Students graduating with a major in Accounting may pursue careers in a variety of professional settings. Accountants work in public accounting firms, business and industry, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and education. A major in Accounting also provides a background for students who plan to pursue graduate studies in accounting or related fields. In public accounting firms, accountants will perform audits, compile financial statements, establish and maintain accounting systems, prepare budgets and business plans, assist in tax planning, prepare income tax returns, represent clients before government agencies, and help individuals manage their personal finances. In business and industry, accountants analyze and report on company operations, prepare long-range plans and budgets, analyze investment decisions, maintain accounting systems, prepare annual stockholder reports, and examine and evaluate financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls. Accountants in government evaluate the efficiency of government departments and agencies. In the nonprofit sector, they help organize and solve tax problems, set up internal control systems, budget resources, and prepare financial fund-raising data. Accountants in education instruct students in areas such as auditing, accounting, and ethics and have the opportunity to conduct research to expand the body of accounting knowledge.
According to the 2008 Occupational Handbook, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will have a very large number of new jobs arise, almost 226,000 over the projections decade. An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws, and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization’s stakeholders will drive growth.
Each semester, Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Business Administration places student interns in a wide variety of businesses and agencies where they interact with professionals and participate in solving day-to-day problems. The internship opportunity provides students with increased understanding of principles learned in the classroom, the potential to develop a network of professional contacts, enhanced self-confidence and skills, and the ability to earn money for college and personal expenses. To participate in the internship program, students must be enrolled in the School of Business Administration, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0, and be second semester juniors. They also must have completed 6 credits in the major and have completed all Business core courses except BUS 364Y and BUS 462. Interested students should contact the Accounting Program Coordinator.