(ARA) - When disaster strikes a community, the humble laborer steps in to physically rebuild homes, schools, businesses and roads. When disaster strikes the economy, who will be the indispensable worker that will help rebuild the country's financial system? The humble accountant, of course.
While America's politicians struggle to implement a rescue package and reforms, accountants stand poised to play a key role in helping to rebuild the economy. That means opportunities for accounting jobs will continue to expand. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor has predicted continuing growth in accounting fields for the foreseeable future.
"Following the 1929 crash that led to the Great Depression, accountants took a critical role in helping to implement the regulations created by the then newly formed Securities and Exchange Commission," says Michael Brown, a CPA and instructor at DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management in Fort Washington, Pa. "Just as at that time, today much damage has been done to the public's confidence in our financial system. Just like in the 1930s, accountants will have to lead the way in restoring that confidence by working to provide information that people can understand and, more importantly, believe in."
"One of the keys to rebuilding the economy is to increase the confidence level of ordinary people," agrees Andrew Hildebrand, a CPA and dean of business programs at DeVry University's Fort Washington campus. "In times like these, people are looking for someone to help them navigate financial uncertainty. Accountants are able to assist individuals in planning for a possible layoff or to manage their budgets if the person is on unemployment."
Ashton Isenberg, a DeVry graduate who is now office manager and accountant at Kathryn E. Humecki & Associates, Ltd. in Olympia Fields, Ill., agrees. "The key is good advice," she says. "We have so many clients coming in that just got bad advice from someone. We see a lot of business owners who have been told what they want to hear so that whoever is 'advising' them gets a good pay day. That's not how we work. It's vital to create a strong relationship with clients and give them the best advice for their company."
Demand is growing for professionals to fill traditional accounting roles in emerging sectors like the government. "A variety of federal agencies like the FBI, IRS, DFAS and DCAA are seeking talented financial professionals for a variety of positions," Brown says. "There are also tremendous opportunities in higher education; need for professors of accountancy is critical. We're seeing accounting firms and organizations that are willing to fund doctoral candidates in accounting in order to bolster the pipeline for future college professors."
"One of the key areas that will continue to trend upward is forensic accounting," Hildebrand adds. "When businesses start going under, especially the big-name companies, people want to dig into why it happened."
Opportunities will continue to emerge in auditing, as well, he predicts. "With additional regulation usually comes an increased demand for assurance services. Those accountants willing to provide auditing services can benefit from this trend. It's important to note than only a certified public accountant can issue an audit opinion letter. This will result in additional demand for qualified CPA preparation course instructors."
It's possible to enter the field of accounting with an associate degree, so anyone looking to seize on the emerging opportunities in the accounting industry needn't necessarily make a four-year investment in education. DeVry University offers an associate degree in accounting that can be completed in as few as two years if students attend classes year-round. It's also possible to earn a master's and sit for the CPA examination in as few as five years (rather than the traditional seven or more) with the DeVry University-Keller Graduate School of Management-Becker Professional Review Fast Track program.
A bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting can open doors to careers in public, corporate or government accounting positions such as financial analyst, forensic accountant, information technology specialist, international accountant and tax consultant. Practicing accountants can also find opportunities to further their education — and advance their careers — with administration, financial advising and CPA-prep courses.
To learn more about DeVry University and career opportunities in accounting, visit www.devry.edu .