Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?
By Ashford University Staff
One of the great — often unheralded — benefits of a college education is that it challenges you to reexamine what you think you know about a certain subject.
Take accounting, for example. Though the profession conjures images of overworked tax preparers and endless spreadsheets, today’s accounting students are discovering there is so much more opportunity beneath the surface.
“The stereotypical view of accounting is often that it’s a bookkeeping function, yet the truth of the matter is accountants have a much greater importance and take a much larger interest in the overall business,” explains Don Frey, CMA, a veteran accountant and Core Faculty for the Department of Professional Studies in the Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University.
Why Accounting Professionals are in High Demand
Frey’s interpretation of accounting as an essential function and backbone of every business is backed up by numbers that show the surging demand for accounting professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the business and financial sector will grow faster than average through 2029, with about 476,200 new jobs coming online. A complex tax and regulatory environment will fuel demand for accountants and auditors, the agency predicts, and those jobs require a bachelor’s degree*.
“Not only do organizations need accountants, they need a bunch of them as business grows,” Frey says. “CEOs want experts, people with input into the economy and ideas on where to take the business.”
What Will I Learn in an Accounting Program?
The first thing to know about an accounting program — something that may bring you some relief — is that you don’t have to be a mathematician to be successful.
“The basics of accounting are adding and subtracting,” Frey says. “The fun part, for me, is the analysis portion — putting it all together.”
An accounting degree, like the Bachelor of Arts in Accounting at the Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University, examines not just the fundamental accounting principles, but also a comprehensive understanding of business.
These courses include:
- ACC 345 Leadership & Financial Analysis
- BUS 311 Business Law I
- ACC 408 International Accounting
- BUS 308 Statistics for Managers
- ACC 380 Accounting for Not-for-Profit Organizations
- ACC 308 Accounting Information Systems
“I think students are pleasantly surprised to find out there’s more to it than balancing the books,” Frey says. “They might think accounting is one thing, but then they realize, ‘Wow!’ When they get into the more interesting areas, they realize there’s a whole lot more to this program and they can go in many different directions.”
Ashford’s accounting program also includes a suite of emphases courses, which will complement your accounting knowledge and can expand your career options upon graduation. Emphases courses include:
- Cognitive Studies
- Environmental Management & Sustainability
- Public Administration
- Public Relations
- Web & Mobile App Technology
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?
As accounting is always in demand, it’s natural to wonder how long it will take to earn your degree so you can go out and compete for today’s top jobs.
Traditionally, a bachelor’s degree takes about four years to finish for a full-time student. Recognizing that many adult learners have to balance school with work and family, Ashford’s online programs are designed to help you complete your degree on-time without sacrificing your priorities.
As an undergraduate accounting student, you’ll take one course at a time for five weeks at a time, allowing you to maintain your focus on a single course. This is imperative when dealing with complex accounting subjects.
The IACBE-accredited Bachelor of Arts in Accounting consists of 120 credits:
- 43 General Education Credits
- 54 Major Course Credits
- 23 Elective Credits
What About a Master’s Degree? Is A Masters in Accounting Worth It?
If you want to expand your expertise and compete for opportunities at the highest levels, you might also consider earning your online Master of Accountancy from the Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University.
The master’s degree program also includes two valuable specializations – Audit and Accounting – that allow you to focus your studies and determine a direction for your career.
Like the bachelor’s degree program, you will take one course at a time. The Master of Accountancy is comprised of 48 credits, and full-time students can typically complete the program in two years.
What Are My Career Options With An Accounting Degree?
With your accounting degree, your career can go in many different directions. Possibilities for graduates include for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, banking, tax preparation, and more.
During his years as an accountant, Frey says he was able to branch out into manufacturing, IT, sales and marketing, and other areas – all because his base knowledge allowed him to understand the financial position of the companies in which he worked.
“Over the years, accountants have gone from scorekeepers to members of the management team,” he says. “They help guide the organization, they understand the margins, the business model, and what’s happening in the world globally.”
Not only is the job essential, but it’s also one that can be done remotely, Frey adds. This allows graduates to gain work experience on a global scale without moving from city to city or country to country.
“You can handle a lot of accounting functions in a lot of different locations,” he says. “I think accounting is one of the most exciting professions because who knows better what’s going on in the organization?”
If you’re looking for an education that will add versatility and essential knowledge to your resume, contact an Ashford University advisor about an accounting degree today.
*Certain degree programs may not be available in all states. Successful completion of this program by itself does not qualify a student to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination. All prospective students should contact individual state boards of accounting for additional information relating to licensure requirements (e.g., education and work experience and any potential restrictions, such as prior criminal convictions) prior to enrolling.