An accounting degree can open up a world of opportunities in the financial world. If you’re fascinated by numbers and love analyzing data, this could be an ideal degree for you.
With an undergraduate degree in accounting, you will get to learn all about financial statements, tax regulations, and get an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience with accounting software.
With an ever-growing demand for accountants in various industries, earning an undergraduate degree in accounting can help you gain an edge over other individuals and build an established career once you graduate. So, let’s dive in and understand how accounting degrees – associate or bachelor’s – can help you achieve your educational and career goals.
Put simply, an accounting degree is a program focusing on financial information and its management. With a degree in accounting, you’ll get to learn the basics of financial statements, bookkeeping, taxation, auditing, and financial analysis.
This degree also helps you build skills in recording financial transactions, analyzing financial data, preparing financial statements, and interpreting financial reports. Moreover, you’ll also gain an in-depth understanding of various accounting principles, laws, and regulations governing financial practices.
This degree can open opportunities for you, such as becoming an accountant, auditor, financial analyst, tax professional, or even starting your own accounting firm.
If you’re interested in working with numbers, financial data, and have an analytical mindset, you should consider getting an accounting degree.
Typically, individuals who may benefit from pursuing an Accounting Degree could be:
- Individuals who are passionate about numbers: If you enjoy working with numbers, calculations, and analyzing financial data, an accounting degree could be the answer for you.
- Detail-oriented individuals: Accounting requires attention to detail as you would be dealing with transactions, financial records, and reporting. So, if you have a keen eye for accuracy, an accounting degree can help you hone those skills.
- Finance professionals: If you dream of becoming an accountant, auditor, or financial analyst, an accounting degree is a general requirement. This degree offers the necessary knowledge and credentials to pursue such careers.
- Individuals inclined towards business and finance: Accounting is closely linked to business and finance. If you have an interest in understanding how organizations manage their finances and make informed financial decisions, an accounting degree could be of value to you.
Accounting degrees could pave the way for a successful career for the following reasons:
- Ever growing demand: Almost all businesses require professionals with accounting knowledge to manage their financial records, analyze data, and make sure financial regulations are compiled with. The demand for skilled accountants is consistently high, offering a stable career path.
- Diverse job opportunities: An accounting degree widens your chance to land jobs in multiple careers. As an accounting graduate, you can pursue roles as an auditor, accountant, a tax professional, financial analyst or consultant, or even an entrepreneur in the financial space. This versatility lets you pick a path that aligns with your interests and career goals.
- Competitive salary potential: Accounting professionals usually earn highly competitive salaries and benefits. The skills and expertise you gain via an accounting degree are highly valued in the job market, making you eligible for a respectable income and greater financial stability.
- Career growth and advancement: With experience and additional certifications, accountants can progress in their careers and take on rewarding roles. There are multiple advancement opportunities where you get to hold managerial and leadership positions within organizations.
- Transferable skills: A degree in accounting helps you build a strong foundation in analytical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and financial literacy. These skills are considered highly transferable and are applicable in various industries and roles beyond traditional accounting.
- Global relevance: Accounting principles and practices are globally recognized and applicable across the world. With this, accounting professionals can always have the opportunity to work internationally or with multinational companies, broadening their career prospects and exposure to diverse business scenarios.
A popular undergraduate program, associates in accounting offers foundational understanding of accounting principles and practices.
Here are more details about the courses you would take:
General Education Courses: These courses cover subjects such as English composition, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities.
Core Accounting Courses: The core accounting courses provide the understanding of fundamental accounting principles, financial statements, bookkeeping, taxation basics, and basic accounting software usage.
Business Courses: You could take introductory business courses that offer a broader understanding of business concepts, economics, management, and business law.
Elective Courses: You may have the option to choose elective courses in areas like finance, marketing, or computer applications, depending on your chosen program.
An associate’s degree in accounting typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. The length of the program, however, could vary based on factors such as the number of credits taken per semester and any prior transferable credits.
The difficulty level of an associate’s degree in accounting is entirely dependent on the institution and individual courses. Typically, the program is designed to help you gain foundational knowledge of accounting principles and practices, and while it may present challenges, it is considered moderately difficult as compared to advanced accounting programs.
As a student of an associate’s degree course in accounting, you can gain entry level jobs in the accounting field. These positions might involve tasks related to recording financial transactions, maintaining financial records, and providing support to accounting departments.
Transfer Option to 4-year Program:
These days, many institutions allow students with an associate’s degree in accounting to transfer credits to a four-year bachelor’s degree program in accounting or a related field. This lets students continue their education and build on the foundational knowledge gained during the associate’s degree. Some associate programs have an articulation agreement with a 4-year college, ensuring that all or most of your credits will transfer. Check with the programs you are considering to see if your credits will transfer and to which schools.
Simply put, an associate’s degree in accounting offers concise education on accounting principles, paving the way to entry-level accounting positions or offering the option to transfer to a four-year program for further education and career advancement.
Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting is an undergraduate program that offers a comprehensive education in accounting principles, financial analysis, taxation, auditing, and other related areas. Here are more details about the program:
General Education Courses: Just like an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree in accounting includes general education courses in subjects like English, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities.
Core Accounting Courses: Core courses delve deeper into advanced accounting topics such as managerial accounting, cost accounting, financial accounting, auditing, taxation, and accounting information systems.
Business Courses: You could also choose from a range of business courses, including management, marketing, finance, economics, and business law. These courses help you build a broad understanding of business principles and their relationship to accounting.
Advanced Accounting Courses: In the later years of the program, you might get to take specialized and advanced accounting courses that focus on various subjects like advanced financial reporting, forensic accounting, international accounting, or tax planning.
Elective Courses: Bachelor’s programs also offer elective courses that let you explore specific areas of interest or add a minor in a related field.
Typically, a bachelor’s degree in accounting takes four years of full-time study to complete. The length may vary based on the number of credits required, additional concentrations or minors pursued, and any transferable credits from previous coursework.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting is generally considered moderately challenging. The coursework builds your understanding of accounting, covering more advanced topics and requiring analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and attention to detail. But if you’re dedicated and put in the right amount of effort, you can successfully navigate the program.
This degree provides graduates a wide range of job opportunities in the accounting and finance industry. Some common career paths include:
- Internal Auditor
- Financial Manager
- Corporate Controller
- Financial Analyst
- Tax Consultant
- Budget Analyst
Transfer to Master’s Program:
Once you complete your bachelor’s degree in accounting, you could pursue a master’s degree in accounting or a related field to further enhance your knowledge and career prospects. Transferring to a master’s program typically requires you to meet specific admission requirements of the program, including a competitive GPA and possibly standardized test scores such as the GMAT or GRE.
Overall, a bachelor’s degree in accounting helps you gain comprehensive education in accounting principles and practices, prepares students for a variety of accounting roles, and provides the opportunity to specialize through concentrations. It also serves as a stepping stone for those considering further education at the master’s level.
Now that we know the aspects of an associates and bachelor’s degrees in accounting, let’s check out how they’re different from one another.
Here’s a quick glance detailing the differences between an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting
|Associate in Accounting||Bachelor’s in Accounting|
|Typically takes 2 years to complete||Typically takes 4 years to complete|
|Provides foundational knowledge||Offers comprehensive knowledge and in-depth understanding|
|Covers fundamental accounting principles and practices||Explores advanced accounting concepts and specialized areas|
|Focuses on entry-level accounting roles||Prepares students for a wide range of accounting careers|
|Limited career advancement opportunities||Greater potential for career growth and advancement|
|May qualify for entry-level accounting positions, bookkeeping, or clerical roles||Opens doors to various roles such as accountant, auditor, financial analyst, tax professional, etc.|
|Smaller investment of time and money||Requires a longer commitment and investment|
|May be a stepping stone to further education, like pursuing a bachelor’s degree||Serves as a standalone degree but can also be a foundation for pursuing advanced degrees like a master’s degree|
|Can provide a basic understanding of accounting principles and support professional development||Offers a more comprehensive education with a broader range of coursework and specialization options|
Here’s a comparison of entry-level jobs and average salaries for individuals with an associate’s degree in accounting versus a bachelor’s degree in accounting:
|Entry-Level Jobs||Associate’s Degree Salary Range||Bachelor’s Degree Salary Range|
|Accounting Clerk||$46,177 – $48,873||$43,575 – $53,892|
|Bookkeeper||$40,948 – $43,476||$41,152 – $43,688|
|Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerk||$46,224 – $48,843||$46,390 – $49,038|
|Payroll Assistant||$44,937 – $47,769||$43,050 and $54,110|
|Tax Preparer||$42,739 and $52,955||$59,781 – $63,331|
Note: These salary ranges vary depending on several aspects like location, industry, company size, and level of experience.
Enrolling in an accounting degree can be beneficial, even if you are currently working. Here are a few reasons why:
- Career Advancement: An accounting degree can open doors to higher-level positions and increased responsibilities within your current organization or in other companies. It could aid your professional development and enhance your chances of salary raises and promotions.
- Skill Enhancement: Accounting constantly evolves with changes in regulations, technology, and business practices. Pursuing a degree in accounting helps you stay updated with the latest industry trends, acquire new skills, and expand your knowledge base to make you a valuable asset in the job market.
- Professional Networking: While working, pursuing an accounting degree can help you connect with fellow students, professors, and industry professionals to build a network of contacts in your field. These connections can prove of immense value throughout your career, helping you stay connected to the industry and opening doors for future job prospects.
- Personal Satisfaction: If you enroll for a degree program in accounting, it could be personally fulfilling, allowing you to deepen your understanding of the field, engage with like-minded individuals, and expand your intellectual horizons.
If you’re passionate about numbers and wish to kickstart your career in the field of accounting, then earning an undergraduate degree in accounting would be a great first step. Both an associates or a bachelor’s degree in accounting have advantages and the potential to build a solid understanding of the subject. As a student of this field, you can choose the degree program that best suits your academic interests and professional goals.
A finance degree and an accounting degree have distinct focuses and career paths. A finance degree focuses on financial management, investment analysis, and decision-making. A degree in accounting emphasizes tax compliance, financial reporting, and auditing. As a finance professional, you would analyze investments, manage portfolios, and make strategic financial decisions. Accountants maintain financial records, ensure compliance, and provide financial insights. Finance is more focused on financial markets and economic principles, while accounting centers on accurate recording and reporting of financial transactions.
Absolutely! Many universities offer online programs that let you earn an accounting degree remotely. Online accounting programs provide flexibility in terms of scheduling and location, allowing students to balance their studies with other commitments. These programs deliver course materials, assignments, and conduct interactive discussions online. Make sure that the online program you choose is accredited and meets the necessary educational requirements for accounting licensure or professional certifications you may be interested in pursuing.