a business, public accountancy may be utilized to perform tax and payroll planning. In a private setting, it may be seen at work handling estate and general financial and banking concerns for the private citizen. CPAs, or certified public accountants as they are commonly recognized, comprise a major component to this large area of accountancy.

5. Government Accounting

Finally, government accounting is yet another example of a uniquely specific area of accountancy practice today. In this focus area of the science, government-specific financial concerns are managed. While agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service may initially come to mind for most regarding this area of accountancy, truly, it is utilized, to varying extents, in virtually all government programs and agencies.

Accounting really is a large and very important area of knowledge and practice. Within it also lies a number of uniquely adapted specialty fields. In conclusion, for those looking for more information on the science of accounting and the various practice fields found within it today, the American Accounting Association is a leading, representative resource in the industry.