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Bachelor Degree in Accounting & Finance

A college education typically translates into higher wages throughout a career, and this is certainly true in the field of accounting and finance. A degree does not guarantee a job or a specific income; however, most companies hiring accounting and finance professionals only hire candidates with college degrees.

Students enrolled in joint accounting and finance programs will learn about accounting procedures and regulations, and may be required to enroll in auditing, tax regulation, and budgeting classes. Additionally, students will take courses acquainting them with the provisions and regulations of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed by Congress in 2002. This legislation was passed in response to major corporate accounting fraud, and is responsible for some significant changes in the accounting and finance industry. While completing the finance requirements of a joint accounting and finance degree, students will take classes in accounting, corporate finance, and risk management.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of finance-related jobs will increase steadily throughout the foreseeable future. Individuals who already hold finance or accounting associate's degrees can complete a bachelor's program in a relatively short period of time. Online bachelor degree programs in accounting and finance are becoming increasingly popular, largely due to their flexible schedules which allow students to study at whatever times are convenient for them.

Bachelor of Accountancy
The Bachelor of Accountancy (B.Acy, B.Acc. or B.Accty.), commonly referred to as a Bachelor of Accounting, is the main academic degree in accounting. Anyone planning on becoming a professional accountant should earn this degree. Curriculum includes advanced study of financial accounting, management accounting (managerial accounting), auditing, and taxation. Most bachelor degree programs in accounting also required students to complete intermediate-level courses in economics, business law, math, statistics and management. This degree is often confused with a B.B.A. in Accounting or B.Com. in Accounting, but they are not the same. The B.B.A. and B.Com are general business degrees where accounting is emphasized, but not necessarily the focus of study. Many bachelor of accountancy programs allow students to specialize in areas such as Internet Audit, Tax Accounting, or Forensic Accounting. As important as the Bachelor of Accountancy is, most U.S. based employers prefer hiring candidates with a master's in accountacy. However, before you can earn a master's in accountancy you must first earn a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Most accounting bachelor degree programs require students to complete general education courses, such as statistics, economics, communications and business, before tackling core coursework. Courses and topics you may expect to see as you begin studying actual accounting may include:

  • Management principles
  • Financial accounting
  • Income taxation
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Cost accounting
  • Cost management and budgeting
  • Financial fraud
  • Accounting theory and systems
  • Tax law

Bachelor of Science in Finance
Earning a bachelor's degree in finance can open many doors for graduates. However, earning a bachelor degree in finance is not equivalent to earning a bachelor's degree in accounting. While the two fields of study overlap, they still vary in subject matter, scope and application. Bachelor degrees in finance typically cover topics relating to the general management and administration of corporations, such as financial planning, investing, valuation, cost control, budgeting and financial statement analysis. A good bachelor's degree in finance will also cover many accounting topics such as financial statement analysis and managerial accounting. However, finance programs typically address accounting as it applies to financial management and do not delve into the practical applications of accounting. Earning a bachelor degree in finance is great preparation for a career as a financial analyst, financial planner, security analyst, bank manager, or portfolio manager.

There are now several colleges that offers joint finance and accounting degrees. While earning a joint degree can be beneficial, it's often more advantageous to specialize in either accounting or finance. Typically, those organizations that hire accountants want to hire candidates with specialized knowledge in accounting.

Bachelor Degrees in Accounting and Finance
Below you'll find our editor's picks for top online and campus-based bachelor degree programs in accounting and finance. These programs are offered by reputable and accredited colleges and universities. To learn more about a school and the programs it offers click on the "Request Info" button to the right to request more information be sent you.

Popular Career Options for Accounting Majors
Earning a bachelor's degree in accounting from an accredited college or university prepares students vor employment opportunities in an array of fields and industries. Money is the lifeblood of an organization or company. Accountants understand and manage money. Consequently, accountants are an indispensable component of just about every organization or corporation on the planet. With a bachelor's degree in accounting you'll be able to pursue career opportunities with private companies, public corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies at the federal, state and local levels. Some of the more common positions for those with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree include:

  • Public accountant
  • Auditor
  • Consultant
  • Forensic accountant
  • Tax examiner
  • Government accountant

Employment Outlook for Accountants
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL) is projecting an 13% growth rate in employment opportunities for accountants through 2022. During the same time period the U.S. economy is expected to add about 170,000 new accounting jobs. The entry-level education requirement for these jobs will a bachelor's degree, although many of these positions will be filled by CPAs and/or accountants with master's degrees in accounting.

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