While other fields may experience slow job growth, demand for college graduates experienced in accounting continues to rise in the United States. And a degree in accounting continues to provide an excellent foundation for even those students not planning to practice as accountants. Often called the “language of business,” accounting is the means by which financial information is analyzed and communicated to multiple stakeholders and audiences. So if you like working with numbers and having some detective and analytical work thrown in too, accounting may be the perfect choice for you.
What is Accounting?
Proper analysis is key to the success of any business and is utilized in many forms. While some fields may analyze consumer behavior, human resources, or quality control in a business, accounting involves the recording, reporting, and analysis of financial transactions. From running a lemonade stand to running a globally-operating corporation, understanding core accounting principles is essential to the success of any business.
What Careers do Accounting Students Enter?
Students graduating with degrees in Accounting are in high demand in the workplace due to the great versatility of experience in accounting. Many accounting graduates select management and financial-related occupations as accountants, auditors, budget analysts, actuaries, loan officers, or financial analysts. There are, however, many other applications for accounting in areas you may not expect. For example, did you know that there are only five entry programs at the FBI to become a Special Agent? The first is in accounting.
For the most current occupational information regarding accounting and other careers, including required education and median salary amounts, we recommend you visit O*NET OnLine
, a very useful website created for the U.S. Department of Labor.
What Level of Education is Required for Careers in Accounting?
Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree in accounting, or with a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Any accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Obtaining this certification requires successful completion of a four-part examination prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
What Makes Accounting a Good Choice for College Students?
Accounting is an essential means of communication in business, and for this reason, it is useful in every aspect of a business and its operations. As business continues to grow around the world, demand for individuals experienced in accounting continues to increase. Such career opportunities and the general versatility of a degree in accounting make it an attractive option for interested students. And many who enter the field do so because they love the ever-changing analytical challenge that accounting work holds.
What Should I Look for in an Accounting Degree Program?
The world today has plenty of workers with degrees in business, including accounting. And it takes much more than just a degree to compete with them. Employers today want employees not only competent in their field but who can communicate effectively, work in and lead teams, and are able to observe and analyze a situation to quickly identify the best solution. You won’t find this experience in just any degree program.
The best business education has two main standards: (1) Everything you learn should be useful in the world right now, not just twenty years ago or “someday in your future career.” (2) You should be given the opportunity to put what you learn to the test. Many universities offer excellent lessons in business theory. Others offer a more training-based education. Very few can offer you both.
The School of Business offers students an engaging experience in accounting. All of our accounting professors hold Master's Degrees or above, are Certified Public Accountants (CPA), and have extensive professional experience in the field. Our curriculum prepares students for a number of applicable careers with a real-world focus on learning and the course experience.
Our faculty and staff are always interested in meeting new and potential accounting students. Learn more about and contact any of our accounting professors including David Albrecht, Keith Howson, Kristine Webster, and Danette Zurek on our faculty/staff page.
Is La Sierra University a Good Choice for Accounting Students?
Absolutely. In our School of Business, we believe that the value of your education is found in how you can use it right now. So we not only hire professors with the highest level of education available in their respective fields, we find those who are also active in research, publications, consulting work, and other opportunities for active engagement in accounting. By the time you graduate from La Sierra University with a degree in Accounting, we want you to already have valuable experience not only in the standards and practices of this field, but in acting as a leader, a team-member, an effective communicator, a sharp analyst, and an ethical decision-maker.
How Large is the Accounting Program?
In our School of Business, we believe in the value of small class-sizes combined with highly engaged professors. We limit the maximum enrollment of each of our accounting courses to thirty students or fewer, allowing our professors to work closely with each student, maximizing their potential for learning. In addition, each of our professors holds regular office hours, a time for students to meet with them for assistance, questions, advice, or even to learn of networking or career opportunities. There is nothing that delights our professors more than students interested in their own growth.
Are There Opportunities/Activities Available Outside of the Classroom?
Yes. We strongly believe in the value of engagement outside of the classroom. All students are given opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom in useful ways to our local and global community. Whether it be through community engagement in our Service-Learning courses, student-led projects in our Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team, events and activities with our highly active business club and other student groups on campus, our students learn through experience.
We also work actively to engage students in job and internship opportunities. The fact that La Sierra University lies in the fastest growing county in the state and a city known for its affinity to business provides our students with excellent prospects for local work and internship opportunities. Our annual Meet the Firms Night event stands as one such opportunity for students to meet and network with potential employers.
How Should Future Accounting Students Prepare for College?
One of the most common mistakes potential accounting and business students make is assuming that the study of business is only for those who “enjoy math” or “working with numbers.” Today’s employers need students with strong communication, leadership, critical thinking, and analytical ability. As a university, we seek well-rounded students with these same characteristics. And based on current trends across the United States, students who put extra effort into their written and oral communication skills before college end up in high demand.
Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Accountants and Auditors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm (visited July 13, 2011).
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