Business success requires keeping score of all operations and adapting to changes in the business environment effectively. Accounting enables businesses to keep score of their operations while at the same time providing solutions to emerging challenges. Accounting makes it possible for businesses to create financial reports that can be used to secure funding, gauge growth, and establish profitability. Most importantly, accounting is a vital tool for managers and business owners in reviewing the efficiency of their business operations thereby making it an essential tool for decision making. Today, the accounting field has a wide range of job opportunities and career options. Accountants who are competent and have the right skills for their jobs can drive their businesses to success.
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Career Options in Accounting
Persons with accounting education can pursue many career options. However, most options are dependent on the level of one’s education. Low level positions such as accounting clerk or bookkeeper require high school diploma to secure. The position of accountant on the other hand requires no less than a bachelor’s degree. Accountants with degrees and those who have been certified (CPAs) have many career options with better pay. Some of the career options for accountants include management analysts and cost estimators.
Management analysts play a significant role in business operations. Their work is majorly concerned with line of business analysis. They analyze the cost of doing business and make suggestions for lean operations. They also analyze contracts to see how they will impact the business and advise the management accordingly. Management analysts also analyze the structure of their organizations to ensure that they use resources optimally.
In summary, management analysts ensure that wastage is minimized and that available resources are used efficiently to the benefit of the organization. The profitability of any business is highly dependent on its ability to minimize costs, which makes management analysts important to all businesses (Phillips, Chang & Buzzell, 1983).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), “Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service.” Cost estimators may specialize in a type of product, line of production, or industry. Their work is to ensure that the management and other workers are aware of how long it will take to produce a new product or complete a project.
They also work out the amount of money required to complete a project or produce a specific quantity of goods. Cost estimators are especially important when new products are being developed (Kiziltas & Akinci, 2009). In such cases, they do not only help in estimating the quantity of resources required in producing the new product but also the time and labor it will demand.
Essential Skills in Accounting
ATK Aerospace announced an opening for a financial analyst in their Clearfield, UT location (Jobview.monster.com, 2014). The vacancy, which was announced on Wednesday November 12, 2014, is to be filled by someone who will be responsible for both the company’s programs and plant. The candidate will also work closely with other departments and leaders in the company to ensure success. Some of the responsibilities of the financial analyst include:
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- Carrying out financial analysis of projects and reporting his/her findings
- Developing budgets for upcoming projects
- Estimation of new product prices
ATK Aerospace is undeniably the world’s leading manufacturer of rocket propulsion systems. The company is also a major supplier of military equipment and satellites. It is a big company with high performance expectation and work pressures. Working in such an environment requires special skills including positive attitude, analytical skills, team player, and strong communication skills.
A financial analyst in such a big company will need to liaise with other departmental heads and managers to guide the company through its investment decisions. He or she will also need to assess the company’s stock performance since it is a listed company. These tasks require a close relationship with other managers which make communication skills essential not to mention being a good team player. Being a successful financial analyst also requires strong analytical skills because investment decisions need analyzing several viable options and selecting only the most promising one. Such a role cannot be rested on the shoulders of a person with no analytical skills.
ATK Aerospace could benefit in many ways if they hire a qualified and competent financial analyst. Currently, the company has a robust approach to business. It is producing solid rocket propulsion systems, satellites, solar arrays, among other technologies. A financial analyst would help the company narrow down its approach to business to ensure that they produce only the most profitable products and enjoy the benefits of specialization.
In conclusion, accounting plays a vital role in the success of businesses. Accountants help businesses in identifying viable investment opportunities, minimizing wastage, optimizing the use of available resources, projecting business growth, and suggesting ways of minimizing the effects of market turbulences. The centrality of accounting to the success of businesses means that the accounting career will always remain relevant as long as businesses continue to exist.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Accountants and Auditors. Web.
Jobview.monster.com. (2014). Financial Analyst. Web.
Kiziltas, S., & Akinci, B. (2009). Contextual Information Requirements of Cost Estimators from Past Construction Projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 135(9), 841–852.-841–852.
Phillips, L., Chang, D., & Buzzell, R. (1983). Product Quality, Cost Position and Business Performance: A Test of Some Key Hypotheses. Journal of Marketing, 47(2), 26-43.