Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Tax Accountant

Job Description:

Tax accountants prepare and maintain tax records and reports, and all schedules and paperwork associated with the paying of taxes. They work for the government, businesses, or individuals and families, and will need to be trained in federal, state, and local tax policies and procedures. Tax accountants may advise their clients no how to minimize their tax liability and let them know about any changes to the tax code that could affect them.

For entry level work, a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is typically required. Some employers may prefer a master's degree. Any accountant who files a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has to have the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Although the CPA exam is the same across the country, each state's board of accounting has different requirements to qualify for it. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia require candidates to complete 150 hours of college course work before they can sit for the exam. Check with your state's board of accountancy to see what its requirements are.
Median Salary:
Starting salaries will be quite a bit lower than the mean salary as compensation varies widely in this field. As of 2012, states with the highest number of employed tax accountants include: California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Top-paying states include the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and California. Keep in mind that these statistics are no guarantee of actual salary, which is determined by location, condition of the economy, an applicant's credentials and experience, and more.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 16% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Tax accountants may be in a lucrative position in the job market, as taxes are one of the few absolute certainties in life, for individuals and businesses alike. In this competitive industry, accountants who demonstrate expertise in tax matters should find a wealth of opportunity, especially with corporate clients, as there have been an increasing number of high-profile businesses whose financials have come under question recently. Public accountants may obtain their overall CPA certification and choose tax accounting as their specialty area. These professionals are among the majority of workers in accounting and auditing that currently perform accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services, according to the BLS. The demand for tax accountants is expected to hold steady over the next seven years, as more businesses expand into global commerce, and experts will be needed to keep businesses up-to-date on the latest tax-related financial laws and regulations.

Continuing Education:

Typically, practicing accountants make obtaining CPA status the first step in their career. After obtaining this credential, CPAs with an interest in tax accounting may go on to pursue additional more specific certification, as well as state licensure. Once certified, like all accountants tax accountants are required to maintain their credentials with frequent continuing education. American CPE caters to professionals specializing in focus areas like tax accounting, offering continuing professional education courses in estate and gift tax planning, asset protection and tax strategies, retirement planning, and corporate tax planning, among others. Tax accountants who take advantage of the many educational resources available to them will not only satisfy industry requirements, but may also have the ability to maximize their professional skills and be on the leading edge in their field.