Skip to main content

If you’re passionate about money management, budgeting, and strategic financial planning, an accounting degree could give you the skills you need to start a rewarding financial career.

While many accounting degree holders find work as chartered accountants and analysts, similar occupations are also available in many industries. The analytical and critical thinking skills learned in an accounting program can help prepare you for more careers than you think.

“Thanks to the advancement of auditing software, many functions of an accountant have been made more efficient, allowing for more opportunity for interpretation and analysis,” said Keely Griffith, adjunct instructor in business programs at Southern New Hampshire University. “It increases the value of an accounting education because communication and analytical skills are emphasized more.”

What will I learn in an accounting degree program?

Keely Griffith with text Keely Griffith

By earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you can gain a solid foundation of business knowledge applicable to many different career paths.

In an accounting degree program, you will learn to:

  • Analyze and apply financial rules and regulations
  • Communicate your reports to internal and external stakeholders
  • Generate financial records

You can also gain valuable experience in business strategy, risk management, information systems, quantitative analysis, and business ethics.

The degree can also help you explore today’s business landscape and develop analytical and critical thinking and strong communication skills to prepare you for a variety of jobs for accounting majors, from financial planning and consulting to budget management and data analysis.

What to do with an accounting degree

Advancing your education can prepare you to enter the growing world of finance. Explore the jobs below to learn more about these alternative careers for accountants:

  • Budget Analyst: With a career in budget analysis, you can help organizations and businesses organize their finances, prepare budgets, and monitor spending. In 2021, budget analysts got a median of $79,940and the position is expected to grow about 5% by 2030, according to BLS data.
  • Business and financial consultant: An accounting degree can give you the skills you need to work as a business and financial consultant, helping entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve financial success. As a business consultant, you can help other business owners manage start-up costs and investments, create a financial plan for their business, and oversee day-to-day accounting. According to Payscale, business consultants earn on average $76,471 every year.
  • Financial Analyst: If you want to become a financial analyst, you can expect to work with individuals and organizations to make strategic decisions based on shareholder interests, stock viability, growth expectations, competition and more. Financial analysts obtained a median of $81,410 in 2021, according to BLS data. Working as a financial analyst can also provide job growth. The BLS predicts analyst jobs will grow 6% by 2030 (or about 31,000 new jobs) as big data and technological advancements allow for better analysis.
  • Financial Examiner: With a career as a Financial Examiner, you will help ensure compliance with laws governing financial institutions and lending practices, assessing the health of financial institutions and protecting consumers from risky lending. Financial reviewers scored a median of $81,410 in 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nearly 13,000 new financial compliance jobs are expected to be created by 2030, with job growth of 18% as financial institutions strive to comply with changing regulations, the BLS reported. .
  • Finance Manager: With a CFO position, you will be responsible for the overall financial health of an organization, directing investment activities, reviewing financial performance and overseeing long-term financial planning. CFOs scored a median of $131,710 in 2021, according to BLS data, and are in high demand, with employment growth of more than 17% (or 108,100 jobs) expected by 2030.
  • Management Analyst: As a management analyst or management consultant, you will make recommendations on how an organization can endorse its effectiveness and resolve operational issues. Management analysts earn a median annual salary of $93,000 in 2021, according to the BLS. Job growth for management analysts is faster than average at 14% through 2030.
  • Personal Financial Advisor: As a Personal Financial Planner, you will advise individual clients on all of their financial needs, short or long term. Personal financial advisors help make decisions about tax laws, investments, insurance and more. The median salary for a personal financial planner is $94,170 in 2021, with job growth of 5% through 2030, according to the BLS.

Is an accounting degree worth it?

Whether your goal is to become a financial accountant, management accountant, or you’re interested in alternative careers for accountants, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to start your career in the financial world.

An infographic with the text BLS indicates that the 2021 median weekly income of master's degree holders is 15.25%, higher than that of those with only a bachelor's degree.

While a bachelor’s degree can offer you an entry point into this field, a master’s degree will help you advance even further. According to the BLS, the median weekly income in 2021 for master’s degree graduates is $1,574. This is 15.25% higher than those with only a bachelor’s degree, who earned a median weekly salary of $1,334 in 2021.

Wondering if a Masters in Accounting is worth it? If you are interested in a particular facet of accounting and finance and want to build your overall expertise, earning a master’s degree in accounting will allow you to delve into an area of ​​specialization when you select a concentration in taxation, forensic accounting, or auditing.

It’s important to make the most of your education by considering your career goals and interests, Griffith said. Getting an internship, taking relevant electives – such as finance, financial planning and economics – and developing soft skills such as communication, data analysis and problem solving can help differentiate a candidate when entering these high-demand financial careers.

“Accountants can no longer just calculate and do calculations,” Griffith said. “They need to understand and effectively communicate the story of the data. Employers want to see that you have the technical skills, the strategic mind and the ability to communicate effectively with different stakeholders. »

Learn more about SNHU’s accounting program: Learn about the courses you’ll take, the skills you’ll learn, and how to request information about the program.

Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer focused on higher education. Connect with her on LinkedIn.