A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
Those with an interest in finances and mathematics who are looking to become more involved in the inner workings of a business may find themselves asking, "Is accounting a good major for me?" Both accounting and finance degrees might appeal to such individuals, and which degree to pursue could be influenced by a number of factors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of accountants and auditors to grow 10% from 2016–2026, faster than the average for all occupations.1
So is accounting a good major for you, and how do you know? Below, we break down what an accounting degree involves, what qualities may indicate that this is a good career path, and some common entry-level jobs in accounting.
What Does an Accountant Do?
Accounting encompasses a broad range of responsibilities, including collecting financial data, recording transactions, and analyzing and presenting this information. Accountants may work with individuals or businesses to help determine their financial status, and they may be involved in making decisions based on financial records.
Because accountants are responsible for keeping detailed and accurate records of all financial dealings—and may be tasked with performing audits—those interested in accounting as a career path must be extremely detail-oriented. In addition to advanced math skills, those pursuing a degree in accounting should be comfortable working individually, analyzing complex data sets, and organizing numerical information into clear visual formats such as charts and graphs. Earning an online accounting degree to pursue an accounting career could be a sensible option for people who possess these characteristics.
Who Is Accounting a Good Major For, and What Skills are Required?
Those wondering why they should major in accounting or who are trying to decide between an accounting and finance degree should know that even though accountants work across many different industries, the role typically requires a distinct skill set. You should consider this distinct skill set when deciding whether accounting is a good fit for you. Those interested in pursuing an accounting degree should possess the following skills and qualities:
- Advanced proficiency in mathematics. That accounting is possibly a good degree choice for those with strong math skills may seem obvious given that most accounting revolves around numbers and financial data, but accountants must be proficient with more than just basic arithmetic. A major in accounting will involve many advanced math courses, including statistics and calculus.
- Highly detail oriented. Accounting is perhaps also a good degree option for those who possess strong attention to detail. Accountants must be able to review complex financial documents not just to find relevant data, but also to identify any possible errors. Job responsibilities may also entail transferring financial information to additional databases, tax forms, or presentations, meaning those interested in a career in accounting must be meticulous and detail oriented.
- Strong analytical skills. Why is accounting possibly a good major for those with an analytical mind? Once financial information is gathered and recorded, accountants must be able to analyze this data for trends, insights, and possible errors. They must then be able to report these insights to businesses and individuals and help consult on any appropriate action.
Common Entry-Level Jobs in Accounting
Why major in accounting? While it’s impossible to claim with certainty that accounting is a good major for the future, one of the potential benefits of an accounting degree is that businesses in nearly every field and industry need accountants. This flexibility enables those with the necessary bachelor's degree, such as an online accounting degree, to pursue career options starting with a variety of entry-level accounting jobs, including:
- Certified public accountant (CPA)
- Internal auditor
- Management accountant
- Government accountant
- Financial analyst
Additionally, these types of accounting positions can include future opportunities for advancement, especially for those with certification within a specific field of accounting, which may further improve job prospects.Ready to learn more? Explore online accounting degree programs at AIU.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm (visited August 26, 2019). Conditions in your area may vary.
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Classes Start November 4, 2020