The image of accountants with green eyeshades and sleeve garters, making entries in oversized ledgers with quill pens, may be familiar to readers of historical fiction. However, these antiquated images are no longer valid today. Accounting has entered the computer age, and the demand for better and faster accounting hardware and software is exploding. You can get in on the ground floor of this computerized accounting revolution with an associate degree in accounting technology.
An accounting technology degree can give you the skills and knowledge you need to assist in the development or use of state-of-the-art products in an accounting practice. The combination of accounting and technical skills is highly prized by employers.
Accounting technology careers
Because the field of accounting technology is relatively new, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has not classified it as an individual occupation. However, here are some career opportunities open to individuals with an associate degree in accounting technology, and the median annual compensation for each as of May 2014:
- Billing and posting clerks, machine operators: $34,410
- Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks: $36,430
- Computer support specialists: $47,660
- Accountants and auditors: $65,940
- Computer programmers, applications: $77,550
Although a bachelor's degree is preferred for accountants and computer programmers, there are openings in both fields for associate degree holders. The BLS projects job growth to be very good to excellent in all these occupations between 2012 and 2022: 11 percent for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks; 15-21 percent for billing and posting clerks, 17 percent for computer support specialists; 13 percent for accountants and auditors; and 8 percent for computer programmers.
Accounting career training information
With an associate degree in accounting technology, you can either enter the workforce immediately, or use your knowledge as a springboard to a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate in accounting or computer technology. An associate degree typically takes two years to accomplish, whether you attend college on campus or elect to pursue an online associate degree. Online degrees are a popular option for those who wish to attend school around existing schedules and obligations.
An associate degree consists of completing general education requirements plus courses specific to the subject. A typical associate degree in accounting technology will include such program-specific coursework as:
- Payroll Accounting
- Database Systems
- Tax Fundamentals
- Business Math and Business Information Systems
- Accounting and spreadsheet programs such as QuickBooks, Peachtree, and Excel
Find an accounting technology school
Although accounting technology is a relatively new field, you may find a number of colleges and technical institutes that offer programs in this field. Some concentrate more on the application of technology to the operations of corporate and business accounting departments and CPA firms, while others prepare students to work in the development of computer and software applications to further streamline the process of accounting.
You can choose to pursue an online degree in accounting technology that emphasizes either career path, based on your individual interests and abilities. With a little research, you should be able to easily find an online associate degree program in accounting technology that suits your needs.
"Billing and Posting Clerks," Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes433021.htm
"Billing and Posting Clerks," O*NET OnLine, June 24, 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/43-3021.00
"Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm
"Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks," Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes433031.htm
"Computer Support Specialists," Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2011/may/oes151150.htm
"Computer Support Specialists," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm
"Accountants and Auditors," Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm
"Accountants and Auditors," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm
"Computer Programmers," Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151131.htm
"Computer Programmers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm