Sarbanes-Oxley and the New Accountant
What does a 2002 act of Congress have to do with today's online accounting degree student? Practically everything. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (officially termed the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002) was enacted in the aftermath of infamous tax reporting scandals like Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco. Much of investors' losses were attributed to false reporting of corporate accounting details. Today, anyone getting online training for an accounting career will need to understand the changes brought on by Sarbanes-Oxley.
Perhaps the largest implication of Sarbanes-Oxley is its creation of strict reporting requirements that have not only affected large corporations, but medium and small businesses. Increased reporting and audits mean fresh jobs for graduates with accounting degrees.
The Snowball Effect in Post-Sarbanes Accounting
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act will spark faster-than-average growth in accounting and auditing jobs through 2014. Entry-level accountants earn a median income of $53,870, according to the BLS.
The increase in auditing and reporting procedures created by the act also contributed to an immediate shortage in qualified accountants, according to a report by Inc.com. Prices for routine or Sarbanes-generated audits consequently rose by 30-50 percent.
That means that major corporations will spend millions to comply with new auditing rules, and they will doubtless pass the burden down the line, affecting businesses of every scale. You don't have to be a math major to add up the promising numbers that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act mean to accounting professionals. But you will need to complete your online education to land one of the new jobs.
You can also return to school to renew your credentials or learn new disciplines so you can change fields. If you earn a master's degree, you can move into education administration, curriculum design, or even the private sector. With demand on the rise for skilled teachers, advanced degrees may help you earn a raise or promotion.