How Do I Become an Environmental Accountant?

Environmental AccountingFor those people who may be concerned about environmental issues along with an interest in a career in finance, may be wondering how to become an environmental accountant. An environmental accountant is the perfect career to mesh these two passions together. Unlike a traditional accounting career where the primary focus revolves around the financial gains and losses of a particular company, an environmental accountant deals with the ecological expenses of a company’s business agenda. They report on various topics like finding the most efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gases, the expense of pollution, and the economic implications of converting to green technology, according to Scientific American. In order for someone to become a professional environmental accountant, they must take the same steps that a conventional accountant would take, which includes earning a degree in higher-education, becoming a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), and gaining experience on the job.

Educational Requirements

The majority of environmental accountants have earned their credentials as a CPA, which typically involves earning a Bachelor’s degree and passing an exam in order to get certified. Although, it’s important to point out that very few universities and/or colleges offer an academic discipline, as such, for an environmental accountant. Therefore, you should take classes in economics, mathematics, and general accounting. In order to become an environmental accountant, it’s likely you must be up-to-date on both national and local regulations relative to greenhouse gases and pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Usually, excellent communication skills are a top priority if you want to succeed in this field. Quite often, you must be able to work cohesively in a team setting consisting of professionals from several various fields of work including staff accountants, lawyers, public relations executives, and scientists.

Employment Opportunities

Not every company utilizes specialized accountants, so it may be better to search for employment with businesses that are more geared towards ecological concerns if you want to become an environmental accountant. Generally speaking, this will involve companies that are basically watched by environmental protection agencies like power and oil companies, along with other various manufacturers including paper, chemical, and automobile companies. Also, larger companies are inclined to hire environmental accountants as well. Other additional career opportunities include employment at government agencies, non-profit organizations, and general accounting firms.

Featured Programs

Related Resource: Ph.D in Accounting

The Role of an Environmental Accountant

Once a CPA has become specialized regarding environmental accounting, they typically perform their role by gathering and evaluating information concerning a company’s materials flow and pollution controls. These specialized reports are usually shared with a wide audience that may include company investors and regulatory agency representatives as well as internal executives. Furthermore, it’s likely that an environmental accountant will be asked to think about how a particular industry utilizes natural resources and the broad impact that may have on the environment on both a national and local level. However, an industry’s primary interest is generally concerned with the overall bottom line. So, even an environmental accountant needs to familiarize themselves with each and every aspect of traditional accounting such as maintaining financial records, banking, auditing, and any other relative job duties.

If your dream is to become an environmental accountant, follow the guidelines suggested here and you’ll be on your way to a fulfilling, rewarding career  and one that cares about the future of our planet.