Accounting Information Systems Careers: Salary & Job Description

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Learn about a career as an accounting information systems professional. Get job description, salary and education requirement information. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a career in accounting information systems.
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Careers in Accounting Information Systems

Accounting information systems involves the design and maintenance of accounting systems. There are many ways to enter to this field, such as in computer and information systems management, accounting, bookkeeping or auditing positions. You can learn more here:

Computer & Information Systems Manager Accountant & Auditor Accounting Clerk
Career Overview Computer and information systems managers coordinate the information technology activities of an organization. Accountants and auditors prepare financial records and ensure that documents are accurate. Accounting clerks create financial documents and record transactions.
Education Requirement Bachelor's degree required, but master's degree preferred Bachelor's degree required, but master's degree preferred High school diploma required, but bachelor's degree preferred
Program Length 4-6 years, including the master's degree 4-6 years, including the master's degree 4-8 years, including the bachelor's degree
Certification & Licensure None Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure is required to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); voluntary certification available Certification is not required, but employers may prefer Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation
Experience Requirement Several years of experience in a related field Several years of experience in a related field Entry-level; on-the-job training is common
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 53,700 additional jobs expected (15% increase)* 142,400 additional jobs expected (11% increase)* 148,700 positions lost (8% decrease for all bookkeeping, auditing and accounting clerks)*
Mean Salary (2014) Roughly $136,280* Roughly $73,670* Roughly $38,070 (for all bookkeeping, auditing and accounting clerks)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Computer and information systems managers, also known as information technology (IT) managers, oversee the technological needs and goals of an organization. Typical duties include analyzing the computer-related needs of a company, upgrading applications, installing hardware and software, ensuring the security of electronic documents and researching new technology to improve a company's productivity. Few professionals perform all of these duties, and those focused on accounting information systems can expect to perform specific tasks related to financial and managerial accounting.

With the increased use of complex software and technology in the field of accounting, professionals can expect favorable job prospects with employment growing at a fast-as-average rate in comparison to all occupations. In addition, more companies are switching to faster networks and cyber threats are a growing trend, especially as companies begin to store data in advanced databases and through cloud computing, leading to an increased demand for IT managers.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in a related field is the entry-level requirement for a career as an IT manager. You should look for programs that offer related coursework, such as computer programming, software development, information science and mathematics. Employers may also prefer applicants with a master's degree, like the Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Management Information Systems (MIS).

Most employers require several years of relevant work experience, yet the amount of time required varies. For instance, a position in lower-level management requires only a few years, while a chief technology officer (CTO) could need more than fifteen years of work experience before being promoted to this role. Furthermore, professionals should have significant experience in the field of accounting in order to specialize in accounting information systems.

In December 2012, some employers of computer and information systems managers were looking for the following:

  • An accounting firm in New York wants to hire an information systems auditor with a bachelor's degree in computer science, management information systems or accounting. Candidates should have at least three years experience with technology audits, preferably in a public accounting, manufacturing or financial service environment. The ability to work with Oracle, Windows, IBM, UNIX and Sybase mainframes is necessary, and professional credentials were preferred.
  • An oil refining company in Oklahoma wants to hire an accounting information systems specialist with a bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting or information technology. Candidates must also have at least five years experience and knowledge of database structures and accounting information systems. Strong communication, analytical and problem-solving skills are essential.
  • A skincare and cosmetics company in Texas wants to hire a senior information systems auditor to perform multiple internal audit examinations through computerized information systems. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in business administration, computer science or accounting, although a master's degree is preferred. While the employer would also prefer a candidate with a current Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license, those with a working knowledge of generally accepted accounting, auditing and information systems auditing standards may be considered.

Standing Out

In order to stand out as a computer and information systems manager, you may want to consider earning a dual degree in accounting and field related to management information systems. In addition, earning an advanced degree could lead to better job prospects. You should also stay up-to-date on all of the latest technological trends, such as by taking continuing education courses, attending seminars or workshops and even completing self-study.

Accountant and Auditor

Accountants and auditors prepare, examine and ensure the accuracy of financial records, such as balance sheets, income statements and tax forms. Duties include ensuring that financial statements comply with regulations, maintaining accurate financial records, ensuring that taxes are paid correctly, assessing a company's financial operations, suggesting methods for improving profits and explaining all findings to clients and managers. Professionals may specialize in a specific industry, such as risk management, forensics, asset management or taxation. In addition to management and government positions, there are information technology auditors who can ensure that a company's computer systems and accounting information systems are reliable.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in accounting is an entry-level requirement, although many professionals have a master's degree in either business administration or accounting. Work experience is necessary for employment, and internships are highly recommended. Being a CPA is required to file reports through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), although many professionals pursue this license to improve job prospects.

CPAs are licensed through a state's accountancy board. To earn this designation, candidates must complete 150 semester hours of postsecondary coursework and successfully pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA Examination offered through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Continuing education courses are required to maintain this license.

In December 2012 and January 2013, some employers of accountants and auditors were looking for the following:

  • A charity in West Virginia wants to hire an accountant with a bachelor's degree in accounting. Applicants must be working towards earning their CPA license and have experience with QuickBooks.
  • In Pennsylvania, an accounting and auditing services company wants to hire an accountant with a bachelor's degree in accounting and at least two years of experience working as a professional accountant using computerized accounting systems and spreadsheet software. Knowledge of software applications for financial management and payroll services is essential.
  • A nonprofit healthcare firm in Michigan wants to hire an accountant with an accounting degree and 1-2 year of experience, especially with payroll. Responsibilities include performing account analyses, reviewing the online banking report, preparing the daily cash statements and posting payments to the general ledger.
  • In New York, a financial services company is looking for an IT auditor with 3-7 years of related experience, such as in Big 4 accounting and auditing. Experience related to IT and project management, as well as professional certification, would be a plus for applicants.
  • A staffing firm in Pennsylvania wants an IT auditor with a bachelor's degree from a related field and at least three years of experience. Strong skills in analysis, project management and communication are also required; professional certification is an advantage.

Standing Out

Competition is strong for positions as an accountant or auditor, so you should consider earning an advanced degree, obtaining licensure as a CPA and gaining multiple certifications. You can also gain valuable work experience while earning your bachelor's degree in accounting by participating in multiple internships with public accountants.

Certification is voluntary, but can improve job prospects. Options include the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designations. Requirements vary, but typically require meeting an experience and education requirement, as well as passing an examination.

Accounting Clerk

Employed in all industries, accounting clerks produce and record an organization's financial records and transactions. Typical duties include using accounting software to post financial transactions, record income, reconcile records, check accounts for accuracy and produce financial reports. Being that a majority of work is performed through specialized software, professionals must have strong computer skills and proficiency in popular programs, such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Office Suites.

Accounting clerks tend to be employed by larger companies, and may specialize in a specific type of account, such as accounts receivable or accounts payable. Most clerks work full-time, although longer hours can be expected during tax season or at the end of the fiscal year. Those employed in retail tend to work overtime during peak seasons.

Requirements

A high school diploma is the entry-level requirement for professionals in this field, although many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor's degree in accounting. Most training is acquired on-the-job, and training in specialized computer software is necessary, which can take take six months to complete. Professionals can advance to roles as accountants and auditors with additional education and experience.

In December 2012, some employers of accounting clerks were looking for the following:

  • In Texas, an automotive sales and repair services business wants to hire an accounting clerk with a degree in finance, accounting, business or a related field. Experience with QuickBooks and Microsoft Office Suites is preferred, as are strong communication and organizational skills.
  • An electronics business in Virginia wants to hire an accounting clerk with at least two years of experience in administration and customer service. Candidates must have strong organizational, communication and multitasking skills.
  • In Florida, a consumer packaged goods manufacturing company wants to hire an accounting clerk with a bachelor's degree and 3-5 years of accounting experience. Candidates must be proficient with QuickBooks.

Standing Out

To stand out as an accounting clerk, you should take advantage of the significant number of technological changes affecting this field by becoming proficient in specialized accounting software and accounting information systems. You could also gain valuable work experience through internships.

Related voluntary professional certification in this field is available, such as the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation. The CB credential requires at least two years of experience and a 4-part examination.

Popular Schools

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    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Master of Science in Finance
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    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Accounting
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      • Bachelor: Auditing-Forensic Accountancy
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    4. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
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    5. Regent University

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    7. Virginia College

    Program Options

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    10. Post University

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Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Georgetown University

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Kaplan University

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Saint John's University

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  • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
  • Master of Science in Taxation

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Regent University

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  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
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  • Bachelor of Science in Business - Accounting

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • PhD in Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • MS - Accounting

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Virginia College

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  • Diploma Program - Business Administration

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Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Bookkeeping

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