Best Bachelor's in Accounting Programs Top Consensus Ranked Un­der­grad­u­ate Programs in Accounting

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Tammie Cagle is a writer, editor, entrepreneur, and certified academic life coach. Tammie received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A & M University-College Station and her MBA from Marylhurst University.

When considering a bachelor’s in accounting program, it is essential to have a good idea of the general field in which your career will be headed. Many who have attained this degree go on to work in accounting – also known as the reporting of financial data – or as financial specialists within other business roles. Accounting students sometimes join small startup firms, are recruited by one of the “Big 4” firms, or set out on their own as solo accounting firms. The most popular careers with accounting degrees are public accountants, management accountants, and auditors. To get a jump start as any one of these coveted professionals, it’s vital to get a top-shelf education from one of the best business schools in the nation.

Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Accounting is one of the top business degree fields because the possibilities are endless. Many organizations require the work of accounting experts. Accounting professionals can study and work in unique specialties of accounting or become coveted general experts in accounting practices. But it all starts with finding the right bachelor’s in accounting program to start students on their journey to this amazing career. This ranking of the Best Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs combines data from three leading ranking systems in order to help students find the most consistent program in accounting excellence. Here are twenty-five of the best bachelor’s in accounting programs available.


This ranking of Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs is a consensus ranking of on-campus bachelor’s programs from top business schools around the nation. We combined data from three leading ranking systems: Quacquarelli SymondsU.S. News and World Report, and Times Higher Education. Each program’s rank was weighted equally, averaged, and then converted to a score on a 100-point scale to find a Consensus Score.

Michigan State University features the nation’s best undergraduate accounting programs at the Eli Broad College of Business. For over half a century, Broad’s Department of Accounting and Information Systems has been Michigan’s most substantial provider of certified public accountants (CPAs). The business school is among an elite group of recruiting institutions for the “Big Four” public accounting firms and other regional and national organizations. Undergraduate business students pursuing this degree can work as certified public accountants, financial advisors, analysts, actuaries, and corporate controllers. Since good accountants need to be exemplary businesspeople first, this curriculum is built around an intentional balance of accounting, business, and general education courses. Broad’s proven education model will provide students with comprehensive skill sets to help them compete and develop as leaders in today’s marketplace. Thanks to an ongoing curriculum evaluation by instructors and input from the External Advisory Board comprised of representatives from the largest CPA firms and other organizations, this program is continually improving.

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The University of Southern California features a bachelor’s in accounting program through the Marshall School of Business. USC Leventhal provides accounting undergrads with the tools and resources they need to succeed. This on-campus program is recognized for the immersive experience it gives accounting students. Graduates leave the program as qualified accountants and well-rounded professionals. Leventhal exists within the Marshall School of Business and provides accounting students opportunities to interact with the top-notch instructors at Marshall. This award-winning accounting program in the United States is bolstered by alumni spanning the entire globe and features top professors, mentors, and faculty. The business school is committed to furthering knowledge and disseminating it through quality academic and professional journals and symposia. USC students have the motivation and opportunity to succeed within a rigorous educational environment at an unparalleled undergraduate program level. Students looking for extracurricular activities will appreciate that the Leventhal School of Accounting recognizes five student organizations. This undergraduate accounting program delivers in all the right ways.

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The Smeal College of Business at Penn State features an undergraduate accounting program. Program designers understand that accountants must effectively develop and interpret financial information required for decision-making by regulators, managers, investors, and other stakeholders. To perform these functions, accountants work with concepts and numerical data as they serve effectively as individuals or on teams. Accountants work with others in specialized departments and with financial information users throughout organizations. Because of the close association with other parts of an organization, accountants are in unique positions to develop broad business perspectives. Smeal Accounting majors are recruited for various job opportunities after graduation. Penn State is a famous recruiting school for organizations and the Big Four accounting firms—Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and EY. Potential accountant employers include professional services like public accounting, tax planning services, firms at the international, consulting, and national, regional, and local levels of auditing. Smeal leaders have left nothing to chance with this stellar undergraduate accounting degree.

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A top-notch bachelor’s in accounting program is available at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Accounting is a dynamic field, offering undergrads diverse opportunities in government agencies and the private sector worldwide. The W. P. Carey business degree in accountancy features the critical thinking, team-building, communication, and information technology skills accounting professionals need to thrive in their careers. Enrolled students can expect to form close ties with significant regional, national, and international accounting firms that give them a competitive edge in the global job market. The W. P. Carey School of Accountancy coordinates with its Professional Advisory Board to structure a learning environment that reflects the real world — so students graduate with the best possible preparation for their accounting career. Accounting students explore real-world business strategies and processes, including the latest technologies and software, through courses like Business Database Concepts, Statistics, Business Law and Ethics for Managers, External Reporting, Business Project Management, Enterprise Process Analysis and Design, and Ethics for Professional Accountants. Carey’s undergraduate accounting program is an excellent start to a fruitful business career.

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The Indiana University Kelley School of Business offers an undergraduate accounting program. This degree is an excellent fit for on-campus undergraduate students who enjoy mathematics, are skilled communicators, and enjoy helping organizations or individuals make sound financial decisions. Enrolled students pursuing this undergraduate degree from the Kelley School of Business receive training in analyzing and interpreting the legal, economic, social, political, legal, and technological influences that influence the global economy, evaluating a region or nation for business expansion or investment or expansion, and developing a comprehensive knowledge base in essential divisions of business by understanding relationships among leadership, finance, marketing, and operations. Program designers give accounting majors the tools for informed analysis, control, planning, and decision-making. Students learn to address the verbal and written skills accounting professionals need to be influential team members and serve clients well. This Bachelor of Science in Accounting results in many career options like auditing, taxes, consulting, and information technology systems.

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An excellent bachelor’s in accounting program is available at the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology. Since accounting is the language of business, it exists as the scoreboard which measures organizational success and failure. Used by managers within all firms, accounting provides the data needed to make effective and efficient decisions in the global marketplace. Some of this program’s accounting courses help on-campus undergrads prepare for several qualifying examinations like the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Program candidates meet with advisers to pursue one of these exams to ensure they take the appropriate courses. Accounting classes within this program include Business Taxation, Financial Reporting and Analysis I, Financial Reporting and Analysis II, and Auditing and Financial Control System. There is a lot to love about the Scheller College of Business undergraduate accounting program.

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Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School offers an undergraduate accounting program. This Bachelor of Business Administration from an AACSB Accredited Accounting program prepares on-campus undergrads for careers providing numerous opportunities for development and growth. The benefits of this degree include a global context, professional recognition, and multiple career paths. Enrolled students can bet that accounting will continue to be recognized as one of the world’s best professions. It offers a common language for analyzing businesses worldwide. The accounting profession develops accounting and information systems that firms operate in a complex global environment. Graduates of this program pursue careers in various industries and enterprises, as educators, and at all levels of government. These career paths allow graduates to serve society by helping to maintain a high level of integrity in financial reporting, financial control, and accounting. Regardless of your career path, this undergraduate accounting program will prepare you for success.

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A prestigious bachelor’s in accounting program is currently available at the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business. Foster’s accounting curriculum features problem-solving, research, and interpersonal communication to enable undergrads to think critically about financial transactions and future implications for an entire organization. Sample accounting functions include Financial, Audit, Tax, Managerial, Public-sector, and International. To become public accountants, on-campus students need to become CPA eligible by pursuing 225 credits. The business school’s Career Services recommends all accounting undergrads meet with career coaches for resume reviews, interview preparations, and recruiting discussions which often occur at the start of the academic year. Foster features two separate Master of Accounting degrees: the Master of Science in Taxation (MST) and the Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc). Accounting students can apply to the MPAcc and MST programs during their final year once fall quarter grades are posted. Foster School Accounting students do not need to submit GMAT scores.

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The Max M. Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University provides an undergraduate accounting program. Enrolled students are exposed to the recording and analysis of financial transactions, summarizing data in financial statements and reports, and interpreting financial information for decision making. Accounting undergrads also learn to develop budgets for future planning, determine taxes and tax planning, audit records and develop systems to verify financial activity and internal control concepts of the examined activity. This curriculum shows how accounting provides relevant data to labor unions, decision-makers, creditors, managers, investors, government regulators, and others interested in the financial status and future of a firm’s economic activity. Courses within this program include Business Skills and Environment, Marketing, Business Law, International Business, Finance, Economics, Management Sciences, and Management and Human Resources. The business school’s Office of Global Business gives Fisher students options to put classroom theories into action and learn through experience. This high-powered accounting degree will aptly prepare business students.

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides an excellent bachelor’s in accounting program through the Gies College of Business. Accounting majors at Gies Business develop the knowledge and skills to analyze and solve financial issues. Accounting undergrads who study on-campus learn how to evaluate and prepare financial documents while providing clients with solutions and information to run their organizations effectively, efficiently, and ethically. Accounting professionals can be found in every industry area and at management and executive levels within nearly all organizations, creating extensive opportunities for accounting majors to use their talents as business leaders. It is no secret that accountants are in high demand, and that’s true of Gies Accountancy students. With a BS in Accountancy from Gies, undergrads will have a head start on rewarding careers in various fields, including auditing, public or private accounting, taxation, and accounting information systems. Gies Business stands as a primary talent pipeline for the nation’s top accounting and client service firms.

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The Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides an undergraduate accounting program. Enrolled students in this program develop the solid technical and professional skills to succeed in dynamic professions. They learn how emerging technologies are transforming the landscape of business as they appreciate the diverse and global nature of career paths in accounting. This program’s topics, skills, and concepts include financial and managerial accounting, audit and advisory services, cost accounting, taxation, accounting systems, and emerging technologies. Students can expect to evaluate the economic transactions on which organizations are built and organized while learning to report the impact of those transactions. The curriculum also features the art of learning to evaluate the tax impact of business decisions. Many accounting students compete in case competitions hosted by professional partners allowing them to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Wisconsin has designed an excellent undergraduate accounting program.

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The Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida currently features a top bachelor’s in accounting program. Program architects understand that accounting involves more than sitting at a computer while making careful financial calculations. Today’s accountants work closely with clients to develop enduring professional relationships. Accountants are qualified to work in any field one can think of, from nonprofit organizations to the “Big Four” firms. Since accounting provides a meaningful and fulfilling career for all interested students, Warrington’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree is a four-year program that features an excellent foundation in business and accounting. Its conceptual aim is to prepare accounting students for success in a continually growing business environment and prepare undergrads for graduate studies. Some candidates enter the Fisher School of Accounting to limit their accounting studies in Florida to undergraduate coursework. These students look to the BSAc degree to provide invaluable preparation for post-graduate education in business areas other than accounting. This program would be an asset to any accounting student’s credentials.

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The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business provides an excellent undergraduate accounting program. On-campus undergraduates at Maryland Smith are trained by world-class instructors who deliver a state-of-the-art curriculum derived from the needs of the real world. With the business school’s Plus 1 program, accounting students have the option to earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years within select majors. Students studying Accounting at Smith learn from faculty who influence how organizations invest in cybersecurity while networking with Smith accounting alumni holding more managing partner and CEO positions in public accounting firms than any other university in the nation. Smith’s accounting curriculum includes taxation, financial planning, budgeting, internal and external auditing, accounting systems, financial management controls, financial reporting, and financial analysis of performance. It provides an excellent academic base for careers in consulting, public accounting, management, and forensic accounting. This accounting program is full of possibilities.

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The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business provides an excellent bachelor’s in accounting program. Terry’s J. M. Tull School of Accounting prepares on-campus students for careers as professional accountants, whether they pursue a title as a tax expert, member of management, computer systems specialist, or a certified public accountant. The curriculum recognizes that accountants need to be competent businesspeople. The academic program features significant exposure to business, economics, and management courses. It is designed to give accounting undergrad students an understanding of accounting theory as it is utilized in society. Topics covered include accounting standards, taxation, financial statement preparation, product cost and budgeting, auditing, risk assessment, and control. Students completing this stellar program go on to enjoy successful careers in accounting, auditing, budget analysis, staff accounting, and tax consultation. This high-quality accounting degree is worth a second look.

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Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Rutgers Business School features an exemplary undergraduate accounting program. While many auditors and accountants need at least an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related field, many of these professionals choose to obtain certification to advance their careers by becoming Certified Public Accountants. All accountants filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are required by law to reach CPA status. This can include senior-level accountants working for or on behalf of public organizations registered with the SEC. Their State Board of Accountancy licenses certified Public Accountants. Accounting students can pursue the on-campus Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at Rutgers Business School. Significant specializations include internal auditing, public accounting, tax accounting, budget accounting, cost accounting, and government accounting. Students preparing for a public accounting career, who meet the academic requirements, can enroll in an accounting program at the master’s level. This excellent accounting degree from Rutgers is one of the nation’s best.

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The School of Business at George Washington University provides a bachelor’s in accounting program. This on-campus Bachelor of Science in Accountancy is also known as an accountancy major. It offers a general education leading to a broad understanding of the business world and a specialized knowledge in accounting. The program is designed to prepare undergrads for professional careers in accounting and graduate study in law, business, finance, or information systems. All organizations with financial records need accountants. In some cases, students with accountancy training may begin working immediately after graduation in accounting. Some employers require a CPA certification for new hires or promotion, and, in most states, sitting for the CPA exam requires completing 150 credit hours. Public accountants study financial statements and provide their clients with financial advisory and tax planning services. This degree will train students in these tasks and so much more. When considering this accounting degree, the bottom line is that after they graduate, George Washington students are set apart from the crowd.

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An excellent undergraduate accounting program is delivered at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Robinson’s undergraduate accounting degree is designed to offer the foundation-level analytical and technical skills and knowledge needed to become an accounting professional and pursue a graduate year of accounting study and graduate study in law or another business field. Program designers understand that today’s accountants are expected to contribute extensively to the general area of business management. Accountancy as a profession is becoming increasingly divergent, encompassing corporate tax planning, financial and operational auditing, operations research, cost analysis and control, information systems development and assurance, and financial reporting. In recognition of the advisability of pursuing a broadly based education in general business subjects and liberal arts, as well as the need for a thorough foundation in the highly diversified and specialized fields of accounting, an undergrad desiring a career in accounting is encouraged to complete this professional program of study that dovetails into a Master of Professional Accountancy degree. Georgia State’s undergraduate accounting program has a lot to offer.

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The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina provides one of the nation’s best bachelor’s in accounting programs. This on-campus accounting degree provides a robust technical education that equals the elite business schools in the Southeast. The Moore School fuses fundamental liberal arts and sciences coursework with a solid business core, which prepares undergraduate students for the global marketplace. To qualify to become successful accounting professionals in a global information society, enrolled students learn about the complete accounting cycle, including interpreting financial statements and cost analysis. Accounting students also develop auditing, tax, and accounting information systems knowledge. This program includes field trips to active industries, service-learning opportunities, supervised internships, and access to the Moore accounting mentoring program, which exposes undergrads to firsthand knowledge and experience, so they are well-equipped with the competencies required to maintain a competitive edge in a demanding industry. Moore’s undergraduate accounting program is a degree unlike any other.

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A top undergraduate accounting program is currently available at the University of Miami’s Herbert Business School. The business school’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance (BSAF) is intended for quantitatively adept students arriving at Miami Herbert interested in the financial services industry or a career in corporate financial management. This lockstep degree program encourages business students to accelerate coursework in the Finance and Accounting disciplines simultaneously as they hone the development of quantitative skills in data analytics. In addition to pursuing the University’s Cognates Program of General Education and electives to satisfy the overall 125-credit degree requirement, accounting students pursuing the BSAF complete coursework for Accounting and Finance majors. A cognate or minor in Business Analytics is available within this degree. The Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance is the perfect fit for students interested in working as accountants. This undergraduate accounting program is a game-changer.

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The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame features a top-notch bachelor’s in accounting program. This program is in the business school’s dedicated Department of Accountancy. Enrolled students learn a skillset forever in demand in the business world. Through courses like Federal Taxation, Strategic Cost Management, and Ethics in Accounting, on-campus undergrads develop highly sought-after decision-making and critical thinking skillset and graduate prepared to hit the ground running. Graduates of this program enter the job market with expertise in data analytics that their peers at other institutions lack. Unique to Notre Dame, the Data Analytics in Accounting class enhances one’s ability to identify relevant information and find optimal solutions in environments involving uncertainty and risk. The program’s curriculum’s analytical tools include simulation model building, optimization, and data mining. Mendoza’s forward-thinking program offers a solid foundation in the practices and principles of accounting and analytical tools essential for strategic business leadership. This elite accounting program has it all.

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The D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University provides an undergraduate accounting program. As undergrads complete their first year, they take critical professional steps by declaring a concentration in at least one of the business school’s principal fields of business. If they choose a concentration in accounting, they’ll develop a foundation in intermediate accounting, financial reporting, and managerial accounting. By taking additional elective courses, accounting students can explore specialized studies in accounting information systems, strategic cost analysis, income tax planning, auditing, and other assurance services. Program designers understand that accounting requires professionals to possess interpersonal skills, sound technical knowledge, superior communication skills, and critical thinking skills. Accountants work in senior management positions in private organizations in business and industry, government agencies, and public accounting firms. A concentration in accounting aims to prepare graduates for a fruitful career entry into public accounting or private industry. It is no wonder why this undergraduate accounting program is one of the nation’s best.

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One of the best bachelor’s in accounting programs in the country is featured at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. All undergraduates complete twenty-one accounting units and thirty professional core units. In their final term, along with completing four required accounting courses, students experience a capstone project that’s a custom fit. Accounting students also apply for several scholarships to support their trek through higher education. Program graduates work with accounting firms, corporations, government agencies, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Program outcomes associated with this degree include critical thinking, written communication, and verbal communication. Accounting undergrads demonstrate the ability to understand complex technical topics by processing information to form objective analysis. They also understand the industry environment and organizational strategies. The program’s curriculum equips students with the tools they need to compare firm risks, performance, and growth as they perform valuation analyses and identify investment opportunities. The Eller College of Management has knocked it out of the park with this high-quality undergraduate degree.

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An undergraduate accounting program is delivered at the University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management. Program designers understand that accounting is a dynamic profession vital to organizations worldwide. Organizational strategy, corporate governance, and long-term planning require an accountant’s analytical and technical skills. This exemplary accounting program provides a broad-based education that balances practical and conceptual knowledge. Within all organizations — whether private, public, nonprofit, or governmental — accounting professionals hold essential roles at all levels. An undergraduate degree in this field also prepares students to pursue advanced degrees in law, business, and other fields. All Naveen Jindal School of Management undergraduate business students must complete an internship and one hundred hours of community service to qualify for graduation. The Jindal School’s Career Management Center works in tandem with the University’s Career Center to help students prepare for and pursue internships and post-graduation employment. The University of Texas at Dallas stellar undergraduate accounting program is a wise choice.

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The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University provides an excellent bachelor’s in accounting program. Weatherhead’s accounting degree is among the finest in the nation. Accounting majors experience close contact with an outstanding faculty. Big Four accounting firms, regional firms, financial institutions, consulting firms, and Fortune 500 companies often recruit these students. The accounting curriculum prepares on-campus students for entrance into careers while providing a foundation for the exam to become Certified Public Accountants (CPA) or qualify for other professional certifications. All accounting majors add to the core foundation offered by a Weatherhead undergrad degree the necessary knowledge needed for careers in consulting, public accounting, corporate accounting, and other fields. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants summarized it best when defining accounting as the “One Degree that includes 360 Degrees of Possibilities. Undergrad business students cannot go wrong with this accounting program from Case Western Reserve University.

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One of the nation’s best bachelor’s in accounting programs is currently available at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The University’s Department of Accounting and Information Systems works to provide a world-class accounting and information systems degree to undergrad business students. This on-campus undergraduate program seeks to prepare students to enter the accounting and information systems fields with the knowledge and skills of accounting, business, and information systems concepts and practices. Pamplin’s accounting option is a leading-edge accounting and auditing degree that prepares students for careers in the preparation, analysis, audit, reporting, and use of financial information. Accounting graduates have procured careers as accountants, tax specialists, auditors, chief financial officers, financial analysts, consultants, controllers, etc. This accounting program provides primary education for jobs in large and small corporations, public accounting (CPA) firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. It also helps prepare graduates to earn their CPA, CMA, and professional accounting certifications. This exemplary bachelor’s in accounting program equips business leaders for success.

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Each year, accounting reveals itself as a popular college major for undergrads, whether going to school on-campus or online. There are many reasons to earn an accounting degree. The career path offers growing opportunities, expanding job duties, a lucrative salary, and a great deal of prestige, especially for those who advance into high-level positions. Given all the advantages of choosing accounting as a major, pursuing the degree is worth the cost, effort, and time.

What Type of Job Opportunities Are Available to Bachelor’s in Accounting Students?

Due to a solid position growth rate, jobs in accounting are currently plentiful. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that job opportunities will increase by seven percent over the next ten years, compared to an average of seven percent job growth expected for all jobs. The accounting field can also expect to add nearly 140,000 new jobs in ten years. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported accounting as the second most in-demand field in recent years. Over sixty percent of employers surveyed said they intend to hire candidates with a bachelor’s in accounting degree.

Even in the most challenging economic climates, job opportunities for accountants remain robust. U.S. News & World Report continually ranks accounting as one of the top degrees that guarantee a job offer. In well-performing and struggling financial times, individuals and organizations need assistance in preparing tax forms. Corporations submit reports required by law, and enterprises are always looking for ways to become more profitable. While students who choose different college majors are dependent on hiring trends, accounting students have always enjoyed a stable and predictable job outlook.

As technology progresses, those unfamiliar with an accountant’s work might mistakenly think that tax preparation software or automation might eventually replace auditors and accountants. However, accountants learn the concepts and theories of financial reporting and the technical knowledge and skills needed to analyze and create financial statements. They apply this knowledge in ways that go well beyond crunching numbers as they explore and interpret financial data to find ways to improve business operations and profitability. Accountants help organizations reach financial goals and eliminate wasted resources.

Even within the bookkeeping and accounting industry, the job outlook for those without a bachelor’s in accounting degree is bleak. Bookkeepers and accounting clerks with an associate’s degree or no college training see a decrease in job opportunities.

What Type of Salary Potential Exists for Accountants?

Accountants earn salaries well above the median wage for all occupations. As they gain the education and experience needed to move into senior-level positions, accountants’ income potential increases. Those with substantial expertise, an advanced degree, and professional certifications, in particular, can reach salaries approaching six figures.

In public accounting positions, junior-level accountants can earn $50,000 to $70,000 annually at a small firm or $65,000 to over $85,000 at a large firm, as reported by the Association of International Certified Public Accountants. Senior-level accountants report salaries ranging from $67,000 at the low end of the spectrum and up to over $110,000, depending on the firm’s size and the accountant’s experience. Professionals becoming directors or senior managers can earn over $140,000 at a small firm or over $200,000 at a large firm.

Salary ranges for corporate accounting positions are somewhat lower than public accountants. Junior-level corporate accountants reportedly make $50,000 to $75,000, while senior-level corporate accountants can bring in between $60,000 and $92,000.

Public and corporate accountants benefit from attaining a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Becoming a CPA can raise one’s salary by ten to fifteen percent, as reported by the AICPA.

An undergraduate degree in accounting is sometimes enough to meet degree requirements for becoming a CPA. Still, in most United States, students need an additional year of college studies at the bachelor’s or master’s level to attain the credential.

What Type of Career Prestige Exists for Accountants?

Accountancy can be a prestigious career, primarily when professionals work for one of the “Big 4” public accounting firms or as corporate accountants in a well-known organization. Other factors, including pursuing a master’s degree or attaining credentials like a CPA license, can add to the distinction of becoming an accountant. The career path’s reputation for job stability and lucrative salary potential fuels the respect accountants receive, particularly those in senior-level positions.

While the CPA is the most recognizable accounting credential, other in-demand certifications include Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

What Positions Exist for Undergraduate Accounting Students?

Public Accountant

Public accountants do not work for the public or government entities. Instead, public accounting points to the type of financial reports accountants are responsible for creating. A public accountant prepares documents their clients are legally obligated to release. The job description may mean different things depending on the client’s needs. Public accountants prepare tax forms for individuals and balance sheet statements for corporations attempting to secure investors. Public accountants typically are self-employed or work for established public accounting firms.

Management Accountant

Management accounting, or private accounting, is the opposite of public accounting. Private accountants work for organizations, but the name refers to the financial reports they prepare. Management accountants write financial statements for internal use rather than for the public complying with laws and regulations. Managers utilize the documents created by private accountants to create budgets, manage investments and assets, reduce expenses, and evaluate an entity’s financial performance.


While accountants prepare financial documents, auditors examine those documents. Auditors ensure that economic data has integrity and identify signs of waste, fraud, or misused funds. Many auditing roles are internal, meaning the organization hires the auditor to review its financial data. Other auditing roles are external where someone outside the organization – like a government entity– arranges the financial documents to be audited.

The proper education and certification are needed when considering an accounting career wherever your career takes you. The best place to start is by considering one of the top-shelf bachelor’s in accounting degrees featured at some of the best business schools in the nation.

Related Resources:

Best Free Online Accounting Courses
Best Undergraduate Business Programs

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