Going Back to School for Your Business Accounting Degree

In the United States, Business Administration has consistently been one of the most popular choices for college majors across all college students. Accounting is a related area of study that can complement business administration studies well. If you’re an adult thinking of going back to school for a business accounting degree, you’ll find useful information about the job duties of accountants, school requirements and financial aid contained in this article.

The Job Duties of Accountants

The job of the accountant is to prepare and examine the financial documents of an organization. Accountants have domain over these records, ensuring that taxes are paid on time and that financial operations are running efficiently.

Academic Requirements

For the most part, accountants are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree to be a C.P.A. (certified public accountant). Some entry-level accounting jobs can be performed by people with a certificate or associate’s degree in accounting.

Once a potential accountant has earned a bachelor’s degree, they must sit for the C.P.A. exam. It is only after receiving a passing mark on this certification exam will accountants become certified to perform financial activities for organizations and individuals.

Is Business Accounting Right For an Adult Student?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the accounting field is set to grow by about 16% between 2010 and 2020. In a tough job market, a business accounting degree is one of a select number of college majors that could consistently land a graduate steady employment. This is because the slack economy and the fallout from the recent financial collapses of several well-known corporations have made the need for well-trained accountants even more palpable.

What Are The Next Steps?

As a potential adult student, you’ll have other responsibilities to juggle besides schoolwork. Therefore, you need to figure out if getting a business accounting degree is the next logical step in your educational journey. You can start your research by asking any and all accountants you may know about their jobs. Ask them about salaries, work environment, opportunities for advancement and job duties. Also, make sure to ask any accountant about life during tax season. For most accountants, that period of time can be very different from the rest of the year.

Another decision you may want to ponder is whether you’re going to earn your business accounting degree on a regular college campus at night or if you’re going the online route. Online learning has become an increasingly popular vehicle for earning college degrees, in part because so many adults don’t have the opportunity to carve out 10-12 hours a week to commute to and from a college campus a couple of nights a week.

If you’re thinking about earning an accounting degree online, do extensive research into any program you’re considering. Find out if these programs offer the courses you’ll need to pass the C.P.A. exam. Right now, it’s not known how employers view degrees earned entirely online. Therefore, when signing up for online accounting degree programs, ask around about the reputation of each school you’re considering.

How to Pay For It

If you’ve decided to go back to school for a business accounting degree, your next set of concerns will be about possible sources of financial aid. Your first step in this process is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) This form will determine your eligibility for federal grants (money you don’t have to pay back) and low-interest loans.

Even though most adult students will be eligible for some sort of federal aid, many will be gun-shy about taking out loans in the midst of a student aid crisis. If this describes you, you do have other options. If you are employed, ask your human resources representative if your employer will reimburse you for college classes. Many businesses offer full or partial tuition reimbursement. There are also plenty of scholarships available to adults looking to go back to school.

Once you’ve completed your undergraduate work in taxation, auditing, and business management, you’ll not only be prepared to do accounting work for organizations and individuals, you can also use your business accounting degree to further your education. Many business accounting graduates go on to receive their Master’s in Business Administration.

Accounting may not be the right career path for everyone, but those who decide to pursue it will find that they have an extremely versatile degree that can make them valuable commodities in the employment marketplace.

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