There is a lot more to accounting than financial statements, audits, and taxes.

If you know accounting, you can follow the money as it flows through your company. This is an extremely important skill, one that is highly valued in major corporations. Think of deep accounting knowledge as a tool that can unlock a lot of different career paths – including many outside of the accounting profession.

Simply put, accounting builds your business IQ.

A Technical Foundation

In any career, you’ll be expected to be a good steward of your organization’s financial resources. That means understanding your sources of revenue and costs, keeping track of financial information, and making good decisions based on that information.

To someone with accounting knowledge, those things become second nature. No matter what industry you’re in, accounting know-how instantly makes you one of the smartest people in the room.

There Is a Lot You Can Do With Deep Accounting Knowledge

In the C-Suite:

Senior managers must understand their organization’s complete financial picture and make sound financial decisions. They need experience in budgeting, profit and loss management, and setting financial strategy, among other things.

When Managing Projects:

Before a new project is approved, many companies require that its potential return on investment be calculated. Once the project is kicked off, project managers – no matter what their industry or functional area in the company – are expected to manage costs and other financial aspects of their projects.

While Doing Business Abroad:

Global business is increasingly a reality. Analysts and managers must understand the differences in doing business in different countries, from tax liabilities to currency fluctuations.

When Dealing With the Law:

All organizations need to understand how contracts, taxes, and other legal matters affect their finances. This requires the expertise of a trained accountant. Law firms and law enforcement agencies frequently need accountants to help them analyze and interpret financial information of all kinds.

Allison Elia, director of operations for a nonprofit organization in Columbus, Ohio, describes how she’s putting her new accounting skills to work, helping her organization become more efficient as it serves the needs of her community’s youth.

In Serving the Public Good:

Government agencies and nonprofits may be mission-driven rather than profit-focused, but they still need professionals to ensure they’re managing their money according to the constraints set by legislators, donors, and the law.

Whenever Trust Is Important:

Leaders must make decisions based on the information they have. They need to be confident that the numbers are right and that there are no hidden nuances that might steer their decisions down different paths. Accountants are frequently the guardians of this trust, making their role critical at the highest levels of any organization.

Many, Many Choices

Think accounting is only for accountants? Think again. Adding accounting skills to your career arsenal will give you access to a lot of potential jobs in a lot of different organizations and industries.

Want to go higher on the corporate ladder? Want to move to another company? Want to start your own venture? A little accounting knowledge may be exactly what you need to make the jump.

What’s Your Business IQ?

Learn more about how accounting can make you smarter. Where do you stand now? Test your Business IQ and find out.

The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers the #1-ranked online Master of Accounting degree. Built for working professionals from ALL backgrounds and starting every three months, the flexible program can be completed in as little as 12 months or can be extended to up to 36 months.

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