Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

accounting degree student working on laptop

If you’re wondering whether an accounting degree is worth it, you’re almost certainly considering becoming an accountant or pursuing a related career in finance. Whether an accounting degree is right for you depends on many factors. However, an accounting degree is definitely worth it if you enjoy working with numbers, have good attention to detail and are interested in a career in the financial industry. In fact, if you would like to work in this industry, you’ll almost certainly need a degree to get your foot in the door. Before declaring your major, however, you’ll want to consider the following factors.

Career Possibilities for Graduates With an Accounting Degree

Many graduates with an accounting degree do go on to become accountants. These professionals are responsible for developing and scrutinizing an organization’s financial records. Their goal is to ensure these records are accurate, and to identify financial risks and develop possible solutions for the company. For example, an accountant might come up with suggestions for limiting expenditures while improving revenue. Accountants also prepare tax returns.

Although accounting is a clear career choice for those with an accounting degree, it’s not the only one. In fact, this degree will give you transferrable skills and accounting knowledge that will prove useful in a number of career pathways. For example, you might decide to become a financial analyst. Financial analysts work with both individuals and businesses, providing financial guidance on investment strategies and recommending investment portfolios. Mutual funds, banks, pension funds and securities firms are common employers of financial analysts.

If you prefer to work one-on-one with individual clients, you might consider becoming a personal financial advisor. These professionals often work for financial advising firms, although many are self-employed sole proprietors. Personal financial advisors meet with clients to learn about their financial goals and develop a plan for wealth management. For example, an advisor might help a client save for their children’s college education and for retirement.

These are just a few career possibilities. Others include the following:

  • Loan officer
  • Bookkeeper
  • Accounting manager
  • Tax professional
  • Payroll specialist
  • Compliance analyst

Opportunities for Advancement in the Field

When thinking about whether an accounting degree is worth it, another issue to consider is the possibility of advancement in the field. Most new graduates will start in an entry-level position, where they will gain experience and develop a professional reputation before working toward a promotion to a position of a higher level. In the accounting field, there are opportunities for advancement. For instance, a person who starts out as an accountant might later become an accounting manager and then a chief financial officer (CFO).

Characteristics of Effective Accounting Professionals

If you’re still not sure whether an accounting degree is worth it or whether this is the right field for you, consider whether you share the characteristics of effective accounting professionals. Here’s a look at some common ones:

  • Impeccable organization: Accountants must work with a high volume of paperwork and digital files. It’s essential to be a highly-organized individual who knows how to quickly find needed information.
  • Solid time management: Accountants must be able to work within strict time constraints. An aspiring accountant should be someone who has a track record of submitting their work on time or even before the deadline.
  • Unwavering diligence: An effective accountant is someone who is diligent about accuracy. He or she will check the numbers at least twice to ensure they are correct.
  • Commitment to confidentiality: Although there are some exceptions, accountants have a duty of confidentiality with their clients. Accountants often work with highly sensitive information, and it’s essential to keep that information strictly confidential.

These are just a few of the essential characteristics of those in the financial industry. It’s also necessary to have a commitment to ethical practices, good communication skills and attention to detail.

If you’d like to become an accountant, but you aren’t sure whether you have the necessary characteristics, you can actively work to cultivate them. For example, if you tend to be disorganized, begin working on getting better at this by implementing an organizational system for your schoolwork.

Develop a solid academic framework for pursuing future career success at Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business. Students in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree program work through a rigorous and well-rounded curriculum that covers topics such as business statistics, organizational management, the fundamentals of business finance and ethical issues in business. Use the Request Info button above to explore the possibilities at GCU.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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