Required Courses for an Accounting Major

  • Auditing
    Courses in auditing teach the student about GAAS or Generally Accepted Auditing Standards. The GAAS consists of the standards the United States uses to conduct audits. An auditing class covers topics on documentation, compliance, and internal controls. Students will learn about audit reports and legal and ethical issues in the field. Even if the accounting major does not desire to specialize in the field of auditing, these courses will educate the individual on the process.

Most entry-level jobs are found in auditing, which will provide a foundation to the accounting discipline. Should students have an interest in taking the CPA Exam at some point during their career, they will already have an introduction to auditing regulations and services.

  • Finance
    Many students recognize the advantage of dual majors or taking classes outside of their accounting specialty, in order to provide a broader perspective in business.

While accounting classes foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills, courses in finance will develop competencies in financial management, markets, and investments. Courses in finance provide the accounting major with an understanding of how businesses run and why the accountant’s job is so important. They will help the student understand how business decisions are the effect of profit and losses. A finance course prepares the student in economics, which is the understanding of how money works globally.

  • Marketing
    Marketing courses are required of the accounting major for many personal and professional reasons. Once the accountant has analyzed or investigated data, the accountant is usually required to present his or her findings to clients, businesses, or managers in various formats. A course in marketing will teach the student creative ways to present the data visually and graphically. With charts, bar graphs, and PowerPoint, as opposed to using just a spreadsheet, information can be conveyed easily.

The student will also benefit from learning how to market his or her own skills. The most successful accountants have strong interpersonal and networking skills, which can help them build a client base and provide advancement opportunities in the workplace. Accountants can advance into a more financial/marketing role, and knowledge of marketing can help, especially in the area of product management.

Required Courses for an Accounting Major

  • Economics
    Depending on the college or university the student attends, the accounting major will have to take at least one course in economics. The course in economics will focus on how people, businesses, and the global economy react to supply and demand of products and services. The theories presented in an economics course will help the student studying accounting understand financial trends and analyze data to predict anticipated future changes. This global perspective will help one make predictions on how the finances of a company will change in comparison to changes in the marketplace. In addition, the student will learn business statistics, principles in finance, and strategic management. Courses in economics will give the student a broader view of how businesses are run from a strategic and management view.
  • Accounting Information Systems
    Computers are changing the way businesses run and how information is stored. In order to be prepared with the technological changes taking place in business, the accounting major should take courses in information systems. These courses will provide an understanding of how computer systems are designed and organized to hold records of information. In the business world, the accounting professional might be asked to record processes and use documentation tools to represent the data. An understanding of queries and databases is an essential skill in retrieving business- and performance-related information. In addition, many accounting professionals are asked to evaluate internal controls that involve computer programs. An understanding of how these systems are designed will help the individual mitigate risks.
  • Cost Accounting
    Cost accounting is the understanding of how every dollar is spent in an organization. It is a process of controlling the operation by identifying profitable products and services. Cost accounting evaluates how people, resources, and materials are used to help make decisions that affect overhead. Cost accounting classes are usually included in the accounting major, with course topics in budgeting and financial planning. Sound cost accounting can help managers evaluate results against budget, which is a need for most organizations. Those students planning to pursue a career as a budget or cost analyst or even in auditing will benefit from this class.

Accounting Major Overview (PDF)