Undergraduate Programs in Accounting

Accounting is the method and process by which financial and economic data is managed, archived, analyzed and reported in accessible and useful formats for decision-making in government, business and industry, the non-profit sector, and other organizations and individuals. An undergraduate degree prepares students with mathematical and analytical aptitude to organize and interpret data efficiently and accurately.

The Associate’s degree is a good introduction to the field, the methodologies and processes and the analytical skills required for a career in accounting. The associate’s degree prepares students for an entry-level job as a bookkeeper, a management trainee, a tax preparer, an accounting assistant or an audit clerk. This two-year program is a good opportunity to decide if accounting is the right career track for you.

At the Bachelor’s degree level there are two main options: Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting or the Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting (BBA). These programs offer the training and skill development to prepare the student with the analytical skills, an understanding of auditing, analysis of financial data and reports and ability to use financial data in making management decisions. It also prepares students for certification or licensing examinations.

Other degree programs at the Bachelor’s level are also an option: Bachelor of Science in managerial and administrative accounting. These degrees are not as targeted to accounting tasks or licensure, but instead focus on application of financial data to decision-making in organizations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a division of the Department of Labor) defines four major areas or types of accounting:

  1. Auditors and Internal Auditors
  2. Management Accountants
  3. Public Accountants
  4. Government Accountants

Certification or Licensure will be required for employment in many accounting functions. In some cases, this will require additional education (a Master’s degree) or certificates of study and the licensing or certification examination.