Can You Be An Accountant With A Business Degree

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 9 minute read

What exactly is accounting?

There are several ways to keep track of your finances – from monitoring your credit card statement to paying your payment to check your account for fraudulent transactions. 

These are instances of fundamental accounting procedures that get increasingly complicated in the commercial sector.

Because of this, many businesses, organizations, and corporations engage an accountant or a whole staff.

Some small businesses may want to delegate accounting tasks to an employee or self-taught professional.

Accountants need to be familiar with balance sheets, payroll, income statements, tax regulations, profit and loss statements, and inventory records in order to be successful in the corporate world. 

The professional accountant is aware of operational expenditures, liabilities, equity, accounts payable, cost of products sold, and more.

Accountancy offers a wide range of specialties, each of which has its own set of work opportunities and educational needs. 

The following are some accounting fields:

  • Focuses on the financial aspects of the company.
  • Managerial. Provides information on a company’s activities to its leaders
  • In forensics, material that may be falsely claimed to be financial is examined.
  • Fiduciary. Taking care of someone else’s property or company
  • Complying with the IRS’s requirements for tax preparation
  • Cost. Compiling and analyzing production costs typically
  • Fraud, mismanagement, and waste can be detected by internal or external third-party audits of financial records.

What is Enterprise?

It’s difficult to pin down a precise definition of this concept because it covers so many different fields and factors.

According to Investopedia, a company is any for-profit or non-profit firm or organization engaged in industrial, professional, or commercial activity. 

Non-profit organizations in the arts, cultural, recreation, and charitable sectors are common. Tax-exempt organizations that benefit the general public are known as non-profit organizations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Some examples of this are literature and scientific study; public safety testing; religion and animal abuse.

Popularity Degree

A total of 390,564 business degrees were awarded in the 2018-19 academic year, according to the latest bachelor’s degree statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

There were 251,355 people enrolled in health professions and associated disciplines in second place. 

Accounting isn’t a distinct field because it’s included in business majors like marketing, management, and other related fields.

For the academic year 2015-16, the Journal of Accountancy predicted that 57,119 students will get a bachelor’s degree in accounting. 

The AICPA, a professional association for certified public accountants, has a different take on this statistic, which is less encouraging for recent accounting grads.

There was a 30% drop in the number of accountants being brought on board in 2018, according to their 2019 Trends report. 

Students will be better prepared for the workforce if the gap between academics and practice at colleges and universities is reduced.

These abilities are geared toward keeping up with the ever-changing technical requirements of the accounting industry.

Accounting bachelor’s degree graduates in 2017-18 were 54,947, according to the AICPA study, while CPA firms employed 19,498 accounting students over the same academic year, it says.

As a matter of fact, a large number of them may have gone on to work for non-CPA businesses. The AICPA poll found that 16 percent of CPA firms expected to reduce their workforce in 2018-19.

On the other hand, CPA companies expect to see a 24% drop in the number of new recruits with non-accounting business degrees (Bachelor’s and Master’s). Accounting is a major benefit (for CPA firms).

Learn as much as possible about the advantages and disadvantages of both majors before making a final choice on which one is best for you.

In spite of the similarities between these two-degree pathways, there are several advantages to earning an accounting degree over a business degree. 

Some of accounting’s finest advantages include learning the specific knowledge companies are searching for, having an unusually large range of work options, and profiting from above-average job growth rates.

Specialized Information in Demand

The Washington Post refers to accounting as a math-focused business major, along with courses like finance.

WP 2017 reports that graduates with math-focused business degrees enjoy greater incomes and reduced unemployment and underemployment rates than those who specialize in general business or business marketing.

According to an essay authored by college professor and adviser Jeffrey Selingo, a business may be the most popular major, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best one. 

First-year students and seniors majoring in business had poorer scores on critical thinking, writing, analytical reasoning, and communication on the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus assessments.

Students who majored in math, physics, engineering, or a liberal arts field performed better on the test.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report that bachelor’s degree or higher unemployment in computing, engineering, and science occupations is 2.5 percent (STEM). Unemployment in the fields of management, business, and finance is at 2.9%.

To paraphrase Mr. Selingo’s view, taking these business-related math courses can help you build more than just your arithmetic abilities.

While studying accounting, you also develop critical thinking and the other abilities described above, which aren’t developed as efficiently in general business degrees.

Accounting majors have a distinct advantage in the job market over those who major in general business since they have more specialized knowledge in their subject of study. 

Degree programs in business administration have a bad reputation for fostering the development of these crucial abilities.

If you’re interested in becoming an expert in a certain field, you’ll have to take more courses to understand the fundamentals.

Students who are curious about accounting and management can take a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting Concentration course.

An Old Dominion University bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on management and taxes is available to students who have completed a minimum of 24 semester hours of accounting coursework. 

Analytical skills, communication, teamwork, and ethical concerns are taught to students. The University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College offers an authorized Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting degree. 

One of the most prestigious and respected accreditations for business programs is the Association to Advance Collegiate Business Schools (AACSB).

In addition, Palmetto is the only South Carolina university to provide an online business degree with this accreditation.

According to the aforesaid curriculum, graduates will be able to communicate effectively in both written and spoken form, as well as analyze data.

Three hours of legal, social, and ethical business, and three hours of management and leadership concepts, are included in the course. 

Study time is allocated to topics such as corporate income taxes and federal tax processes. Additional time is allocated to studying financial statements and auditing theory.

This time, we’ll take a look at management-related courses as part of accounting degrees. 

In just 18 months, students at Rasmussen University may earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with only 90 credits.

Financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, corporate accounting, company law, leadership, operations management, teamwork, and strategic management are all included in the study plan. Management/leadership is incorporated into the accounting curriculum.

Those who complete Rasmussen’s CMA program will be eligible to sit for the CMA test. To become a management accountant or financial professional, this qualification is a good step to take. 

A bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience are required to sit for the test. The two sections take 12 to 18 months to finish on average, with 150 to 170 hours of study for each component.

Surprised by Its Versatility

To the uninitiated, an accounting degree is distinct from a business degree because of its focus on financial reporting and taxation.

After all, business majors can work as sales managers, retail managers, project managers, account managers, and marketing managers. 

Accounting degrees are most suited for careers in tax, audit, and management accounting. To get a comprehensive image of a company’s financial performance, financial records, and statements managers and analysts play a key role in their job duties.

Accounting careers, on the other hand, can be as diverse as those in management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were 1,392,200 accountants and auditors working in the United States with a median salary of $73,560 (May 2020). 

Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services are among the most common professions (339,020). Management of Companies and Enterprises comes in second with 97,250 individuals listed.

There are so many variables involved in management that gathering reliable data is challenging.

Administrative Services and Facilities Managers are a 322,000-strong profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Organization or firm managers are included in the group. 

More than 322,000 managerial roles exist across the country, according to logic. For instance, the BLS estimates that in 2020 there will be 161,700 human resources managers, 2,347,420 general and operations managers, and 681,700 financial managers (May 2020).

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants perform a wide range of accounting-related jobs, from tax preparation to auditing and advising to forensic accounting investigations (BLS). 

Management accounting, cost accounting, and other corporate accounting responsibilities can be found in the field of private accounting, which is more closely aligned with company management functions. 

For non-accounting positions like financial examiners, financial analysts, and budget analysts, accounting students learn skills and specific knowledge.

Those who believe accountants cannot hold executive positions may be in for a pleasant surprise. 

Six-figure incomes are common in CPA companies’ senior management roles. Financial accounting professionals with a lot of desire, experience, and education have several options for positions such as finance manager, controller, and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

As a result, many business students end up working in jobs that don’t require a college degree or that aren’t related to their field of study after graduation.

In contrast, accounting students can start out as junior accountants and work their way up to senior and managerial positions, especially if they pursue postgraduate education or professional certifications in addition to their undergraduate work. 

Graduates of business administration degrees may be well-prepared for management positions, but they still need to get relevant experience in the workplace.

Because accounting is a more specialized degree route than general business, it doesn’t imply that students aren’t studying the fundamentals of the business world.

Many business-related courses are required as part of an accounting degree program’s foundation.

Job Demand High

Accounting has a low unemployment rate even during economic downturns. Financial reporting assistance is needed by individuals and businesses alike, whether circumstances are good or bad.

With an advanced degree, graduates of an accounting bachelor’s program will have even greater job opportunities than those who stopped there.

Recruitment for applicants with an accounting master’s degree sometimes begins before they have begun their graduate-level courses, according to U.S. News & World Report (UNW). 

Schools often begin working with accepted masters in accounting students to increase their recruiting prospects throughout the summer before the students enter grad school.

Recruiters may be on campus as early as the first few weeks of the first term of accounting students to meet with potential workers in person.

Another decision is whether to pursue an MBA or a master’s degree in accounting. For the most part, business majors focus on marketing, finance, operations management, and ethical issues in the company.

Auditing and risk management are among the many topics covered in-depth by the M.S. accounting program. 

If you’re looking for more employment options, a business degree may be a better fit than an accounting degree.

Moreover, do you have a strong grasp of mathematical concepts and the ability to understand tax forms and financial statements?

Students are likely to know which degree they want to pursue even before they reach the intersection of accounting and business.

Accounting and auditing occupations are expected to rise by an average of 7% over the next decade, or 96,000 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Over the next ten years, the number of financial managers is expected to expand by 17 percent, or by 118,200. 

An accounting degree with management courses, based on this data, seems to make sense. The May 2020 BLS figures show that 98,570 out of 681,700 people work in the Credit Intermediation and Related Activities industry.

Determining if an accounting degree is more useful depends on a person’s personality. Leadership abilities, such as public speaking, are emphasized in several business degrees. 

Communication with bosses and groups might be awkward for certain people. Compared to this, tax accountants are able to operate in small groups with a greater degree of autonomy.

Taking on managerial responsibilities in an accounting department, on the other hand, allows the accountant to have the best of both worlds.

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