What Degree Do You Need To Be An Accountant?

August 5, 2022

What Degree Do You Need To Be An Accountant?

If you’re still considering your career options, you might be wondering, what degree do you need to be an accountant? and what are the requirements for accounting degree. In this article, we’ll go into everything you need to know.

Accounting is a popular career choice for people who are organized, analytical and like to work with numbers. It is a stable career choice too, with lots of opportunities and often with the option to climb the corporate ladder, which makes it a popular choice for people who want to have a steady job and keep their options open.

Like any kind of education, getting an accounting qualification will require an investment of both time and money, and it’s a good idea to understand your options before you make any decisions. So let’s take a closer look at your accounting qualification options and how they could affect your career path.

Why You Should Consider a Career in Accounting

Before we get into the specifics of what degree you need for accounting, it’s a good idea to look at why you might want to pursue this career.

Of course, having the right skills, talents, aptitudes, and interests is the first step, but you also need to love the idea of being in a precise, analytical, logical work environment.

As far as career outlook, the future looks great for accountants. Demand for accountants is high and expected to increase between now and 2024. Accountants also earn good salaries, with the average being over $70,000 per year.

Accountants also have various options about where they work. Many choose to work for companies as corporate accountants, but there are also standalone accounting practices, or you could choose to start your own accounting firm and market your services to local businesses.

How to Become an Accountant

Choose Your Accounting Degree Program

Once you’ve decided that you want to be an accountant, it’s time to find the right degree program.

Different universities and colleges will have different admission requirements, so a lot will depend on whether you meet the grade and other criteria for a particular course. There are many different types of institutions that offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, which is what you will need if you plan to work as an accountant.

Of course, many of the courses that make up an accounting degree program will be math based, but you will also learn about statistics, tax law, auditing, international finance and more. By the time you have completed an accounting program, you will have all the theoretical knowledge you need to work as an accountant.

Decide If You Want to Specialize

Once you have completed an accounting qualification, you can choose to stop studying and get a job as an accountant. However, there are several additional qualifications or specializations you could consider too.

Some accountants choose to specialize in tax accounting, managerial accounting or financial accounting, or you can study further and work towards becoming a CPA or Certified Public Accountant.

You don’t have to decide this immediately. Once you have completed your accounting degree, you can choose to work for a while and continue your studies later.

Get Experience

While you’re probably focused on what degree you need to be an accountant at this point, you also need to consider where you will get practical experience. Accounting degrees focus on the theory of accounting, but you also need practical, hands-on training in order to complete your degree program.

Usually, this experience comes in the form of an internship, which can be paid or unpaid. During this time, you will work under the supervision of an experienced and qualified accountant who can guide you on the practical, day-to-day use of the knowledge you have gained during your studies.

Start Job Hunting!

Finally, after you have an accounting qualification and practical experience under your belt, it’s time to start looking for a job as an accountant. The good news is that there are lots of opportunities out there, and you should have no trouble finding lots of options in most big cities and towns.

An accounting degree can also open other doors for you, including the possibility of emigrating as a skilled worker to several different countries.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Accounting Degree?

While you’re finding out what degree do you need to be an accountant and figuring out if you meet the requirements for an accounting degree, you might also want to plan for the time you will be studying.

Most accounting degrees are four-year programs, although if you choose to specialize or pursue becoming a CPA, it will take a little longer.

Not everyone can afford to focus only on studying for four years, but there are also part-time and even remote and online study programs, so you can study while you work. This is a popular option for people who are already working in a related field like bookkeeping and who want to formalize their education.

If you choose to study further, there are also Masters and Ph.D. programs for accountants.

What Does It Cost to Become An Accountant?

According to the NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics), the average cost for any degree program in the United States is a little over $20,000 per year, which means a four-year program will cost over $80,000.

However, that is usually for a full-time program at a more prominent college. There are many other study options at smaller community colleges or even online programs that cost significantly less than that. So it’s a good idea to explore all your options to find a degree program that suits your budget.

Do You Need A Degree for Accounting?

So far, we’ve focused mainly on the formal education you need to work as an accountant, but there is another option, which is to get your training on the job.

While you cannot become a CPA without first getting a bachelor’s degree in most places, it is entirely possible and legal to work as an accountant without a degree.

Usually, people who choose this option work for private companies, and you usually cannot pursue a career at an accounting firm without a degree. The salary for people who do not have a degree is usually also lower than those who have completed a degree program.

It is worth noting that some universities and colleges do have Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL programs that can give you credits towards a degree program based on your on-the-job training. So once you have worked as an accountant for several years, you might be able to skip some of the courses and training for a formal accounting program.

You also don’t need an accounting degree to work as a bookkeeper, which is a largely administrative role that many people choose to pursue instead of accounting. Bookkeeping is less creative and slower-paced than accounting, but it’s a great way to use a love of numbers and an eye for detail!

What Else Can You Do With an Accounting Degree?

Getting an accounting degree does not mean you need to become an accountant. Many people choose to study accounting but then go on to start their own businesses in widely varying fields. Like a business degree, an accounting degree or qualification can be a great base to build your own business around.

Many people who have accounting degrees also choose to work as freelancers, often from their own homes. This gives them a lot more flexibility and allows them to work for diverse clients instead of one employer.

There are also a huge variety of financial roles that often require an accounting degree, including things like being a budget analyst, financial analyst, finance manager or even (with a little more studying) a financial advisor.

Many companies and organizations like hospitals or charities also hire accountants for management positions. So while it might seem like an accounting qualification gives you a narrow range of possibilities, there are actually many ways to use your degree!

Embrace Change and Technology

Some people think that accounting and finance is a boring, rigid field filled with people in grey suits. However, that’s not true, and finance and accounting are actually one of the fastest-changing fields in business right now.

Whether it’s new technologies or new ways to do business or work online, there’s a whole lot of change going on.

Wherever you choose to get an accounting qualification, and whatever you choose to do with it, it’s a good idea to stay up to date with the latest technologies and processes.

LiveFlow is changing the way accountants and finance professionals use data from popular accounting packages. Like many fintech companies, we’re building tools that accountants now and in the future can use to automate processes and integrate various types of accounting technology.

So, while you might still have some studying between you and your dream accounting job, be sure to explore tools like this. They will stand you in good stead when your studies are complete and you start working in your first accounting role. Book a quick 30-minutes demo with our friendly LiveFlow team today.

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