Accounting isn’t known for flexible schedules; that’s why consulting jobs in the accounting industry are so popular. Accountants can work long hours for big pay or choose part-time hours and enjoy time with the family. Here are five broad-ranging opportunities for independent work.
Ever since the invention of the spreadsheet in 1979, the accounting industry has been adapting new technology. Someone has to install that software and explain it to end users. That’s what accounting software consultants, Quickbooks consultants and accounting IT consultants do. In this role, accountants combine computer skills and basic accounting knowledge to get clients comfortable with new software. This can be done through a specific technology company or a consulting firm. Either way, it requires extensive travel to client sites and a high level of patience.
For full flexibility, some accountants turn to freelance consulting. The pay is unsteady, but workers can control their own schedule and client load. Plus, with the right business sense, freelance accountants can rake in the cash. This is a great option for experienced professionals who want to move away from the long hours of regular accounting jobs but aren’t ready to retire. Newer accountants might struggle to find enough work to support their needs.
Not all accountants can work in personal finance. Those who do often pursue additional training and certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Accountants who want to take their career to the next level earn the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This certificate requires an unrestricted CPA license and 3,000 hours of work in the personal finance field. Accountants in consulting work will have an easier time finding work with this valuable certification already under their belts.
Business Systems Consultant
Business systems planning (BSP) is a method for improving corporate performance by analyzing every step of the organization’s structures. Companies prefer to hire outside consultants who can provide a fresh look at the business model, and consulting firms love hiring accountants to manage the financial analysis of the BSP program. This is a good role for accounting consultants who want to work on a small team of experts rather than strike out on their own. It’s not a good option for those who want a low-stress, low-stakes consulting job.
SAP ERP Consultant
SAP ERP is one of the most popular business software packages in the world. It’s used to optimize large business processes, many of which center around accounting. Many firms are turning to licensed accountants to help implement this software because it’s easier to train an accountant in basic business practices than teach accounting to a business executive. Corporations often hire consultants to initiate SAP ER evaluation. Accounting graduates will stand out in a crowded sea of master’s of business administration (MBA) applicants.
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A degree in accounting is a rock-solid investment because of the hard skills students learn. Businesses and consumers will always need financial experts to guide their financial strategies, evaluate existing programs and optimize financial performance. This constant need ensures that consulting jobs in the accounting industry will remain plentiful and rewarding.