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Potential Paths of Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Program Graduates

Higher Education Articles May 15, 2014

Companies, governments, nonprofits, and individuals hire accountants to assist with their finances. The bachelor’s degree program in accounting does not usually qualify graduates to become CPAs (Certified Public Accountants). If this is the case, graduates may find work in other areas, such as government accounting, auditing, and personal accounting.

Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

Students enrolled in accounting bachelor’s degree programs are often required to complete 120 credits through four years’ worth of full-time coursework; however, some undergraduate accounting degree programs are combined with a graduate certificate in accounting by some schools that offer a five-year program that graduates can complete in order to qualify for the Uniform CPA Examination. Courses in the separate types of accounting may be included in the program coursework, in addition to statistics, finance, fraud examination, taxation, and macro and micro economics. A student completing an accounting degree program can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree; occasionally, an accounting degree program may lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Accounting.

Qualification for Certified Public Accountant

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers the CPA exam as a uniform one across the United States. However, standards for qualification to take the exam may be set by individual states. Additional credits are required of a graduate holding a bachelor’s degree in order to satisfy the minimum of 150 credits set by the District of Columbia and 46 states. Typically, the extra credits culminate in an accountancy graduate certificate or master’s degree.

Career Options for Accounting Majors

Bachelor’s degree graduates may seek occupations with accounting firms; however, they may enjoy limited chances of promotion unless they hold a certified public accountant, certified management accountant, or certified internal auditor credential. A CPA license is mandatory for an accountant to be able to attest to publicly traded companies’ audits; however, if those reports are not filed by accountants with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, they may legally work even if they don’t hold a CPA credential.

Accountants who hold a bachelor’s degree may seek occupations with nonprofit groups, businesses, and individuals in auditing, taxes, payroll, and financial planning. An individual who aspires to work as an accountant for the federal government will need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

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