Is accounting a hard major?
When choosing a college major, many students will agonize over the decision.
One of the most important deciding factors is the difficulty, and Accounting is considered one of the most demanding business majors out there. (1)
But just how hard is it? And what does it take to become an accountant?
In this blog post, we will explore those questions and more! Let’s begin, shall we?
Is an accounting major that hard?
Accounting can be a complex subject to wrap your head around. But does that make it a hard major?
The answer is both yes and no. How difficult it will be will largely depend on the time and effort you’re willing to put in.
And while it certainly can be challenging, it is also one of the most rewarding. The practical skills you learn in the program will be invaluable in your career.
The Course Work Required
You can’t tackle a degree without dedication, focus, and time set aside to succeed. A typical accounting degree program will include a mix of accounting, finance, and business courses.
In addition, most accounting programs will require you to complete an internship. This is a great way to get real-world experience in accounting.
So, what are some of the courses you will need to complete?
- Introduction to Financial Accounting.
- Introduction to Managerial Accounting.
- Cost Accounting.
- Accounting Information Systems.
- Financial reporting
- Financial Management
- Introduction to Accounting
Some of these classes, like financial accounting and taxation, will be pretty straightforward. Others, like auditing and accounting information systems, can be more challenging.
7 things you should know before pursuing an accounting major
An accounting major is a great choice because there are many job opportunities available.
Here are some questions to consider before pursuing an accounting major:
1. Will it be challenging?
Let no one lie to you; accounting is a challenging major.
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But that does not mean it cannot be done. With dedication and hard work, you can definitely succeed in this field.
While most of your friends will be out partying on the weekends, you will be hitting the books. But trust us, it will be worth it in the end.
You can expect all courses to involve at least some degree of mathematics. You will learn about complex tax laws, costing equations and how to analyze financial reports.
But as with most things in life, if you truly enjoy the subject matter, it won’t seem like hard work. Your passion for numbers will see you through!
2. Will all the course material be difficult?
Though accounting degree programs differ, there are universally easy classes.
Financial accounting, covering basic financial statements, is typically straightforward. Managerial accounting, dealing with cost analysis and budgeting, is also considered relatively easy. However, individual experiences may vary and a class that is considered easy by many, may be difficult for you.
Succeeding in accounting requires effort and seeking help when needed. With dedication, you can excel in any accounting class, no matter its level of difficulty.
3. Should I be prepared for mundane tasks?
At first, you’ll need to put aside the suits and beautiful corner offices.
Most accounting careers will realistically begin with mundane tasks like data entry. You must be prepared to start your career in an entry-level position and work your way up.
However, many of these mundane tasks are now being taken up by AI. Programs like Envoice, which use OCR to extract data, are tackling everyday tasks such as data entry and invoicing.
4. Will there be multiple career choices?
Students who graduate with an accounting degree can find jobs in various industries and sectors.
For instance, they can work in public accounting firms, corporate accounting, government agencies, or even non-profit organizations. One can focus on specific areas, including public accounting and corporate accounting.
In public accounting, one can expect fields like auditing, technical accounting, forensic accounting, and tax.
Corporate accounting, on the other hand, includes roles like financial analyst, controller, and treasurer.
What if working for a boss does not sit well with you? Well, you could always open your accounting practice.
But with so many existing firms, will there be work available?
Absolutely. According to SBC, over 627, 000 new businesses open annually in the US alone. And each of these businesses will eventually need the services of an accountant. (2)
Further Reading: What are the Different types of accountants and what do they do?
5. Will I have opportunities to work abroad?
Accounting is a global profession, and many firms have offices in multiple countries.
As long as you understand Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), you will be able to work in any country. If you prove yourself a loyal and capable employee, you might be offered an opportunity to transfer to other offices worldwide. (3)
And thanks to freelancing sites like Upwork and Fiverr, you can get your own online clients and the ability to work from anywhere at any time.
Plus, more countries are slowly adopting the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). So as long as you understand the IFRS, you will have more opportunities to work abroad.
6. What are my job prospects?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 7 percent between 2020 and 2030. (5)
In the UK, it’s expected that up to 80,000 new accounting and finance roles will be created in the coming decades.
So, if you’re thinking of pursuing an accounting major, know that there are plenty of job opportunities available for you.
7. How secure is an accounting job?
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, job security is one of the most important things we need to feel safe and secure. And as an accountant, you will have just that. (6)
Your skills will always be in demand.
Warren Buffet famously said that accounting is the language of business. As long as there are businesses, the need for accountants will always be there.
In addition, as the world becomes more and more complex, the need for financial experts will only continue to grow. So, if you’re looking for a secure career with good job prospects, then accounting is the way to go.
What does it take to be a successful accountant?
A successful accounting career requires a few things;
- Passion for numbers and solving problems
If you don’t enjoy working with numbers, accounting is not the right field for you.
Why? Because Accounting is all about numbers, isn’t it?
And those numbers, or financial transactions, have to be recorded accurately. Then, you need to be able to take that data and make sense of it – Turn it into something meaningful that allows your client to make the best possible decisions for their business.
- Be willing to put the hours in
Accountants need to be hardworking and willing to put in the extra hours when needed.
Often, there is a lot of work and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. And aspiring accountants will need to be prepared to work especially long hours come tax season.
- Be detail-oriented
The world of finance is all about details. As an accountant, you will need to be extremely detail-oriented to be successful. Everything you touch, from financial statements to balance sheets, will need to be perfect.
And, it’s not just financial accounting that needs utter focus; other aspects like managerial accounting and auditing require the same level of dedication. Choosing an accounting career means choosing a career where details matter.
- Must be tech-savvy
A modern-day accountant needs to be tech-savvy. With the advent of technology, many accounting tasks are now done using computers and software.
As an accountant, you will need to be comfortable using computers and various accounting software programs like QuickBooks and Xero.
Supplement your education with industry-specific accounting software and familiarize yourself with the latest tech to give yourself an edge.
Further Reading: Do Accountants Like Their Jobs?
So, is an accounting degree that hard?
The answer is no; accounting is not a hard major. However, it is a major that requires dedication and hard work. If you’re willing to put in the hours and have a passion for numbers and problem-solving, then accounting could be the perfect career for you.
Plus, with job security and good pay, what’s not to love about an accounting career? So, if you’re thinking of becoming an accountant, go for it! It might just be the best decision you ever make.
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