How do I Become a Systems Accountant?
Many people who are trained in accounting want to become systems accountants. This position provides a unique combination of core accounting tasks and computer systems work. A systems accountant can work in either the accounting department or the information technology department, depending on a company's organizational structure. There are four items necessary to become a systems accountant: formal accounting training, computer systems training, analytical skills and creative problem-solving skills.
People who want to become a systems accountant will be detail-oriented, focused on their career and keen observers of business trends. The need for a traditional accountant is decreasing. The advent and integration of computers into all aspects of accounting has shifted the work requirements away from processing and calculating to management and analysis. These are well-compensated positions, and there are a host of career advancement opportunities available.
The first step to become a systems accountant is to complete a degree or diploma in accounting from a recognized college or university. Research the process to become a licensed accountant in your area, because some countries have specific exams or license requirements that must be completed. The length of time required to become a licensed or certified accountant varies between five years and seven years.
Completing additional training in computer systems is the next step to become a systems accountant. Post-graduate certifications in accounting systems are offered by most colleges and universities. These are part-time programs and are available on evenings, weekends and online. The combination of academic credentials in both accounting and computing are essential to this career.
The tasks required of a systems accountant primarily are analytical in nature. The most effective way to gain these skills is through related work experiences. A position as a financial or business analyst is a great way to get started. Independent learning through reading books about analytical methods or theories can be very helpful.
Creating problem-solving skills are essential for anyone who wants to become a systems accountant. Develop these skills through participation in team projects, initiatives and new assignments. Critical thinking is a formal methodology of creative problem-solving that is quite disciplined and might be useful for anyone who wants to become a systems accountant.
The career options for a systems accountant include working in a financial software company, large corporation or government agency. Remember that every organization with a computerized accounting system will need systems accountants. This specific combination of education and experience is necessary to implement, maintain and support the central system.
@SkyWhisperer - I’ll buy that, except that a computer can’t reason for you.
Accounting is not just crunching numbers. It’s looking at data and drawing conclusions. I think that’s why the CPAs get the big bucks and why they are so much in demand.
Companies look to them to provide an accurate picture of their financial situation. But yeah, having the computer background couldn’t hurt; I just say that not everyone needs to be a systems accountant.
@Mammmood - I know a guy who just graduated from college with a degree in accounting. He has been studying for his CPA exam, and apparently there is a chapter or section in his study guide on information technology.
He has asked me to help him understand it. Speaking as someone who has exposure to the software industry, the stuff he has to learn is quite light in my opinion.
I think if he could nail the CPA exam, and pursue some additional certification in systems accounting, he’d be worth a million dollars.
Of course, I’m biased. But the article is correct; a lot of traditional accounting functions have been automated so it helps if you know computer stuff.
My daughter is entering college and majoring in accounting. Like a good parent, I am encouraging her – and nudging her – into the right specialty to pursue.
Of course the choice is up to her, but I have been encouraging her to take computer science courses as well. She could even minor in it, if she wanted, but I told her she doesn’t have to go that far; she should just take some courses so she can learn to program and become familiar with information systems.
I didn’t realize that you could be a systems accountant. This might be just the right specialty for her, since she has the right analytical and creative skill set to do well in this position.
I am going to recommend it to her. I definitely think that any computer science training would be a “plus” to someone majoring in accounting, whether they wanted to be a systems accountant or not.
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