Black-eyed Susans are blooming outside the Haworth College of Business.

Career Pathway: Accountancy

If you've got a head for numbers, a major in accounting can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a wide variety of interesting careers in the business, government, nonprofit organizations and public accounting. You will learn to analyze and solve problems, think critically, communicate effectively and use information technology. The accountancy major also provides an excellent foundation for careers in law and education.

  • Where do I start for a career pathway in accountancy?

    Start by making an appointment with the Zhang Career Center, which can assist you in discovering your career interests and values. The accountancy industry includes employees who tend to be conventional and enterprising. They value achievement, independence and support according to O*Net. Find out if your work preferences match careers in accountancy by taking the Focus2 assessment.

    What is accountancy?

  • What skills are accountancy employers seeking?

    Technical skills are part of the proficiencies that are required for a job and may be developed in your major coursework. Accountancy-oriented technical skills desired are experience with QuickBooks, GAAP knowledge, fluency in Microsoft Excel, ERP experience (SAP, Oracle), knowledge of structured query language (SQL), data analytics and COGNOS. 

    Interpersonal skills enable you to succeed and are often developed outside of the classroom. Accountancy-oriented interpersonal skills include active listening, critical thinking, complex problem solving, systems analysis, public speaking, management and leadership experience, integrity, attention to detail and an analytical mindset.

    What careers involve these accountancy skills?

  • How can I obtain an internship?

    There are many different ways to acquire an internship, online or in person. Visiting the Internship Catalog and the Career Outcomes Report can help you learn about the companies that have previously employed accounting students.

    Handshake is WMU’s employment website. All students should set up an account and publish a resume. Resumes made public by the student are searchable by employers.

    Students use their Handshake accounts to view internship and full-time job opportunities posted by employers and sign up for on-campus interviews. For more information, visit the Zhang Career Center.

  • Student groups and supporting events at WMU Haworth

    Accountancy student groups include the Accounting Club, Beta Alpha Psi and National Association of Black Accountants. Other organizations include VITA Tax Counseling Initiative, Business Association of Mentors, DECA at WMU, Delta Sigma Pi, Leadership and Business Strategy, Phi Chi Theta and Women's Business Network.

     Events supporting the accountancy major include the following:

    • Meet the Firms
    • Business Career Day
  • NACE Career Readiness Competencies

    The Zhang Career Center at the Haworth College of Business empowers learners to launch successful business careers by engaging them in innovative programming focused on professional readiness, while developing partnerships with global, regional and local leaders who hire students. As pioneers in career readiness programs and experts in customer service, staff members in the career center strive to meet the needs of all students and employers.

    Career readiness competencies include:

    • Career and self-development
    • Communication
    • Critical thinking
    • Equity and inclusion
    • Leadership
    • Professionalism
    • Teamwork
    • Technology

    Visit the NACE competencies online to learn more.

Careers in Accountancy

Tasks and processes in accountancy:

Accounts payable and receivable, balance sheets, billing cycles, client relationship management, commercial lending, cost of goods sold (COGS), dividend(s), financial statements, GAAP, inventory management, lending, markets, mergers and acquisitions, mutual fund(s), net worth, overhead, profit and loss statement (P&L), real estate, reconciliations, stock(s), tax accounting, underwriting, venture capital and more.

Careers in accountancy:

Financial Manager:

  • Banking center manager
  • Banking officer
  • Credit administration manager
  • Financial center manager
  • Service center manager

Cost estimation:

  • Acquisition cost estimator
  • Cost and risk analyst manager
  • Cost analyst
  • Cost consultant

Accounting:

  • Accountant
  • Accounting officer
  • Certified public accountant (CPA)
  • Cost accountant
  • Financial reporting accountant

Budget Analysis:

  • Analyst
  • Budget officer
  • Financial services officer
  • Management and budget analyst
  • Policy analyst
  • Staff analyst

Auditor:

  • Internal auditor
  • Audit partner
  • Revenue tax specialist
  • Assurance manager
  • Financial auditor
  • Audit manager

Controller:

  • Controller
  • Comptroller
  • Finance manager
  • Treasurer
  • Chief financial officer
  • Director of finance

Business Externship opportunities

The Business Externship Program provides career exploration opportunities that connect students in Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business with mentors, many of whom are WMU alumni. Current accountancy externship opportunities include BDO, Deloitte, DOW, Plante Moran and many more. Learn more about the program.

Major research tools

Book an appointment

Zhang Career Center

To schedule an appointment, book with online portal or call (269) 387-2711 today.