Business Students at Computer

COCC offers the following accounting pathways

The Accounting Clerk Certificate is wholly contained within the AAS Business Administration Accounting specialization Degree and qualifies graduates for employment as Payroll Clerks, Billing Clerks, Accounting Clerks and New Account Clerks. Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks are employed in every industry, but a growing number work in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services firms, which increasingly perform the payroll function as a service to other companies. Median salary of $22,000 is based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Associate of Applied Science Business Administration Accounting Specialization Degree qualified graduates for employment as Accounting Managers, Full-charge Bookkeeper, Staff Accountants, Accounts Payable Managers, Accounts Receivable Managers, and Brokerage Clerks with additional experience and some licensure and certification requirements. Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks work in all industries and at all levels of government. Local governments and the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry are among the individual industries employing the largest numbers of these clerks. $32,000 is the median salary based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For those wishing to become Financial Managers, Certified Public Accountants, Auditors, or Financial Analysts the Associate of Science Oregon Transfer Business Degree will transfer toward a 4 year Bachelor's Degree. Accountants and Auditors work throughout private industry and government. 21 percent of wage and salary Accountants worked for accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services firms. Approximately 10 percent of Accountants or Auditors were self-employed. Many Management Accountants, Internal Auditors, or Government Accountants and Auditors are not CPAs; however, a large number are licensed CPAs. Most Accountants and Auditors work in urban areas, where public accounting firms and central or regional offices of businesses are concentrated. $56,000 is the median salary based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additional Certification and Advancement Opportunities

All employment opportunities benefit from membership in professional organizations and professional certification. Advancement opportunities vary by geographical region and business size.

The American Payroll Association offers two levels of certification in payroll and timekeeping, the Fundamental Payroll Certification and the Certified Payroll Professional. Completion of a certification program can show competence and can enhance advancement opportunities. The first is open to all individuals who wish to demonstrate basic payroll competency. The second and more advanced credential is available to those who have been employed in the practice of payroll for at least 3 years, among other requirements. Both certifications require experience and a passing score on an exam.

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, particularly those who handle all the record keeping for a company, may find it beneficial to become certified. The Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, demonstrates that individuals have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping functions, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts according to accepted accounting procedures. For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience, pass a four-part examination, and adhere to a code of ethics.

Licenses are not strictly required for most Brokerage Clerk positions, but a Series 7 brokerage license can make a clerk more valuable to the Broker. This license gives the holder the ability to act as a registered representative of the firm. A registered representative has the right to answer more of a client's questions and to pass along securities recommendations from the Broker. In order to receive this license, a Clerk must pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination (Series 7 exam), administered by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Agency), and be an employee of a registered firm for at least 4 months.

Any Accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This may include senior level accountants working for or on behalf of public companies that are registered with the SEC. CPAs are licensed by their State Board of Accountancy. Any Accountant who passes a national exam and meets the other requirements of the State where they practice can become a CPA. The vast majority of States require CPA candidates to be college graduates, but a few States will substitute a number of years of public accounting experience for a college degree.

Financial Managers may broaden their skills and exhibit their competency by attaining professional certification. Many associations offer professional certification programs. Most require professionals who have a bachelor's degree, pass multiple examinations, and meet work experience requirements. Continuing education is required to maintain most credentials. The Association for Financial Professionals confers the Certified Treasury Professional credentials to those who pass a computer-based exam and have a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience. Also, Financial Managers who specialize in accounting sometimes earn the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. The CMA is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants to its members who have a bachelor's degree and at least 2 years of work experience and who pass the institute's four-part examination and fulfill continuing education requirements.

For additional information contact specialized faculty Scott Hays Accounting 541.383.7715 or  James Ellis Accounting 541.383.7718,

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