How Do You Become an Accountant?

If you know or have ever been told that you are good with numbers, the question, “How do you become an accountant?” may have crossed your mind. This type of work is a great fit for people who have good critical thinking skills and are able to analyze data. The work of an accountant is not just about poring over figures, though; a person who chooses this type of career also needs to be able to clearly explain the results of his or her analysis to managers, co-workers and clients, which means that communication skills must be top notch.

Top-ranked Accounting Programs
1. Liberty University – BS – Accounting
2. Everest University Online – Bachelor’s in Accounting
3. Jones International University – MBA – Accounting

Education Requirements

If your goal is to qualify for an entry-level accounting position, consider an Associate’s degree or certificate program. Community colleges and technical schools offer these types of programs, which prepare students for the workforce at a reasonable cost.

A Bachelor’s degree in Accounting opens up doors to entry and mid-level careers in this field. The curriculum for this program includes general interest courses, as well as ones which focus on in-depth accounting topics, including:

• Accounting Ethics and Professional Responsibilities
• Accounting Information Systems
• Advanced Financial Management
• Auditing
• Corporate Governance and Internal Control Assessment
• Cost Management
• Federal Income Tax
• Fraud Examination
• Government and Not-for-Profit Accounting
• Legal Elements of Fraud


Public accountants make up the largest portion of people working in the field. They may be employed as tax advisors, bookkeepers, consultants or auditors. Forensic accountants fall into this category.

Management accountants work for companies and spend their work day analyzing financial data. Their work helps to influence their employer’s budget and plan for business expenditures.

A student who wants to be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or a CMA (Certified Management Accountant) will likely continue his or her education and complete a Master’s degree in Accounting (MAcc).

Get Certified

The exam to qualify as a CPA is made up of four parts. Exam takers must pass each portion to be certified. If someone doesn’t pass a particular section of the exam, he or he only needs to retake that portion. Once the first section of the exam has been passed, a test taker has 18 months to pass the other sections.

The CMA exam is open to members of the Institute of Management Accountants. It also contains four sections. The first three sections of the exam are multiple choice, and they must be completed within 120 days. The fourth section of the test is an essay question, and must be completed within a month.

Before taking an advanced accounting exam, an Accounting degree holder would take a test preparation course and write practice tests. Calculators are allowed in the room during exams, and the test center can advise which models have been approved for this purpose.

The road to a productive and interesting career dealing with numbers involves a number of steps. The answer to the question, “How do you become an accountant?” is this job requires a post-secondary degree and possibly writing a certification exam.

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