Taking that big step to change your career is difficult. There are multiple avenues for you yo take. You can go to college/university, a trade school, or you could go straight into the workforce again and take courses online. Accounting is a popular career choice due to its flexibility and ease of entry. The biggest positive to any job that has to do with taxes is that it’ll likely be here for some time; you’ll always have a job.
You’re probably asking yourself, “But, don’t you need to go get a four-year degree to be an accountant?” For specific jobs, it is necessary at the entry-level. However, it is possible for you to get a job as an accounting clerk, bookkeeper, or auditing clerk without any post-secondary education. In fact, there are many options that don’t require a degree available to you in the field of accounting, and you don’t even have to look too hard to find them.
Options for Accounting Without a Degree
If you’re looking for a new career in accounting try bookkeeping, becoming an accounting clerk or an auditing clerk. These professions don’t require any post-secondary education. When you’re looking at job applications, you’ll still see employers recommend that you should have a degree. I would advise applying anyway if you’re skilled and can prove it.
For example, having a working knowledge of Quickbooks will put you ahead of the game. Quickbooks is a software commonly used by accounting firms. If you don’t feel confident applying for jobs that specify a degree, search for job postings that value experienced workers with proven skills.
Bookkeepers perform standard tasks like summiting transactions in a ledger or putting them in payroll and accounts payable. You’ll commonly use databases and spreadsheets to make financial statements and reports.
Accounting clerks aren’t that different from a bookkeeper, but they usually work for larger employers that has a specialty in a specific area, like payroll, for example. Auditing clerks look over accounts with precision. They also correct and report mistakes.
No Degree Accounting Job Qualifications
Bookkeepers, auditing clerks, and accounting clerks require a combination of post-secondary education and apprenticeship. High school is essential, while some college may be optional. You’ll need basic computer and math skills, and you need to be honest and detail-oriented.
Taking college courses, such as basic bookkeeping, accounting, spreadsheet writing, and accounting software training, will help you seem more qualified. If your company decides to hire and train you, this usually takes 6 months regardless if the company is large or small.
Small businesses will treat your training as an apprenticeship and will set you up with a supervisor or a well-trained co-worker. Although a degree in accounting isn’t necessary to move up in the company, an associate’s degree is recommended to get you started.
Going up the Ladder
Bookkeepers are very similar to accountants. However, accountants will focus on the big picture. Accountants will prepare tax returns, monitor cooperation with the highest standards and regulations, and will assess department efficiency.
Instead, a bookkeeper focuses on daily tasks. It’s possible to move up to an accounting position without a degree, as working as a bookkeeper will demonstrate your skills and ability doing what an accountant does.
If career opportunities without a degree are so bright, what do you lose without one? Well, you cannot get a Certified Public Accountant license because it requires having 150 college semester credits. But we should admit that the CPA exam is not easy to pass and not for everyone. However, it definitely gives you more credibility and higher salary opportunities.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average salary for bookkeepers, auditing clerks, and accounting clerks sits around $38,390 in 2016. For accountants, the average wage was significantly better at $68,150.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be multiple opportunities for bookkeepers, but the job market is expected to reduce by eight percent from 2014 to 2024. This is due to more automation in the workplace. Still, there will be workers leaving these jobs, so expect job opening to happen.
Differences in tax regulations and codes, coupled with growth in the economy and globalization will result in accounting positions to grow to about 11 percent during this time.