What Careers are Available With an Associate’s in Accounting Degree?

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Are you good with numbers? Do you have an analytical mind that likes a good challenge, especially when it has to do with math and numbers? Individuals who answer yes to this question often pursue careers in accounting. Although we typically think of advanced degrees when we think of accountants, there are many careers in accounting with an associate in accounting degree. In fact, the associate in accounting degree is very popular today.

When deciding to pursue an associate in accounting degree, the candidate can usually choose between the Associate of Science (AS) in accounting and the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in accounting. Both degrees can lead to entry-level accounting jobs and careers in accounting, and both take about the same amount of time to complete. However, despite their similarities, there are some differences, and these differences can help you decide which degree best fits into your career goals.

The main difference between the AS and the AAS degree is that the AAS degree is considered a terminal degree. What this means is that graduates of this degree are typically ready to pursue entry-level jobs upon graduation. When they’re done with the program, they’re done with college. The AAS degree is generally offered at community colleges. The AS degree is typically offered at community colleges and some universities.

Many community colleges have transfer agreements with certain universities. What this means is that the credits earned in the AS degree can be transferred to a four-year college or university should the student decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The general education courses in the AS degree are sufficient to satisfy the general education courses required at a four-year institution.

However, the AAS has a slightly different curriculum in that the credits cannot be transferred, or if they can, it’s often difficult. In summary, if you’re eager to join the workforce, choose the two-year Associate of Applied Science degree. If you think you want to advance your education beyond the associate degree, choose the Associate of Science degree. Regardless of which degree you choose, you’ll have many careers in accounting available to you. Even if you think you may want to advance to a bachelor’s degree, but not for a few years, you should still consider the AS degree.

Here are just a few of the many careers in accounting that graduates may find.

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Purchasing Agent

The purchasing agent’s main duty is to negotiate the best possible deal with suppliers and vendors. Not only do they negotiate with vendors, but they also develop purchasing strategies, coordinate deliveries, manage supplier and vendor relationships, and ensure the quality of merchandise and supplies. They maintain records and monitor inventory levels, and they must have a solid understanding of market trends.

Accounting Assistant

The job title tells you exactly what these professionals do: assist accountants in their work. Their job duties vary, depending on if they’re working for one accountant or for a large accounting firm. Accounting assistants often act in an administrative capacity and perform duties like answering phones, filing, and interacting with clients. While providing support to accountants, they may also have the following duties.

• Assisting accountants in editing and creating financial documents
• Drafting and reporting financial presentations
• Arranging the company’s bookkeeping processes
• Reconciling financial books
• Handling outgoing and incoming funds
• Tracking expenses
• Evaluating financial budgets
• Doing payroll

Accounting Receivable Clerk

Accounting receivable clerks are in charge of monitoring and handling payments that a firm receives for services or products they’ve supplied to customers and clients. In addition to collecting and keeping track of payments, they also assemble the invoices and ensure that they get sent to the correct buyers and customers. Other duties of the accounting receivable clerk include:

• Making bank deposits
• Settling disputes and discrepancies with clients and other businesses regarding reimbursement
• Maintaining and updating spreadsheets
• Recording customer payments into the system
• Creating balance sheets that demonstrate the company’s profits and losses

Billing Specialist

Billing specialist jobs are yet another of the many careers in accounting available to accounting associate degree holders. Billing specialists are the trained professionals who monitor the payments and invoices of a company. They deal with all incoming payments, issue and post invoices and bills, report missing payments, and manage accounts and account balances. They handle all aspects of the billing process, from creating the initial to monitoring, recording, and ensuring timely payment of all bills. If a bill is outstanding, the billing specialist will inform the client of the past-due bill, write up the reports, and negotiate with the client to develop an acceptable payment solution or payment plan.

Payroll Clerk

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If you’ve ever spoken to a supervisor about a payroll issue, you were probably told to “talk to payroll”. They were most likely referring to the company’s payroll clerk. The payroll clerk takes care of the employees’ payroll, but they have many other duties within the accounting firm. They not only calculate the wages and hand out paychecks, but they also monitor the employee time cards, vacation/sick days, payroll taxes, and daily attendance. Their numerous other duties may include:

• Printing and distributing paychecks
• Obtaining overtime approval from management
• Answering payroll questions
• Processing garnishment requests, employment verification, employee advances, annual W-2 forms, direct deposit payments, and tax reports

Staff Accountant

The staff accountant has many duties, and most of them deal with the general financial processes of the company. They may not do the actual payroll, but they do maintain payroll records. Staff accountants prepare financial statements, manage financial reports, and manage tax reimbursements. They have a good knowledge of accounting software, and they often use it to reconcile financial accounts and perform more complex tasks that can’t be completed with regular spreadsheets. It is the job of the staff accountant to ensure that all accounting records are accurate.

Accounting Resolution Specialist

Getting paid on time and obtaining the best possible deal can play an important role in the financial success of a business, and this is what account resolution specialists do. They coordinate with vendors and clients and negotiate to get the best deal. They collect payments for services and make sure overdue bills are paid. They also prepare documentation for resolutions, monitor order issues, manage accounts receivable, and facilitate payments. They also create and maintain financial records regarding all transactions.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerk

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups bookkeepers and accounting clerks together because many of their duties are the same, they are actually two different employees with many different duties. Bookkeepers produce and analyze financing records, update statements, and record all debits and credits. They may also prepare invoices, make purchases, and even handle payroll.

While bookkeeping clerks often work for one accountant or a small company, accounting clerks generally work for large companies. Accounting clerks may go under the title of accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk. They ensure the completion and accuracy of account data. They may also handle payroll and tax forms. Accounting clerks can often be found working for senior accountants or for certified public accountants (CPAs).

Fiscal Technician

Fiscal technicians are often categorized as accounting assistants and bookkeepers because they share so many of the same duties. Because accounting requires accuracy and great proficiency, fiscal technicians must be familiar with bookkeeping terminology and methods, as well as being proficient in office equipment and accounting software programs. They may perform these duties:

• Maintaining records and files
• Preparing and compiling reports
• Preparing requisitions and invoices
• Balancing financial accounts
• Creating and maintaining expenditure reports
• Filing financial transaction documents
• Filing and tabulating budgetary and financial data
• Typing correspondence and purchase orders
• Reporting project balances to management

Associate Degree in Accounting – Great Career Builder

When we hear or think about accounting degrees, what generally comes to mind are accountants and CPAs. However, these positions require a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in accounting. Some individuals can’t or don’t wish to go to college for several years to become accountants. The good news for these individuals is that there are many careers in accounting available with an associate degree in accounting.

This degree only takes two years to complete, as opposed to the four to six years it takes to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In many cases, the individual with an associate degree in accounting can join the workforce quicker, which means he or she will be obtaining relevant work experience sooner. This work experience can often lead to higher-paying positions – positions typically available to those with bachelor’s degrees. The value of the associate in accounting degree just cannot be emphasized enough.

Benefits of Earning an Associate in Accounting Degree

There are many benefits and advantages to earning an associate in accounting degree.

• The program can be completed online.
• It requires less time and fewer credits than a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
• You’ll obtain more than just accounting skills.
• It’s a valuable asset in the business world.
• It may be transferred to a bachelor’s degree.
• It quickly prepares you for a career.
• It’s more affordable than a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
• Graduates are qualified for many careers in accounting.

Choosing an Accounting College

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Once an individual decides that he or she would like to pursue an associate degree in accounting, the next consideration is what college to choose. Accounting associate degree programs are offered at many colleges and universities. Aspiring students should choose an accredited college that offers the curriculum and courses that best meet their career goals. Many colleges offer associate in accounting degrees through distance learning.

Online accounting associate degree programs can be the ideal choice for several reasons. A student who can’t afford to stop working may find an online program to be the perfect option, because it allows him or her the opportunity to continue working and still earn the degree. It’s also a flexible option for students who have other family obligations.

Individuals who have earned an associate degree in accounting can join the workforce upon graduation and earn an advanced accounting degree online. This is advantageous for many students, because the work experience they’re obtaining can help them in their studies.

Courses in Associate Degree in Accounting Program

An associate degree in accounting program offers many accounting courses, but it also offers courses in other areas related to the accounting profession. These include courses in software programs like QuickBooks, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel, to name a few. In addition to taking some general education courses, accounting students can expect to complete these courses.

• Accounting I and II
• College Mathematics
• Intro to Psychology
• Accounting Information Systems
• Beginner and Intermediate Accounting
• Individual Tax Accounting
• Economics
• Cost Analysis
• Payroll Accounting
• Math with Business Applications
• Introduction to Ethics
• Business Law

In addition to the classroom courses, many accounting programs require the student to complete an internship or mentorship program. These require the student to work in an accounting firm under the supervision of a licensed accountant or CPA. This gives the student the opportunity to put to use what they’ve learned in the classroom.

Many colleges feel that internships are as valuable to the student as the classroom courses. For many individuals, an internship can lead to full-time employment after graduation.

Career Opportunities and Salary Potential

As you’ve probably already discovered, there are many careers in accounting for students with an associate degree in accounting. The BLS reports that bookkeepers, auditing clerks, and accounting clerks earned an average annual wage of $42,410 as of May 2020, with wages going as high as $63,900. Although the job projection for these positions currently shows somewhat of a decline, approximately 170,200 new jobs should be created each year.

Financial clerks should see about 120,900 new jobs created each year, despite the decline in job growth. Financial clerks earned wages ranging from $28,510 to $62,950, with the average annual wage at $41,520.

Payroll clerks are expected to see job growth of six percent from 2014 to 2024. These professionals earn wages ranging from $30,950 to $67,600, with the average annual wage at $48,290 as of May 2020. Wages for all these positions can vary depending on relevant work experience, degree level, employer, and location.

If you’ve ever been told that an associate degree in accounting is not worth it because you need more education to become an accountant, you can now see how inaccurate that can be. While the associate may not be enough to become a certified accountant, it is enough for many excellent careers in accounting.

It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door for this field, where you can learn more and obtain valuable work experience, which looks great on a resume! It’s also a degree that prepares you to work for an accounting firm or for many other organizations, including those dealing with education, manufacturing, government, healthcare, and more.

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This concludes our article on the careers available with an associate’s in accounting degree.