If you’re someone who loves working with numbers, has an analytical mind and wants to gain knowledge and skills to work in various industries, then you may want to consider an accounting degree. To get a degree in accounting, pursuing a bachelor’s in accounting is a logical first step on your path to a stable career. 

Did you know that the demand for accountants and related roles is on the rise? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of working accountants is expected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. If you consider earning potential, financial specialists like accountants, auditors, analysts, or advisors earn about 69% more than the average worker across industries in the U.S. These numbers are a reflection of the immediate need for skilled accounting professionals and how accounting is considered central to every business. From government agencies, to nonprofits and multinationals, every organization needs qualified professionals who can take care of short and long-term financial needs. 

In this article, we aim to explain all about the bachelor’s degree in accounting, how you can pursue this program and make the most of it to build the foundation of a successful career.

What is a bachelor's in accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting is a four-year undergraduate program that focuses on principles of accounting, finance, and business management. This degree provides a strong foundation in financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, auditing, and business law. You would also learn about economics, statistics, and information systems relevant to accounting practices. 

A bachelor’s in accounting prepares you for various roles in accounting, such as financial analyst, auditor, tax accountant, or management accountant.

With a fair understanding of what an accounting degree is and how you can pursue it at the bachelor’s level, it’s time we look at some benefits of obtaining this undergraduate degree. 

  • Versatile Skill Set: A bachelor’s degree in accounting equips you with a versatile skill set applicable across various industries and job roles. You gain expertise in financial analysis, auditing, taxation, and management accounting, making you valuable in diverse business environments.
  • High Demand for Accountants: Accountants are in high demand across industries, as businesses of all sizes require financial expertise to manage their finances, comply with regulations, and make strategic decisions. With an accounting degree, you have access to a wide range of job opportunities and career paths.
  • Stable Career Outlook: The field of accounting offers a stable career outlook with consistent demand for professionals. Whether working as an accountant, auditor, tax specialist, or financial analyst, you can enjoy long-term job security and advancement opportunities.
  • Lucrative Salary Potential: As an accounting professional, you would typically enjoy competitive salaries and attractive benefits. With experience and specialization in specific areas of accounting, your earning potential can increase significantly, making it a financially rewarding career choice.
  • Global Career Opportunities: Accounting is a globally recognized profession, allowing you to pursue career opportunities not only in your home country but also internationally. A bachelor’s degree in accounting can open doors to multinational corporations, accounting firms, or international organizations around the world.
  • Foundation for Further Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting serves as a solid foundation for further education and professional development. Whether pursuing a master’s degree, professional certifications, or specialized training, this program can build the knowledge base and skills necessary for continued success in your career.

To sum up, a bachelor’s degree in accounting comes with a plethora of benefits, and is an excellent investment in your future with long-lasting benefits for your career and personal development.

Different types of accounting degrees

Now that you know what a bachelor’s in accounting is, let’s take a closer look at the various types of accounting degrees you can get at this level of higher education. 

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with Accounting Concentration:

This degree program aims to combine foundational business courses with specialized accounting classes. In this degree, you would gain a broad understanding of business principles, including management, marketing, finance, and operations, in addition to focused accounting knowledge. Prominent universities like South University offer a BBA in accounting, allowing you to delve deeper into topics such as financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and taxation. This offers a well-rounded education that prepares graduates for various roles in accounting and business. Some career opportunities for BBA graduates with an accounting concentration may include financial analyst, auditor, tax accountant, management accountant, and financial manager.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting:

A BS in Accounting is a technical and analytical-focused degree that emphasizes accounting principles and practices. In this program, you would learn how to analyze financial information, prepare financial statements, and understand tax laws and regulations. 

Typically, the curriculum includes advanced accounting courses in areas such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and taxation.  You may also develop skills in data analysis, financial reporting, and accounting software. Popular universities like Regent University and Post university offer a BS in accounting that prepares students for successful careers in accounting, auditing, tax preparation, financial analysis, and budget analysis in various industries.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Accounting:

BA in Accounting provides broader education that includes not only accounting courses but also liberal arts courses in areas such as humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. This well-rounded education would help you develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. With this degree, you would learn how accounting impacts and is influenced by various social, cultural, economic, and ethical factors. 

While the BA in Accounting covers core accounting principles and practices, it also emphasizes the importance of understanding the broader context in which accounting operates. Upon graduation, you would be equipped to pursue diverse career paths, including accounting roles in business, government, non-profit organizations, and more. You may also choose to further your education in graduate studies or professional certifications.

Bachelor of Accounting or Accountancy:

The Bachelor of Accounting or Accountancy degree is a specialized program that solely focuses on accounting. It offers a comprehensive education in accounting principles, practices, and standards. If you pick this program, you could take advanced courses in financial reporting, auditing, taxation, and accounting information systems. You may also develop skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication specific to the field of accounting.

Once you graduate with a Bachelor of Accounting or Accountancy, you would be prepared for entry-level accounting positions in public accounting firms, corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. You could also consider pursuing professional certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to further enhance your career prospects.

While each institute’s admission requirements may vary for a bachelor’s degree in accounting, there are some general admission requirements for this program. Let’s take a quick look at the steps through which you could pursue the accounting degree at the bachelor’s level.

  • Educational Background: Typically, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible for admission. Some programs may also require specific high school coursework in subjects like mathematics, English, and social sciences.
  • Standardized Tests: Some institutes may require you to submit scores from standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. These scores help admissions committees assess your academic readiness for college-level coursework.
  • Transcripts: As an applicant, you may be required to submit official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended. These documents provide a record of academic performance and help admissions committees evaluate your qualifications.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Certain universities require letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or other individuals who can attest to your academic abilities and character.
  • Personal Statement or Essay: There is a good chance that programs may need you to submit a personal statement or essay explaining your interest in accounting and your career goals. This essay would allow you to showcase your writing ability and demonstrate your commitment to enroll for an accounting degree program.
  • Resume: In some cases, you may also be required to submit a resume detailing your academic achievements, work experience, and extracurricular activities. A resume provides the admissions committee with a comprehensive view of your background and qualifications.
  • Interview: Sometimes, you may need to participate in an admissions interview, which gives the admissions committee a chance to learn about your academic background, interests, and motivations for pursuing an accounting degree.
  • Prerequisite Courses: While not mandatory, some programs may require applicants to complete specific prerequisite courses in subjects like mathematics, economics, or accounting. These courses ensure that you have the necessary foundational knowledge to succeed in the accounting program.

In this section, we’ll take a quick look at the curriculum for an accounting major student along with some titles for courses that may be required to pursue this degree program:

Financial Accounting:

This course covers the principles and practices of financial accounting, including the preparation and analysis of financial statements.  It emphasizes understanding and applying Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Some sample course titles could be 

  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting
  • Advanced Financial Accounting

Managerial Accounting:

In a managerial accounting course, you would get the opportunity to focus on the use of accounting information for internal decision-making and planning. It emphasizes cost analysis, budgeting, and performance evaluation. A few sample course titles include: 

  • Principles of Managerial Accounting
  • Cost Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting for Decision Making


This course includes examining the theory and practice of auditing, including audit procedures, ethics, and reporting standards. It emphasizes the role of auditors in ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial information. Some of the sample course titles could be:

  • Auditing Principles and Procedures
  • Advanced Auditing
  • Forensic Accounting


Taxation covers the principles of taxation, including income tax laws, tax planning, and compliance. It emphasizes understanding tax regulations and their implications for individuals and businesses.

Certain courses may have titles like: 

  • Federal Income Taxation
  • Corporate Taxation
  • International Taxation

Accounting Information Systems:

In this course, you would focus on the use of information technology in accounting, including database management and software applications. Accounting Information Systems emphasizes the role of technology in improving accounting processes and data analysis. Some sample course titles of this course could be:

  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
  • Database Management for Accountants

Business Law:

Business Law covers legal principles relevant to accounting and business, including contracts, torts, and business organizations. This course emphasizes understanding the legal framework in which businesses operate. A few sample course titles could be:

  • Business Law
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Contracts and Commercial Transactions

Economics and Finance:

Economics and Finance provides a foundation in economic theory and financial principles relevant to accounting. It emphasizes understanding economic factors that impact business decisions and financial markets. Some sample course titles include: 

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Financial Management

Ethics in Accounting:

The Ethics in Accounting course helps you examine the ethical issues and dilemmas faced by accounting professionals. This course primarily emphasizes the importance of ethical behavior in accounting and business practices. Some course titles of this course are:

  • Professional Ethics in Accounting
  • Ethical Decision Making in Accounting
  • Business Ethics

Elective Courses:

Some universities offer elective courses that allow you to tailor your degree to your interests and career goals. A few sample elective course titles could be:

  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting
  • Corporate Finance

In a typical scenario, the general education course requirements for a bachelor’s degree in accounting include a variety of subjects designed to offer comprehensive education. These courses are intended to develop skills in communication, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning etc. While specific requirements may vary depending on the institution, some common general education categories include:

  • English Composition: Courses in English composition are typically required to develop students’ writing skills, including grammar, style, and argumentation.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics courses, such as college algebra, calculus, or statistics, are often required to develop your quantitative reasoning skills, which are important in accounting.
  • Social Sciences: Courses in social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, or economics will help you develop your understanding of human behavior and social systems.
  • Humanities: Courses in humanities, such as literature, philosophy, or history, help you develop an understanding of cultural and ethical issues.
  • Fine Arts: Courses in fine arts, such as music, art, or theater, can help you build an appreciation for the arts and creativity.

Additionally, you may be given the option to learn the following:

  • Foreign Language: Some programs may require courses in a foreign language to develop your communication skills and cultural awareness.
  • Global Business: Certain programs offer the opportunity to gain an understanding of global business environments, and skills needed to succeed in such scenarios. This knowledge and associated skills come in handy when dealing with international partners, helping you understand their cultures and business perspectives.

These general education requirements are intended to complement the specialized coursework in accounting and offer broad-based education, preparing you for a variety of career paths.

  1. Staff Accountant: Staff accountants are responsible for preparing financial statements, maintaining financial records, and ensuring compliance with regulations. They may also assist with budgeting, auditing, and financial analysis. As of recent data, the average salary of a staff accountant is $61,805. The range, however, falls between $56,263 and $68,102. While licensure is not always required, many employers prefer candidates with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. 
  1. Auditor: If you choose to become an auditor, you would be responsible for examining financial records to ensure accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations. They may work for public accounting firms, government agencies, or corporations. As of 2023, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $78,000. A CPA credential is often required for auditors who work with publicly traded companies.
  1. Tax Accountant: As a tax accountant, you get to specialize in preparing and filing tax returns for individuals, businesses, and organizations. You may also be responsible for providing tax planning advice and helping clients navigate complex tax laws. Recent data gathered in early 2024 states that, on average, the salary of a tax accountant is $64,006. A CPA credential is considered valuable for tax accountants, especially if you need to work with businesses or high-net-worth individuals.
  1. Financial Analyst: One of the most popular professions that you could consider after an accounting degree is to become a financial analyst. Financial analysts are responsible for assessing financial data and trends to help businesses make informed investment decisions. They may work in corporate finance, investment banking, or asset management. As of 2022, financial and investment analysts earn around $95,080. While not always required, many financial analyst positions prefer candidates with a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
  1. Budget Analyst: Budget analysts help organizations manage their finances by preparing budget reports, monitoring spending, and analyzing financial data. They may also provide recommendations for improving financial efficiency and achieving financial goals. The median wage for budget analysts, as of 2022, was $82,260 per year. Licensure is not typically required for budget analysts, but relevant certifications, such as Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM), may be beneficial for those working in government or non-profit sectors.
  1. Forensic Accountant: Forensic accountants investigate financial crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. They analyze financial data, interview suspects and witnesses, and prepare reports for legal proceedings. As of 2024, the average salary of a forensic accountant is around $62,284 per year. While not always required, some forensic accountants obtain certifications such as Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) to demonstrate their expertise in forensic accounting.
  1. Accounting Manager: Accounting managers oversee the accounting department of an organization, managing staff, ensuring compliance with accounting standards, and preparing financial reports. They may also be involved in budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis. Recent data states that the average wage for an accounting manager is $122,631. While licensure is not typically required for accounting managers, a CPA credential is often preferred for managerial positions in accounting.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting is a great opportunity for you to gain versatile skills that are highly sought after across industries. Upon graduation, you would be equipped with expertise in financial analysis, auditing, taxation, and management accounting, making them valuable assets in various business environments. The field of accounting provides stable career prospects, with consistent demand for qualified professionals. 

Furthermore, an accounting degree opens doors to global career opportunities, allowing you to work internationally for multinational corporations and accounting firms. The foundation provided by a bachelor’s in accounting serves as a solid platform for further education and professional development, so that you could pursue an advanced degree or professional certifications such as CPA, CMA, or CFA. Overall, a bachelor’s degree in accounting is an excellent academic investment that can offer a range of benefits and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Which careers need a master’s degree in accounting?

Careers that typically require a master’s degree in accounting include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and college professor or educator. While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for these roles, a master’s degree can enhance your qualifications and provide a competitive edge.
For example, to become a CPA, some states may require you to complete additional coursework or obtain a master’s degree in accounting to qualify for licensure. Similarly, a master’s degree can fulfill the educational requirement for the CMA certification and enhance your skills for roles such as financial analyst or internal auditor. Additionally, to teach accounting at the college or university level, a master’s degree or higher in accounting is usually required.

Is accounting a hard major?

For some students, accounting could seem like a challenging major due to its complex concepts and rigorous coursework. It requires analytical skills, attention to detail, and a solid understanding of financial principles and regulations. The curriculum often includes courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and accounting information systems, which may be demanding. However, with dedication, persistence, and a strong work ethic, you could find success in completing an accounting major and pursuing a successful career.

Do you need a degree to be an accountant?

While not a mandatory requirement in some states, most employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. A degree provides a strong foundation in accounting principles, financial analysis, and business practices, which are essential for success in the field. However, to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is a common goal for many accountants, a degree is required. Ultimately, having an accounting degree can improve job prospects and advancement opportunities in the accounting field.