What will careers in accounting look like by 2020? If you’re asking this, you’re not alone. A lot of new graduates in the United States are asking the same thing right now.

While entry-level positions for those with a bachelor’s degree are expected to grow approximately 11%, the Bureau of labor statistics estimates demand for those with a master’s degree to grow almost twice as much, at an astounding 21.7% through 2020.

If you want to cash in on one of these opportunities, this article will show you how. It all comes down to the types of accounting jobs you’re looking for and where you’re looking for them. Let’s start with the first point.

Current Trends for Careers in Accounting

The common trend the industry is seeing is that the most talented accountants job hop. Low pay is cited as the top reason competent workers leave after a couple of years. Without the raises they deserve, talented employees are finding work elsewhere.

With this in mind, remember that your first job does not need to be your last. Plan on gaining what you can from each employer to ask for more money at your next job. Entry level accounting jobs can be low pay, but you can move up fast.

Make sure you are not being underpaid by checking out our job board now.

Do I Need a Master’s Degree to Have a Successful Career in Accounting?

It helps but not all jobs in finance are high paying. Some types of accounting, like bookkeepers, don’t need a degree at all. Don’t hold yourself back, take inventory of your skills and start applying for relevant jobs.

Higher paying jobs can still be had without a graduate degree. Accounting careers need more than degrees. Improve these three aspects of your job search:

Social Media: Active social media accounts show strong people skills. They want accountants who can make their work easy to understand for others. Post content relevant to where you want to be in your career. Don’t forget to engage with others. This is where recruiters will find potential hires.

Experience With The Cloud: Everyone uses the cloud. Both Amazon and Microsoft offer free training for their cloud software. This is a necessity for all careers in accounting. You will be asked to turn vast amounts of data into meaningful information.

Be Open To Temp Work: The American staffing association says around 3 million employees work with staffing companies every week. When there is a merger, temporary accountants are hired.

The same goes for new compliance regulations. There are many situations where complex accounting work is only needed for a short time. These opportunities allow you to build your resume while not tying you down to one employer.

How Do I Get a Job at a Hedge Fund?

Hedge funds provide the highest paying entry level accountant salary. The industry has a reputation for being hard to break into. Median pay is around $200,000 after about 4-5 years of experience.

If working at a hedge fund is your goal, it is important to factor this in from the beginning. Hedge funds highly prefer candidates with prior experience at a similar fund. So once you’re in, it is going to be much easier to progress your career.

Most accountants starting at a hedge fund become analysts. A chartered financial analyst is considered the gold standard for investment professionals. So what does a CFA do that is different than the similar sounding CPA?

The CFA exams train you in portfolio management. Portfolio management is the highest paid department, after the fund’s founders.

The University of Southern Mississipi studied job satisfaction and pay within accounting jobs. Satisfaction and pay were highest for CPA’s and CFA’s. Neither needs an advanced degree.

Nearly 22% of all portfolio managers are CFA’s. Taking even the first level of the exam will show employers you are serious about your career.

Asset management companies are the largest employer of CFA’s. There has been a 5% increase of employees who have passed at least one level of the CFA exam within this past year. This is why it is important to take each level of the exam as soon as you are ready.

Other Markets to Find Careers in Accounting

Asset management is not the only market on the lookout for talented CFA’s. Private equity firms are beginning to ask for CFA charters in their hiring process. With over $3.8 trillion in assets invested in private equity, there are many opportunities.

As more private equity funds look to diversify their workforce more of these jobs will open up. The great thing about the CFA charter is that you can list each level of the exam on your resume as you complete them. Goldman Sachs hires more CFA candidates than any other employer.

They often hire applicants who have only completed level 1 of the exam. Higher levels can be completed as you gain more experience in your accounting career. Rather than try to get all your credentials before looking for work, look at work as part of your schooling.

The Bloomberg Terminal can also be used as a job board. Many libraries offer free access to the otherwise expensive service. Once in the terminal, type JOBS to see all listings. These jobs are less visible to the general public, meaning less competition.

So, Are Careers in Accounting Worth the Time and Money?

Higher paying careers in accounting are plentiful if you are pursuing hedge funds and private equity firms. Don’t let not having an advanced degree impede your job search.

The best ROI on career training resides in the path to becoming either a CFA or CPA. Both of these exams need you to have over a hundred hours of work experience before taking them.

Your first step is going to be getting an entry-level accounting job at a relevant company. Work hours are an important prerequisite to taking the exams you need.

Once you have a job, use our online MBA program search to find a program that will increase your job skills. Explore your other options and career paths throughout the rest of the site.