A bachelor’s degree in accounting is a good start to building a career in business because the basic course requirements provide a foundation in business practices, marketing, law, critical thinking, mathematics, computers, and principles in finance. The bachelor’s education means the student is prepared to meet the basic requirements of most entry-level accounting jobs, such as auditing. Prerequisites for each school vary, as a four-year degree has become very competitive. Some schools have gained recognition as the nation’s top business schools, and therefore entrance into these schools is extremely difficult. Admittance to an Ivy League school program will be rigorous, requiring letters of recommendation, review of extracurricular activities, interviews, and essays evaluated along with the student’s grades.
Cost is another factor to consider, as the top business schools will be more expensive than state or local colleges. Smaller private schools can be less competitive to get into; however, the cost will be relatively higher than the cost of a public school.
Courses for a bachelor’s degree are conducted on campus, virtually, or through a combination of both.
Either way, graduation from an accredited high school or completion of a GED is required before being admitted into the program. Many times, associate degree graduates decide to return to school and complete a bachelor’s in two years. Typically, the degree can be completed in four years; however, some students decide to take a heavier course load, or attend summer school, in order to graduate sooner. Some schools offer a joint bachelor’s/M.B.A. program whereby the graduate can stay at the school for an additional year and graduate in five years with a master’s in business. Each school has requirements for graduation, which include a minimum acceptable GPA and credit hours.
The decision to pursue a bachelor’s in accounting is a smart one, because every industry relies on accounting principles to analyze budgets, pay taxes, audit, and analyze statements to run their business. The degree is versatile, with careers in many areas of the firm, with teaching and freelancing opportunities available. Depending on the size of the firm, there are usually many career advancement opportunities for the accounting major. A disadvantage to the degree is that it is specialized, which makes it difficult to transition to another profession without additional training, certifications, or coursework.
New government regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), have led to immense growth in this profession, with continued expansion. Entry-level jobs begin at $45,000, with partners at a large firm making up to $250,000 a year.