What is Accounting?

Enhance your career prospects by learning accounting from a beginner to an advanced level. Discover diverse career opportunities including auditing clerk, accounting assistant, data scientist and financial analyst and enjoy the benefits of international opportunities.

Key Insights

  • Accounting, a popular major, involves recording financial transactions, essential for business decision-making and cost planning.
  • Accounting courses range from beginner to advanced level, covering topics such as tax returns, financial analysis, auditing, and international accounting.
  • Accounting principles are not region-specific, opening up international job opportunities for full accounting degree holders.
  • Accounting tools like QuickBooks and FreshBooks make the accounting process more efficient, saving businesses time and money.
  • A variety of professions require accounting skills, including Data Scientist, Financial Analyst, and Budget Analyst among others.
  • According to Indeed, an auditing clerk can earn an average salary of $40,839, while a financial analyst can earn an average salary of $81,590 annually.

Accounting is considered a popular major, and the demand for accountants is growing. It involves recording financial transactions and is necessary for decision-making and cost planning. Businesses use accounting to reflect on their financial positions and plan future tasks accordingly. Future projections can ensure a company's success, making a well-structured accounting process vital.

What Can You Do with Accounting?

Accounting can be a challenging but enjoyable field of study. Individuals can use their skills to start a business or improve their lives outside work. Generally, accounting courses provide valuable knowledge on managing a budget and expenses effectively. 

By completing accounting courses, individuals learn a broad range of topics. Beginner-level accounting courses cover tax returns, financial statements, and computer applications like Microsoft Excel. Advanced courses may dive deeper into financial analysis and presentation, auditing, fraud examination, and international accounting. The more courses an individual completes, the more options the same individual has. Each course opens doors to different career paths. Possible roles for those who have taken some accounting classes include an auditing clerk or an accounting assistant. 

Students who complete full accounting degrees may take advantage of international opportunities. Individuals who wish to work abroad can easily find jobs overseas, as most accounting principles are not specific to one region. Good recommendations for career advancements and can be used as stepping-stones for other degrees. There are several opportunities to volunteer for large organizations, as they constantly need more Accountants. Individuals can even use their degrees to further their education towards other topics, such as law. 

How Do You Get Accounting Tools?

There are accounting tools and software to make the accounting process more efficient. Different tools allow businesses to spend less time on busy work and keep things running smoothly. Standard accounting tools include accounting software and invoicing software. Accounting software is simple and can help businesses organize their daily transactions. Invoicing software may be built into accounting software and helps create effective systems for collecting customer payments. 

When choosing accounting tools, businesses should consider features specific to their needs, such as ease of use, accessibility, and price. A recommended accounting software is QuickBooks, which allows companies to save time, track money, and gain meaningful insights. The most basic version of QuickBooks is available for just 15 dollars per month. The software is online and doesn’t need to be downloaded. Getting QuickBooks up and running takes five minutes, and companies can switch plans or cancel anytime. 

FreshBooks is an accounting software that is recommended for invoicing. It is preferred by business owners, their teams, and accountants and can save businesses up to $7,000 a year in billable hours. Freshbooks’ pricing starts at just $15 per month and can help tremendously with cash flow. Individuals can download it to any PC, and apps are available for mobile devices and tablets.

Python is another tool that is entirely free to use. Companies can download Python and its frameworks to automate their workflow. Python is fast, can handle multiple spreadsheets, and enables powerful data analysis practices.

What Are the Benefits of Learning Accounting?

Accurate accounting is necessary for a company's growth, funding, and collection of payments. It is a critical business skill for owners and managers and ensures that a business’s financial records comply with the laws. By studying accounting, individuals can learn to manage their finances more effectively and make meaningful contributions at work. 

Those who own businesses should understand basic accounting principles to help advance their careers. Owners who learn accounting can better analyze financial statements. Once they can better read statements, they are prepared to make more informed business decisions. Other decision-makers should also learn accounting principles as they can make decisions that will further grow a company. No matter what an individual’s current role within a company. 

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Accounting Careers

There are a variety of professions in various industries that use accounting. The number of occupations requiring individuals well-versed in accounting is only predicted to continue to grow. Some industries that require accounting skills include colleges and universities, government agencies, healthcare providers, hospitality businesses, and retail stores. One profession requiring accounting skills is that of a Data Scientist. Data Scientists work to discover and analyze trends in data and then report their findings to stakeholders. They use FinTech to grow businesses within the financial services industry. 

Another profession requiring accounting skills is Financial Analyst. Financial Analysts must be able to process, measure, and communicate financial information about businesses. Financial Advisors also require accounting skills when they analyze their client’s finances. They ensure that clients meet their financial goals and conduct research to implement strategies to help clients in their financial operations. 

Budget Analysts use accounting to keep organizations on track financially. They review funding requests and analyze past data to create budgets and financial reports. The skills learned in accounting courses allow Budget Analysts to help organizations plan for their financial future through market trends, revenue, and expenses.

How to Learn Accounting

There are a variety of ways to get started with learning accounting. Those who enjoy interacting with instructors in real-time may want to enroll in live accounting classes–online or in-person. Many providers offer live online accounting classes, such as NYIM Training and NYC Career Centers. They teach an Intro to Financial Accounting course that exposes students to the most important concepts a financial accountant requires. Though online classes provide the most flexibility and options, it’s possible to find an in-person class. Future accountants can find in-person classes locally. If you’re in Southern California, UCLA Extension offers in-person courses in the heart of Los Angeles. Located elsewhere? Knowledge Academy provides accounting courses in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, and Leeds. Many in-person courses happen in or near large metropolitan areas. 

Not everyone can participate in live online or in-person classes, so some learners may wish to explore self-paced or asynchronous accounting classes. Udemy–one company providing video tutorials–offers The Complete Introduction to Accounting and Finance and Accounting: From Beginner to Advanced. Skillshare offers Accounting Fundamentals: Understanding Financial Statements. Udemy is not the only company teaching asynchronous classes. Other providers, including LinkedIn Learning and Brainy Money, have courses for curious individuals.

Noble also offers free accounting seminars. Tutorials, guides, blog posts, and YouTube videos are available. See their resources for in-depth accounting tutorials, like their Financial Modeling tutorials. Their YouTube videos provide detailed descriptions of accounting essentials and the steps needed to master them. Individuals can read articles, watch tutorials, and use other resources related to accounting to further their knowledge. They can also visit Noble’s Accounting classes page to find available courses, including more in-depth courses for those who wish to enter the field. 

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A Brief History of Accounting

We can trace the history of accounting back thousands of years ago—Bookkeepers began to record agreements made in the barter system regarding transactions with goods and services. There were dates and descriptions of trades or terms for services, which companies typically kept in individual ledgers. 

Later, corporations in the U.S. and the creation of the railroad transformed bookkeeping into accounting. Railroads allowed information to pass in days rather than months, quickening business transactions' speed. Years later, in 1887, the American Association of Public Accountants was established. The AAPA then brought on the professional title of the CPA, and within 20 years, the demand for CPAs skyrocketed. 

Comparable Fields

One field comparable to accounting is finance. Accounting has a narrow focus, while finance covers different specializations, such as business, economics, and banking. Finance involves managing investments, accounts, and financial documents. The three main types of finance include personal, corporate, and public. Finance professionals must have various skills, including accounting, management, problem-solving, and mathematics. Finance professionals typically have a bachelor’s degree in finance or business and may obtain a master’s degree to further their education. 

Another similar field is financial economics, which involves studying how to value the price of assets with uncertain returns. It deals with various financial markets and considers how resources are used. The two essential aspects of financial economics include preset value and risk management and diversification. Investors must know that the dollar's value today won’t be the same in the next ten to twenty years and that risk is inherent in nearly all financial activities.

Learn Accounting with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Individuals can learn accounting through finance classes with hands-on training at Noble Desktop. Finance courses boast small class sizes, expert instructors, and free retakes. Noble’s Financial Analyst Training Program teaches excel and critical financial and corporate finance options. Individuals gain basic and intermediate skills in Excel while learning to build a comprehensive valuation model for a public company. Critical concepts taught include advanced Excel for financial modeling and accounting, corporate finance, and valuation. 

Noble also offers Intro to Financial Accounting, through which individuals master the fundamentals of financial accounting and begin taking the next steps in accounting or finance. Enrollees see real-life examples and go through real 10-K’s to better understand how accounting concepts apply to large companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. 

Key Insights

  • Accounting can be traced to thousands of years ago when bookkeepers kept track of bartering agreements.
  • After the American Association of Accounting was established, experts pushed for creating a professional title for Accountants: CPA. The demand for this position has skyrocketed over the years. 
  • Finance and financial economics are two fields comparable to accounting.
  • Accounting has a narrow focus, while finance covers business, economics, and banking. 
  • Individuals can receive comprehensive accounting training through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop. 

How to Learn Finance

Master finance with hands-on training. Learning skills like financial modeling, stock investing, and data analysis can help pave the way to a career in finance or FinTech (financial technology).

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