Accounting  Program Description

 
 

Insider Info

dotGetting into an accounting degree program is not easy. You'll need some business knowledge, good computer skills and high marks. But it's not all about the numbers.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) says candidates must also be creative thinkers and have good people skills.

"Good written and verbal communication skills are essential to an accounting career," says Anne Christensen. She is an accounting professor at Portland State University. "Students also should strive to master computer basics such as word processing, spreadsheets and locating information on the World Wide Web."

Many accounting professors say high school courses such as English and computer science will help prepare students for university accounting programs.

Extracurricular activities are important, too. "Students who get involved in drama learn to speak well and present themselves in front of an audience," says Christensen. "Most extracurricular activities will enhance a student's performance in accounting and other professional careers."

Most accounting positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

There are some accountants who remain uncertified, but many more are state-licensed certified public accountants (CPAs). Qualifications for CPA certification vary between states. Several states require candidates to complete 30 hours of college coursework beyond the usual bachelor's degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination prepared by the AICPA. This two-day exam is extremely difficult. Only about a quarter of those who take it pass all parts.

Besides tuition, textbooks are the biggest expense in an accounting program. First- and second-year students can save themselves some cash by picking up used textbooks. But used third- and fourth-year books are tough to find because senior students tend to hold on to them.


Links

Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see Accountants and Auditors

Affordable Colleges Online: Accounting Resources
Links to online accounting education resources

Tax and Accounting Sites Directory
Heaps of info at your fingertips

American Accounting Association
Dedicated to worldwide excellence in accounting education

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.