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The Evolution of Accounting: Challenging Accounting Professionals to Learn New Skills

By DeVry University

Traditionally, an accounting professional is responsible for audits, tax services and bookkeeping. As the industry has progressed the accounting career path has expanded to include consultation, criminal investigations, international processes and even environmental economics.

“Today’s accountants need a widened skill set, leveraging both hard and soft skills,” said Shanae Bond, a Macy’s staff accountant and alumna of DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. “I use both fundamental accounting principles and economics, as well as critical thinking and customer service skills every day.”

With these talents at the ready, today’s accounting professionals are capable of tackling stricter regulations, enhanced technologies, tighter lending standards and the continued globalization of business. As the skills needed expand, so too does the demand in this field and its specialty areas. As such, the employment rate for accountants is expected to increase 13% by 2022.1

“Accounting is an exciting, expanding field. Going beyond traditional corporate and public accounting, the evolution of technology's role in accounting has allowed new concentrations to emerge,” says Sarah Engle, accounting professor in the College of Business and Management at DeVry University and owner of Black River Tax Prep. “Technology has expanded traditional boundaries associated with the profession. Mobile devices and cloud computing, for instance, allow small and mid-size accounting firms to broaden their reach to clients worldwide.”

Those interested in non-traditional accounting career paths may want to learn more about the following specialty areas:

-  Forensic: On the corporate side, forensic accountants work to eliminate internal fraud. Conversely, on the government side, these accountants work in agencies, such as the FBI, to investigate terrorists, spies and criminals involved with financial wrongdoings.2 Forensic accountants analyze personal records of potentially illegal activity, gather evidence and prepare legal actions against them.

-  Green: Environmental accountants help leaders make more informed decisions. Expertise in both traditional accounting and various environmental technologies are needed to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the future business costs.

-  International:This accounting career path necessitates a knowledge of international finance to investigate trade treaties and work on global mergers and acquisitions.3

DeVry University is helping to meet the demand of this booming industry with several degree programs that can lead to an accounting career. For more information visit