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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Account­ing cours­es involve math, but they focus more on prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tions rather than com­plex the­o­ries like in cal­cu­lus or physics
  • Ear­ly cours­es cov­er basic finan­cial account­ing, while advanced class­es might dis­cuss audit­ing, man­age­r­i­al account­ing, and tax account­ing, which can be challenging.
  • Account­ing pro­grams are designed to pre­pare stu­dents for the CPA exam and careers in account­ing.

While Account­ing cours­es require stu­dents to have an apti­tude for prin­ci­ples of math­e­mat­ics and sta­tis­tics, they do not require a high lev­el of con­cept and the­o­ry manip­u­la­tion. Sub­jects like Cal­cu­lus, Physics, and Com­put­er Sci­ence require stu­dents to think abstract­ly, tak­ing many dif­fer­ent dynam­ics into account, where­as Account­ing cours­es are more straight­for­ward in their appli­ca­tion. The most dif­fi­cult cours­es for an account­ing major will depend on their per­son­al­i­ty and pro­cliv­i­ties, as there are dif­fer­ent areas of account­ing which require dif­fer­ent areas of understanding. 

The most com­mon types of cours­es for account­ing majors include:

  • Finan­cial Account­ing: Usu­al­ly some of the first cours­es for account­ing majors, these cours­es pro­vide an under­stand­ing of how to clas­si­fy assets and expens­es of a business.
  • Man­age­r­i­al Account­ing: Builds upon the skills learned in Finan­cial Account­ing to focus on how to man­age a busi­ness to make its expen­di­tures and invest­ments more efficient.
  • Audit­ing: Teach­es stu­dents how to inves­ti­gate busi­ness prac­tices to ensure that codes and reg­u­la­tions are being followed.
  • Tax Account­ing: Usu­al­ly some of the most dif­fi­cult class­es for an account­ing major as they delve into the minu­tia of tax codes, though this knowl­edge is a major source of income for account­ing graduates.

If you are look­ing to become a Cer­ti­fied Pub­lic Accoun­tant (CPA) you are required in most states to have earned a bach­e­lor’s degree and pass the CPA exam­i­na­tion. Many Bach­e­lor’s in Account­ing pro­grams are tai­lored to pre­pare stu­dents for the CPA exam­i­na­tion. If you want to get an idea about the knowl­edge base that you will be expect­ed to mas­ter dur­ing your account­ing pro­gram, it would be a good idea to check out a prac­tice CPA exam­i­na­tion online. If you have decid­ed you want to become a CPA and are look­ing for an afford­able pro­gram that will put you on track, check out our rank­ing of the Top 15 Cheap­est Bach­e­lor Degrees in Account­ing.

Some of the most dif­fi­cult, upper-lev­el (400+) cours­es that stu­dents will have to pass in their bach­e­lor’s in account­ing pro­gram are:

  • Busi­ness and Account­ing Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems: Teach­es stu­dents to uti­lize state-of-the-art soft­ware that cal­cu­lates inputs, out­puts, and pro­cess­ing of busi­ness transactions.
  • Analy­sis of Cor­po­rate Finan­cial State­ments: Gives stu­dents the knowl­edge to check the finan­cial flow of major cor­po­ra­tions for reg­u­la­tion adher­ence and finan­cial efficiency.
  • Ethics for Account­ing Pro­fes­sion­als: Teach­es stu­dents eth­i­cal the­o­ry in order to acquaint them with prop­er work­place practices.
  • Finan­cial State­ment Audit­ing: Intro­duces stu­dents to the prac­tice of finan­cial state­ment assur­ance by com­bin­ing account­ing and busi­ness knowl­edge with applic­a­ble sta­tis­tics and law concepts.
  • Inter­na­tion­al Tax­a­tion: Gives stu­dents the knowl­edge of inter­na­tion­al tax codes, exchange fees, and how to ensure that cor­po­ra­tions are not dodg­ing tax respon­si­bil­i­ty by manip­u­lat­ing off­shore bank accounts.

While many of these cours­es might seem intim­i­dat­ing, remem­ber that your account­ing pro­gram will start from square one and build up your knowl­edge and con­fi­dence before you have to pass the most dif­fi­cult courses. 

Oth­er course­work, depend­ing on your account­ing career path, may include:

  • book­keep­ing
  • foren­sic accounting
  • finan­cial management
  • account­ing principles
  • finan­cial reporting
  • inter­na­tion­al accounting
  • man­age­ment accounting
  • val­u­a­tion
  • finan­cial records
  • cor­po­rate accounting
  • lan­guage of business
  • cost account­ing

Account­ing class­es will intro­duce you to bal­ance sheets and cash flow. You’ll become an expert in excel. Account­ing stu­dents need to be detail-ori­ent­ed and ready for hard work. Account­ing firms are demand­ing, but so is pass­ing the CPA exam.

On this rank­ing of schools with afford­able account­ing degrees, you will find a vari­ety of great pro­grams that will pre­pare you to mas­ter the most dif­fi­cult sub­jects in account­ing and qual­i­fy you for sta­ble employ­ment as an accoun­tant or anoth­er sim­i­lar profession.


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