Top 5 Unusual Accounting Jobs

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Pursuing a career in accounting opens up more job opportunities than most students realize. Accountants are not only in a desirable profession, but can also work in a number of fields that many people likely don't consider. It's easy to believe the preconceived notions that accountants simply have to manage money, but in many situations their financial acumen has a wide range of applications. Here are five unique accounting jobs that those working toward their online degree should consider:

1. Forensic Accountant  
Who would've thought that accountants can be crime fighters? According to Jobs.net, being a forensic accountant or FBI finance expert requires a bachelor's degree as well as several years of professional experience. They also note that in the case of the FBI, the bureau favors multi-talented candidates such as those who can speak more than one language and have previous military or police experience. However, if you can get past the competition, this job promises to be very rewarding. Forensic accountants get to investigate issues such as fraud, money laundering and embezzlement. 

2. Sports Team Accountant 
According to the Houston Chronicle, many athletic franchises hiring accountants may require an MBA. In general, sports accountants are responsible for a lot of the financial responsibilities that go along with having a profitable club. Consider not only that expenditures must be monitored, but also that a franchise's success often depends on being able to negotiate with players, coaches, agents and sponsors. It often takes financial incentives to retain top talent as well as recruit new talent. Furthermore, sports accountants will likely have to manage the payroll of other personnel such as security, athletic trainers and other various staff. 

3. Entertainment Accountant 
Movie studios, music labels and other entertainment enterprises need accountants as well. Otherwise known as a production accountant, professionals in this role manage finances for those in show business. Though much time in this position is still dedicated to crunching numbers, entertainment accountants may get to rub shoulders with celebrities and other major players in the entertainment industry. For those considering this career path, it's important to learn a lot of entertainment-specific knowledge such as how to prepare taxes for television and film productions. Moreover, the fast-paced and star-studded entertainment industry can be very stressful at times, so accountants should prepare accordingly. 

4. Environmental Accountant 
Going green is a complicated process for any enterprise. While it may be easy for a company to say they're willing to invest in recycling, lowering energy costs or other environmental measures, businesses generally need to see a reasonable return on their investment when promising to take these measures. Environmental accountants are tasked with helping companies find methods for going green without breaking the bank. Accountants in this role also have the privilege of knowing they are helping the environment on a broad scale. 

5. Accountants for Startups 
In today's digital age, there seem to be more businesses and entrepreneurial ventures popping up than ever before. Through investment engines and crowdfunding sources, people are finding ways to transform passion projects into viable business models. However, just because someone has a great idea for the next fast food franchise, smartphone application or kitchen appliance, doesn't mean that they have a knack for making a business profitable. In general, accountants for entrepreneurs help new business owners make the most of the money they have and develop a plan for helping the venture succeed. 

Overall, these interesting positions bring an extra element to the profession of accounting. The perks in these unique roles can make the task of balancing the books all that much more rewarding. In general, accountants made a salary of $63,550 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau also notes that employment for accountants is supposed to go up 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. For students, these opportunities showcase the versatile applications of being an accountant. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor degree programs in business and online MBA programs. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_business.

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