A Bachelor’s in Accounting is a strong degree choice for students who are interested in becoming an accountant, working in the finance industry, or becoming a business leader. Despite the apparent narrow focus of the field, accounting programs can be quite diverse and often include courses that cover a wide range of issues and topics. The required coursework is typically designed to prepare students for entry-level positions, as well as the potential for application to graduate programs, which is a necessary step towards becoming a certified public accountant (CPA).
Finance and Business Law
Accountants are bound by many standards and rules that are implemented at various levels, ranging from recommended practices to federal law. Undergraduate students need to understand the purpose, enforcement and details of these rules in order to practice their skills on a professional level. Accountants also need to know where to look to research recent legislation and have the knowledge to fully appreciate its implications on their work.
Auditing and Forensic Practices
Auditing and forensic accounting are both notable specializations within the field of accounting, and many professionals focus on these areas exclusively. Even students who don’t anticipate entering these specific fields need to have some knowledge of internal and external auditing processes. Forensic courses focus on investigative practices to identify and trace the source of irregularities in the organization’s financial structure. Accountants employed by government agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), also apply these skills on a regular basis.
Taxation and Reporting
Taxation is one of the basic topics covered throughout an accounting program, so students should expect to take more than one course on this topic. All companies, from massive corporations to tiny non-profits, are required to submit financial reports and file taxes. Accountants responsible for preparing the documents have to investigate, double-check and report their findings according to industry standards and applicable laws. Learning how to navigate the federal tax system is an integral part of undergraduate accounting programs.
Software Proficiency and Programming
Like many other modern professions, accountants rely heavily on the use of computer technology and software to perform their jobs. This means that computer proficiency is absolutely essential for prospective candidates, and many positions require even more advanced skills. Accountants use several types of industry-specific software to track finances, create reports and file taxes. Familiarity with these programs is a prerequisite for many positions at firms and companies. Students should also consider learning Java, Python and other programming languages, as these skills can provide value and career opportunities on their own, according to Forbes.
Accounting isn’t just about crunching numbers, it is a broad field of study that encompasses financial law, business management and numerous niche practice areas. An undergraduate program is just the beginning of the journey towards full professional certification, but it’s still one of the most important steps of all. Students should make an effort to engage and succeed in every course, as they are all essential components of a Bachelor’s in Accounting program.