A joke asks “how does an accountant’s wife fall asleep each night,” followed by the punch line, “she asks her husband about his day.” The joke relies on a stereotype of the accountancy profession. But don’t let the general impression of the boring bean counter fool you; the field of accounting boasts some exciting career options. And according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals received an average 2008 compensation of $65,840.
Securities and Exchange Commission Accountant
Greed doesn’t doom today’s versions of “Wall Street’s” Gordon Gekko; an accountant, or rather a team of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accountants work to ensure regulatory compliance and control corporate malfeasance and insider trading. Accountants employed by the SEC work out of offices in Washington, D.C., New York and a number of other major cities. Some of an SEC accountant’s duties include reviewing the financial statements of companies that offer stock or are about to launch an initial public stock offering (IPO). These accountants also audit publicly traded companies to determine compliance with regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. An SEC accountant might also work in this organization’s corporate finance division; these accountants work directly with corporate officers of companies to develop new standards for accounting practices.
In the movie “The Untouchables,” Treasury Agent Eliot Ness and his team battled Prohibition-era crime lord Al Capone, but it was an accountant named Frank J. Wilson who figured out how to bring Capone down. Today’s modern forensic accountants work for the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies. These accountants combine the skills of a private investigator, lawyer and auditor to uncover criminal activity in private financial dealings, bookmaking and other crimes, such as those covered by the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Forensic accountants can also work for law firms and private investigators looking for hidden assets during divorce cases, for example. Companies also hire forensic accountants to uncover corporate fraud and embezzlement.
Corporate Entertainment Accountants
In his films, Tom Cruise has played a lawyer, secret agent and a civil war veteran turned Samurai. But he and his production company Cruise/Wagner Productions need to hire an accountant to handle financial planning and bookkeeping. Accountants who have earned a CPA (certified public accountant) license help plan production budgets, file taxes and payroll and handle or determine royalty payments. Getting to rub shoulders with celebrities and work on a movie set are just some of the perks.
Sports Team Accountants
According to the “All Business Schools” website, professional sporting teams and athletes need to fill roles similar to that of a corporate entertainment accountant. Instead of working on a movie budget, sports team accountants oversee budget and payroll for teams in the NFL or NBA, among others. The “All Business Schools” website reports that earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) will help a candidate stand out when trying to land one of these positions.
- US Securities and Exchange Commission: Opportunities for Accountants With the SEC
- New York State Society of CPAs: What to Look for in a Forensic Accountant
- All Business Schools: Five Great Accounting Jobs You've Never Heard Of
- All Business Schools: Forensic Accounting Career Information
- My Al Capone Museum: Al Capone's tax trial and downfall
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
Accounting Career Paths
A career in accounting can be very lucrative. While some people may consider accounting boring, nothing can be further from the truth....
Alternative Jobs for Accountants
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