Is Accounting & Finance the Right Field for You?
By Ashford University Staff
Behind every industry and every economy are the numbers that define them. Datas drive the financial decisions that individuals and organizations make, so the reliability of the numbers and the people who interpret them are critical to business and personal success. Accounting skills are at the heart of any business. Beyond crunching numbers, the accounting degree programs at Ashford University expose students to the language of business, its modern tools and technology, and specific analytical skills that any successful business leader needs.
Skilled accounting and finance professionals can armed with the ability to understand ledgers and financial statements, evaluate markets, and analyze financial opportunities, these skilled practitioners give businesses and households the guidance they need to make smart choices with their money. So which degree is right for you? Use Ashford’s Online Accounting and Finance Degrees page to uncover all the information prospective students like yourself need in order to choose the best accounting program for your unique goals.
The online accounting and finance degree programs at Ashford University are designed to give students the practical knowledge they need to pursue their dreams and become an essential player in the world of business and the global economy that drives it. Blending foundational concepts with tactical skills, our degree programs are designed to prepare students to enter today's competitive job market with the qualifications they need to compete.
Students pursuing our Bachelor of Arts in Accounting learn the fundamentals of accounting best practices, while exploring the technological tools and techniques they'll use to stay ahead in this ever-developing field. Bachelor of Arts in Finance students get a similarly blended approach to learn the techniques and theories that help businesses with long-range financial planning and implementation.
While many of the skills acquired in our accounting or finance degree programs are required in corporate, community, and business environments, major financial decisions also take place at the family and individual level. To meet the demand for consumer financial services and the experts who provide them, Ashford created the Bachelor of Arts in Consumer and Family Financial Services program, which gives our finance and accounting students yet another pathway to learn essential skills that can lead to a fulfilling career.
Master Your Field
If you're ready to take your existing accounting career to the next level, the Master of Accountancy program at Ashford University is designed to increase your technical skills while enhancing the communication, analytical, and decision-making capabilities you'll need for roles with increased responsibility. This program offers several specializations so you can delve deeper into the concepts and techniques you love most and provide added value to organizations of all types.
If you're already a working professional, the idea of going back to school– even to improve your job prospects – can be intimidating. Most traditional college programs require that you take a full course load on their schedule, but an Ashford University online degree program is different. Designed with working adults in mind, our programs offer a convenient and flexible structure that's built to accommodate your needs. You'll focus on one course at a time so you can dive deeply into the material at an accelerated pace, while preserving time to balance the rest of your busy life.
More Opportunities for Work and Life
Having a finance or accounting bachelor's degree under your belt establishes that you have the focus, know-how, and specific skillset required to appeal to both graduate admissions departments and potential employers. In today's competitive business environment, having an advanced education built upon business-critical financial understanding can help job seekers like you stand out when you're ready to expand your opportunities in the workforce.
The number of accounting and finance careers is both vast and varied. Many graduates pursue traditional roles within banking, tax preparation, and other for-profit or non-profit environments. Other common options include careers in insurance, financial planning and analysis, and credit counseling. With so many people and organizations seeking sound guidance around the complexities of dollars and cents, a degree in accounting, finance, or financial services can position you for a long and rewarding career in a number of industries.
Additional Skills Accounting & Finance Majors Should Know
It's simply not enough for a financial professional to know their way around a balance sheet or a cash flow statement. Today’s financial professionals also need to know their way around computer systems and the tech tools that make the modern accounting landscape more efficient.
Know the Basics
To start, having a strong knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, will give you the foundation you need to know exactly when and where to deploy the technical skills you develop. That said, the benefit of knowing the basics doesn't only apply to accounting concepts. Today’s accounting professionals work with specialized software including custom databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, tax software, and more.
Excel at Excel
Even if you feel you know your way around Microsoft Excel, how advanced are you at using it? The truth is, many accounting graduates enter the workforce without the full range of Excel capabilities that accounting firms look for. From sorting and filtering data to pivot tables and macros, Excel is a robust piece of software that advanced users can wield to manage, interpret, and present information. As you get your résumé ready to pursue a career in accounting, being able to prove you're an "Expert in Excel" will help you stand out from the pack.
Make Your Case
Ultimately, it'll be your responsibility to translate the details of what you've found into actionable intelligence you can share with your department colleagues and the chain of command. Solid communication skills can serve you very well in technical environments, especially when you effectively use advanced presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote. Don't be surprised if, at some point in your career, you're asked to present your findings to executives and other key stakeholders. If you're equipped with the skills to create a compelling and informative presentation using the latest software, you can increase the impact of your results and better demonstrate your work's value to the team.
As the local and global markets and economies grow and overlap, the need for qualified finance professionals may also increase. An Ashford University degree in accounting or finance can give you the practical knowledge you need to set you down a path toward a rewarding career in a variety of industries, working for organizations of all types and sizes. Whether you're just leaving high school or have been in the workforce for a while, there's never been a better time to sharpen your skills and secure your future. Discover what's possible when you explore our Online Accounting and Finance page today.