Bachelor’s degree in accounting program information

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Are you interested in an accounting career?

If you want to work in accounting, there are a few things to consider before you make that decision. It’s essential to know what type of accounting career you want to have, and to do that, you need to analyze your short- and long-term career goals. For example, having an associate’s degree can help you begin your accounting career, but if your main goal is to have a management position, you may need to consider earning a degree that can help you get there.

While you can become a bookkeeper or an accounting clerk with an associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s of Accounting (B.A.) opens a wide range of employment opportunities in this field. It’s also true that earning a B.A. takes twice as many credit hours as an associate’s degree. That is why it’s essential to take into account every detail that can help you find out if a B.A. is the right education path for you.

How to select an accounting degree

There are important factors that you need to consider when you choose your degree. The cost of education plays an essential part in many people’s decision making. An online or a hybrid program tends to cost less than one where you attend classes daily on-campus. A private school or a well-established university will usually price their bachelor’s programs higher than state schools or web-based institutions.

Time and convenience are also essential factors. You can enroll in a full-time program or a part-time one, the latter having an impact on your studies’ duration. While on-campus programs require daily attendance, online programs are more flexible and typically allow you to keep a day job, helping to pay for your studies.

Another important thing you need to look out for is that not all institutions that offer bachelor programs are accredited. You should pay attention to this factor when choosing a university and opt for one that holds an accreditation. This is critical, especially if you want to transfer your credit further to another program or become a Certified Public Accountant. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) can advise you on which bachelor accounting programs are accredited state-side and nationally. Finally, know that you can choose from different types of bachelor of accounting programs. Check out some of the top bachelor’s in accounting programs.

About a bachelor’s degree in accounting

If you thought that by deciding to enroll in a bachelor’s degree in accounting program your research work was done, think again. There are more types of B.A. degrees available, and each of them has unique components. Even if you learn the accounting principles in all of them, they differentiate in terms of curriculum and employment opportunities after graduation.

Bachelor’s of Arts in Accounting

Core accounting topics in a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.) in Accounting program do not differ substantially from those you would study in a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. However, courses in a B.A. will more likely focus on gaining knowledge in history, communication, psychology, or political science.

Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting

When you opt for a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Accounting, you’ll dedicate more time to studying things related to your major than you would by choosing a B.A. This means you’ll focus more on gaining the necessary skills and knowledge needed to work in accounting, which translates into a deeper understanding of advanced accounting principles.

Bachelor’s of Business Administration

When you choose a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (B.B.A.) program, you’ll study business practices, economics principles, and develop communication abilities and analytical skills. Such a program would help you specialize in accounting, finance, real estate, or business.

Duration of studies

Earning a bachelor’s degree of accounting will generally take you 4 years or 120 credit hours at most universities. Still, you may complete it in less time if you already hold an associate’s degree, and you’ll be able to transfer your credit hours from that program towards your bachelor’s degree. Most institutions offer full-time programs, but there are part-time formats available and even programs that are entirely online.

Hybrid programs or fully online ones have their share of benefits such as lower tuition costs and flexibility. When you choose to earn your bachelor’s accounting online, you will pay less for your degree and save on related expenses such as transportation or food on campus. Online programs also provide the flexibility you may need if you are employed full time and can only study within specific time windows.

Cost of tuition

The cost of a bachelor’s of Accounting program varies significantly based on the type of institution and the state you study in. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of college in 2017-18, for all types of schools, was $20,234. The lowest you would have paid for that academic year was $8,928 at a public community college, while a private university charged the top fee of $35,074.

Entry requirements

You are interested in a bachelor’s of accounting. Next step is to check that you to meet the general admission requirements of the institution that offers the specific accounting program you want to enroll in. Entry requirements for a bachelor’s program of accounting depend on the type of institution that offers them. Nevertheless, having a high-school diploma or a GED is a general prerequisite.

If you want to enter a bachelor’s program offered by a well-established institution, expect high admission requirements. Without being limited to, these include holding excellent high school General Public Assessment (GPA) test results, usually of 2.5 or above, and a strong college admission test score. Your chances of being accepted in bachelor’s programs offered by very competitive higher-education institutions typically increase if you show a keen interest in extracurricular activities.

There are institutions with lower enrollment requirements and even some with open admission for their bachelor’s of accounting program. These are usually low-ranking institutions with lower admission criteria for their bachelor’s of accounting programs.

Core courses in a bachelor’s degree

Most bachelor’s of accounting programs offer a broad curriculum, with intermediate or advanced courses focusing on specialized topics like:

Intermediate and advanced financial accounting

In this class, you dive deeper into collecting, compiling, analyzing, and communicating financial data.

Intermediate and advanced managerial accounting

You’ll grasp an advanced understanding of procedures used to analyze and communicate financial information.

Accounting software and information systems

In a world where technology plays an increasingly important role in all things business, this class will cover best practices on how to identify, avoid, and fight against accounting software security threats.

Economics

This course dives deep into how economic principles help accounting professionals analyze various financial situations. .

Auditing

You’ll learn everything about auditing principles and procedures, focusing on ethics, laws and regulations, and best practices in the field.

Taxation

This course offers intermediate and advanced knowledge on state and national taxation regulations and practices, including their impact on corporations and other organizations.

Ethics in accounting and business

You’ll learn best practices of ethical behavior in the field of accounting and business environments.

Principles of macro- and microeconomics

This course teaches students how to apply the laws that govern Microeconomics and Macroeconomics in real-life business situations.

Continue your accounting education

After you earn an associate’s degree, you can transfer your credit hours to a bachelor’s in accounting, which will increase your employment options. A bachelor’s degree will provide you with in-depth knowledge of accounting principles and practices, and let you dive deeper into the topics you studied in your associate’s program. In choosing between an associate’s and a bachelor’s program, compare curriculum, duration, cost, and the potential career options both study paths offer.

A great way to advance in your career is to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is the certification employers tend to request most often when they hire accountants. The CPA exam requires 150 credit hours to complete, 90 more than an associate’s degree, and around 30 more than most bachelor’s programs. That’s a reason why a high number of people choose to earn a Master’s in Accounting, which is widely considered to be the highest level of education in accounting.

Accounting certifications

Certified Public Accountant

This certification is the most sought after by employers. To get it, you have to sit for an exam organized by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Entry requirements vary from state to state, but most specify that candidates have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 2 years of public accounting experience.

Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

If you’re a Forensic Accountant and want to advance in your career, one way is to become a Certified Fraud Examiner. Examinations are held by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and you need to have a bachelor’s degree and become a member of the organization to qualify.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

If you’re a Forensic Accountant and want to advance in your career, one way is to become a Certified Fraud Examiner. Examinations are held by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and you need to have a bachelor’s degree and become a member of the organization to qualify.

Career options with a bachelor’s in accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can lead to various employment opportunities that range from public or private accountant, tax examiner to internal and external auditor. If you hold a bachelor’s in accounting, you can work as a self-employed professional, or in an accounting firm, in government agencies, commercial businesses, or non-profit organizations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2019 accountants and auditors earned on average $71,550 per year in wages. Note that this salary can vary substantially depending on your work experience, education, and the state you choose to work.

A bachelor’s of accounting is the lowest form of education needed to apply for this job. A public accountant performs tasks like reviewing financial transactions, auditing tax procedures, or creating financial reports.

Even if it’s not a compulsory requirement in pursuing such a career, many public accountants choose to take an exam and become Certified Public Accountants (CPA).

2019 median annual salary: $71,550

In this position, you audit commercial or non-profit organizations and state institutions to establish the legality and accuracy of an organization’s financial data. Using the information gathered during the auditing process, you prepare forensic accounting reports needed for litigation purposes. Responsibilities for this position include various administrative tasks and working with all types of financial documents.

2019 median annual salary: $69,000

If you want to become a tax examiner, you will most likely work for a state or government institution determining the amount of tax companies, and individuals should pay. Daily tasks include auditing, data analysis, and tax returns examination.

2019 median annual salary: $54,890

Internal auditors are professionals employed by a company or a business organization to verify the accuracy, conformity, and legality of all the financial transactions performed by said entity in any given length of time.

2019 median annual salary: $71,000

American Accounting Association (AAA)

The AAA gathers under one roof an extensive community of accountants from all walks of life, including the academic field.

National Society of Accountants (NSA)

NSA is a society with a core mission of helping tax and accounting professionals further their knowledge.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

AICPA is the official body that represents CPAs, developing and grading the CPA certification examination at state and national level.

American Association of Finance and Accounting (AAFA)

The AAFA connects accounting organizations, firms, and professionals throughout the United States.

International Federation of Accountants (IFA)

This organization represents accounting professionals in more than 130 countries around the world, acting as a global common ground for networking and best practices in the accounting industry.

The Institute of Internal Auditors of North America (IIA)

The IIA is an organization with 200,000 members globally that represents internal auditors’ interests at national and international levels.

Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)

ISACA now has more than 150,000 members in over 180 countries and is a global organization for information governance, control, security, and audit professionals.

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)

NASBA acts like a forum for the 55 State Boards of Accountancy in the US, which administer the Uniform CPA Examination. In partnership with AICPA, NASBA facilitates CPA examination for professionals oversees.

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)

Home to over 85,000 members, CFE is an anti-fraud organization that offers anti-fraud training, certification, and education.

European Accounting Association (EAA)

EEA is an academic organization that supports Europe’s accounting community through research, education opportunities and knowledge sharing.

Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

Also known as the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, IMA is the body in charge of organizing, grading CMA and CSCA examination certifications.

Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

FASB is an independent organization that sets the standards for public and private organizations following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the field of financial accounting.