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Accountant (Public Accountant)

A public accountant is responsible for preparing and analyzing financial reports for individuals and companies to ensure there are no discrepancies. 

Public accountants are external consultants and advisors for corporations, small businesses, non-profits organizations, government entities, and individuals. A public accountant differs from a private account: they remain completely objective and are not paid by the client’s payroll, but are paid through consulting fees. Meeting with clients is an essential part of a public accountant’s job duties. 

Sample Companies:

In addition to working for the well known public accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PWC), public accountants may work for smaller public accounting firms throughout the country. Some examples are:

Crowe Horwath
Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors across all industries make a median salary of $68,130 per year. The BLS estimates that the demand for accountants in all fields will increase by 11% between 2014 and 2024. Therefore public accountancy is a strong growth field for those looking to start accounting careers.

How to get there:

Public accountants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, preferably in accounting or a strongly related field like business or economics. Most public accountants also pursue a Master’s in Accounting or a Master's of Business Administration. A master’s degree qualifies the candidate to take the Uniform CPA Exam in most states.
Some of the duties of a public accountant include:

  • Auditing financial records
  • Preparing earnings statements
  • Completing cost accounting reports
  • Helping clients with their accounting problems

Important Qualities:

Hard working
Confident and enthusiastic
Collaboration and synthesis
Quick minded
Strategic thinking
Data driven
Fluent in speech


Requirements and Benefits of the CPA:

  • Requirements:
  • 150 semester hours of bachelor's, or typically, higher credit hours
  • Some states require at least one year of accounting experience
  • Pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination
  • Benefits:
  • Increased salary and benefits
  • Job Security
  • Career Development
  • Profession Satisfaction
  • Shows Experience and Expertise

Relevant Classes:

  • Composition I and Advanced Composition/Writing
  • CMN 101- Public Speaking
  • ACCY 200- Fundamentals of Accounting
  • CMN 211- Business Communication
  • ECON 426- Monetary Economics and Policy
  • ECON 460- Financial Economics
  • ECON 471- Intro to Applied Econometrics
  • *Actuarial Courses (MATH & FIN)

Relevant Clubs & Organizations:

  • Accounting Club
  • Finance Club
  • Econ Club
  • Econ Ambassadors