Opportunities In Environmental Accounting

Environmental accounting is a career choice with a big impact. Instead of figuring out how the corporate giants of the world can make impressive profits, an environmental accountant analyzes external and internal costs of what happens to the environment. Once an environmental accountant has identified an environmental cost, she relays this information to companies and government entities so as to protect the environment.

Green accounting goes beyond whistle-blowing and government-sponsored studies. Many private companies hire environmental accountants to evaluate the costs of cutting pollution, including adding in benefits of tax relief for following government regulations or tax credits for utilizing government-approved equipment or methods.

Not all environmental accounting jobs are alike. You can choose to work in one of the following three situations:

National Focus: If you choose to analyze a situation that has a national impact, you may get to speak to national audiences, plus government and private sector decision-makers, and you may influence key decision-makers.

Private Sector Internal Focus: If you're less into public hype and more interested in a steady job that influences a small sector of society, you may want to look for a job with a private company reporting to an internal group of decision-makers in a corporate setting, focusing on one industry.

Government And Regulatory Focus: If you'd like to work for the government, you can find a job where your analysis will be presented to an external audience as law-makers make new regulations and enforce existing ones.

All of these forms of green accounting are supported by a basic degree in accounting. Most environmental accountants double major in accounting and environmental sciences. You may also want to minor in political science, since the job often involves interacting with policy-makers. Another good minor or double major is business, which will help you understand the operational side of running a business while supporting the environment.

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