When it comes to charting their careers, accountants and other financial experts are limited only by their imagination. Accounting jobs are available in literally every type of organization. If you are a finance professional, whatever your hobbies or interests — sports, travel, entertainment, the environment — you can potentially leverage your expertise to find a dream job.
Consider some of these accounting jobs. Though they're not actual job titles, they could be.
Accountant to the stars
You may not think of Hollywood as a mecca for accounting jobs, but it is. Celebrities need trustworthy financial advisers to help them manage the practical aspects of their lives. They need to make sure their payroll for personal assistants is met, that income and property taxes are paid (multiple homes don't come without some record-keeping headaches) and that charitable and political donations are made as promised.
And it's not just jet-setting Hollywood celebrities who need financial help: Movie studios and film and television production companies also need accountants. After all, someone has to run the numbers to determine that an A-lister can't have a raise or that the Oscar-winning director's next film is over budget.
The financial sleuth
Accountants have yet to get the glamorized treatment that FBI agents and crime scene investigators get in the entertainment world. Ever heard of "CPA: New York City," for example? Didn't think so. But that doesn't mean that accounting jobs lack intrigue.
Agencies such as the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hire their share of financial analysts and accountants, including those who specialize in forensic accounting. Accountants can work for the FBI or even become special agents, applying their backgrounds to a variety of federal investigations.
Accountants working in these types of agencies might be involved in everything from investigating large-scale financial frauds to tracing the money trail of terrorist organizations or locating foreign assets to freeze.
Read this fascinating interview with a crime-fighting forensic accountant.
Environmentally conscious accountant
If being green is just as important to you as making the green, you might consider accounting jobs that specialize in helping organizations trying to become more eco-friendly while also staying profitable. Many large corporations hire environmental accountants to help them find ways to reduce energy costs, manage pollution, maintain compliance with environmental regulations and make greener products.
The sports junkie number cruncher
Sports stars need accounting help, too. You can bet that high-profile figures such as NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball players have their financial advisers at the top of their contacts list. Sports-related organizations also need accountants, from professional sports franchises to ski resorts and golf courses.
So if you're one of those people whose idea of news consists mostly of ESPN updates, or you think that golf and weekends are synonymous concepts, you might consider combining your passion for sports with your aptitude for numbers.
Take a closer look at the opportunities available in sports accounting.
If travel is your thing, accounting is a good profession for you. Whether you work in public accounting or private industry, travel opportunities tend to go with the territory. Public accounting firms often send auditors and consultants to client sites all over the world for extended periods. Moreover, if you put in a few years at an international accounting firm, you may be eligible for a foreign assignment.
And that's just if you stay in public accounting. If you've got the travel bug, there are also accounting jobs available with travel-related businesses, such as an airline, cruise line or luxury hotel chain.
Long before "Project Runway" got popular, fashion designers relied on accountants to help them run the numbers side of their business. No matter how exciting the latest fashion line may be, it can hardly be labeled a success if it puts a designer in the red. Although designers always appreciate others "who speak Prada," they also need professionals who speak cost accounting.
As these examples illustrate, accounting jobs can make for highly versatile — and potentially exciting — roles. Sure, not every accountant gets to meet with a celebrity at his Italian villa or sit in the VIP section at the Super Bowl, but it's not inconceivable either. With effort, persistence and a little luck, professionals who actively seek to combine their personal interests and passions with their financial skills may discover that virtually anything is possible.
Accounting involves more than just fluency with spreadsheets. Check out these four career skills that can help you succeed as an accountant.