In bachelor's-level accounting and financial management degree programs, students complete courses in basic business principles and practices as well as in their major areas. Programs in accounting are often found as Bachelor of Accounting, Bachelor of Accountancy or Bachelor of Science in Accounting program. Each of these degree programs prepares students careers as accountants. A Bachelor of Science in Financial Management degree program educates students about how to help clients manage their finances.
Within each program exists several specializations. For instance, an accounting bachelor's program may allow students to specialize in financial analysis, information systems, internal auditing, or managerial or public accounting. A bachelor's degree program in financial management, on the other hand, may have financial planning, real estate, corporate finance, and financial services specializations. Each program requires applicants to have a high school-level education. The programs last four years and may include internships or capstone projects as part of the curriculum.
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
Accounting bachelor's degrees include a general business core as well as a series of courses focusing on the different types of accounting and auditing. These classes introduce students to all aspects of accounting. The following are examples of some courses:
- Managerial accounting
- Financial accounting
- Ethics of accounting
- Accounting taxation
- Business law
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Bachelor of Science in Financial Management
Bachelor's degree programs in financial management feature courses in many different areas of the financial world. These programs instruct students on how to assist clients using their financial knowledge. Courses include:
- Microeconomics and macroeconomics
- Risk management
- Financial planning
- Business statistics
- Business law
Popular Career Options
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in accounting can go on to take the exam to become a Certified Public Account (CPA). Students who graduate with a Bachelor in Financial Management can apply for positions within the financial industry. The BLS indicated that insurance companies and financial institutions are the most common employers of financial management graduates.
- Financial manager
- Insurance fund manager
- Financial planner
- Financial analyst
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Demand for accountants and auditors is expected to grow 11% which is faster than the national average for all occupations during the decade 2014 to 2024, as stated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov). Accountants and auditors earned an annual median salary of $67,190 in 2015, according to the BLS. In addition, the BLS predicts that employment will grow by 30% for personal financial advisers and 12% for financial analysts from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, the annual median salary for personal financial advisers was $89,160 and financial analysts made $80,310, as reported by the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
After receiving a bachelor's degree in accounting, the next step for graduates is to prepare for the CPA exam. However, in many states, they may need to enroll in some additional coursework to meet the education requirements. Some states require CPA exam candidates to have 150 college credits, about 25 more than typical bachelor's degree programs, which candidates may earn through post-baccalaureate certificates or extended bachelor's degrees. Though education beyond a bachelor's degree is not required to take the CPA exam if graduates have 150 credits, students may pursue master's degrees and doctorates in accounting. Master's degrees are typically used to give students authoritative knowledge in a specific area of accounting, while doctorates are conferred to students who would like to teach accounting at the college level.
Graduates of financial management programs can apply for certification in several areas. Students who want to become financial managers can take the Certified Cash Manager (CCM) exam, while potential financial planners may take the Certified in Financial Management (CFM) exam. Master's degree programs in financial management are available for those who wish to gain further education or enhance their careers.
A bachelor's degree program in either accounting or financial management offers students the opportunity to learn fundamental skills related to accounting, preparing them for certification after a small number of additional courses after graduation. In addition to employment, graduates can earn master's and doctoral degrees qualifying them for professional certification.