By Susan Ott
Degree Major: ACCOUNTING
What is it?
Accounting is a field of study in which you’ll gather information about a company’s finances, measure and balance that information and report it back to those in the company who make financial decisions. Accountants track employee salaries, company assets and losses, sales, inventory and consumer financial activity. They also interpret this data to report on a company’s financial health, which can be used by banks and shareholders to make decisions. While the concept of accounting is quite simple, it has numerous applications, making an accounting major quite a versatile asset to companies and organizations. And while the most senior positions in accounting often require a master’s degree, the kind of associate’s or bachelor’s degree you can often complete quickly can open up lots of opportunities. The increased reporting requirements companies have in the wake of Enron and other scandals have created lots of new jobs for accountants.
Who should choose this major?
If you excel in mathematics and enjoy the objectivity of it, then accounting would be a good major to consider. Unlike finance, accounting usually does not require strong people skills or creative thinking. Instead, accounting is a more straightforward field, dealing simply with numbers and reporting on their activity. Those in accounting appreciate its dependability as well as its versatility in translating this specific skill set to many different job applications.
Which careers can it help you obtain?
Accountants can work in a typical office setting or from home, either employed by a specific company or self-employed. Jobs such as a tax accountant have busy seasons with long hours, while other career choices within accounting experience a fairly even workload throughout the year. Accounting career options include:
- General Accountant
- Budget Analyst
- Financial Accountant
- Management Accountant
- Tax Accountant
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Government Accountant
John O’Brien has been a writer, editor and consultant in higher education for over 14 years. His background includes writing for insidehighered.com and The Chronicle of Higher Education. As editor of College Degree Complete, he has advised hundreds of adult students on how to transfer colleges without wasting the credits they’ve already accumulated, to finish their degree programs in the fastest and most affordable way.