Welcome to Accounting Degree Review. We provide expert reviews and rankings of accounting degree programs at all levels.
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Whether you’re looking for the best accounting schools to earn your Bachelor’s in Accounting, a top Master’s in Accounting degree program, or the best online Master’s in Accounting degree programs, we’ve got you covered. We can also direct you to the top Accounting degree scholarships, and the highest paying careers in accounting for when you finish that degree!
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Just what is accounting? An accountant examines financial records to check for accuracy and make sure individuals and organizations are abiding by laws and regulations. He or she calculates taxes, prepares tax returns, and makes sure taxes are paid correctly and by the designated deadlines. Other duties include organizing financial records and recommending ways to decrease costs, boost revenues, and increase profits. An accountant regularly meets with clients and prepares written reports to explain their findings and suggestions.
Types of Accounting
In general, there are four types of accounting degrees: public accounting, government accounting, management accounting, and internal auditing. There are also various subfields and specializations within each area.
Public Accounting is the most extensive field, and public accountants complete a wide range of accounting, tax, auditing, and consulting activities for individuals, corporations, and government organizations. Most people have an accountant or an accounting firm that prepares their income tax returns. These individuals are Tax Professionals who sometimes have degrees in Taxation.
• A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, is an individual who has earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and has taken and passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. The CPA credential provides national recognition of competency. Public accountants can also be Financial Advisors, Financial Planners, or Accounting Consultants.
Government Accounting handles the records of government organizations and its taxpayers and completes auditing tasks for individuals and businesses that are subject to government regulation. The Department of the Treasury (DOT) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are two large employers on the federal level of government, but almost every federal agency has a few accountants on staff. State, county, and city governments also employ accountants to manage budgets and oversee the finances on the local level.
Management Accounting focuses on the analysis of financial data for companies and assists in planning and budgeting. Management Accountants prepare information for internal use.
• The Certified Management Accountant, or CMA, certification designates professionals to work as Managerial Accountants. They are skilled in preparing budgets and financial documents and most often work for private businesses and corporations.
Internal Auditors are accounting specialists that intensively study of the records and reports of a government or private entity to identify fiscal misconduct. They recognize ways to improve efficiency and identify ways to remove waste and fraud.
• Forensic Auditors, also known as Forensic Accountants or Investigative Auditors, are accountants that specialize in finding embezzlement, tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering.
• Actuaries are auditors that most often work for insurance companies or large corporations. Most Actuaries have accounting degrees and the pass a series of test to become actuaries. However, many colleges and universities now offer undergraduate and graduate Actuarial Science degrees.
Other subfields advancing in accounting are Accounting Information Technology and Environmental Accounting.
A degree in Accounting Information Technology requires skills in IT as well as accounting and qualifies an individual to be an IT Auditor, a Financial Analyst, or to specialize in cybercrime as a Fraud Examiner. The Accounting Information Technology degree can also lead to licensure as a CPA.
Environmental Accountants review the environmental impact of a company. They factor in policies and regulations into the cost of doing business. Ultimately, their goal is to reduce or eliminate expenses and ecological damage at the same time. This field is also known as Sustainability Accounting.
Find a career path that fits your specialty within the diverse field of Accounting: check out our handy listing of the Top 40 Best Paying Jobs for Accounting Degree Majors!
In general, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related area is necessary to work as an accountant. A Bachelor of Arts in Accounting is a common degree and it provides a solid understanding of intermediate and advanced accounting practices. The degree prepares students to enter the field at an entry or mid-level position.
Some employers seek individuals who have a master’s degree in an accounting related field. Two common master’s degree programs are the Master of Accounting and the Master of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. Accelerated five-year accounting programs offer students the opportunity to earn an undergraduate and a graduate degree in five years.
Many accountants become certified to improve job opportunities. There are several different types of accounting certifications. For example, numerous accountants decide to become Certified Public Accountants, or CPA, to increase job prospects or to obtain a large clientele.
To become a CPA, an individual must receive a passing score on a national examination. Additional requirements include a minimum of 150 semester hours of college coursework. Nearly all states require CPAs to complete regular continuing education to maintain their certifications.
- Check out CPA Requirements By State!
Other certifications include Certified Management Accountant, or CMA, and Certified Internal Auditor, or CIA. If an accountant files a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he or she must have the Certified Public Accountant credential.
An accountant must possess a variety of skills such as an aptitude for mathematics and close attention to detail. He or she must be able to analyze and synthesize large amounts of data. Other desirable skills include effective oral and written communication and excellent computer skills.