Understanding Accounting & Finance Double Majors
Accounting and finance are complementary fields of study that focus on managerial accounting and financial planning. Because many of the same principles used in accounting apply to finance — and vise-versa — aspiring professionals can choose to earn a degree with a dual major in both accounting and finance.
These programs are specifically designed to help candidates master each subject in a shorter period of time, with most programs resulting in an undergraduate degree at the end of four or five years. There are many careers in which a dual major in accounting and finance will bring future professionals much success, including becoming a financial advisor, certified public accountant (CPA), or banker.
Admission Requirements for Accounting & Finance Majors
Those interested in pursuing a double major in accounting and finance can apply to a college or university program after receiving the equivalent of a high school diploma/GED. Some programs are more competitive than others, but most require that high school seniors hold at least a 2.5 GPA in order to be accepted into the program.
Especially in the case of limited-access programs where GPA requirements are even higher for interested candidates, applicants may be required to hold minimum scores on their SAT and ACT exam in order to be considered. It's imperative for aspiring graduates to thoroughly research the admission requirements at the specific institution to which they wish to apply as more demanding programs may place higher expectations on incoming program participants.
Common Accounting & Finance Course Descriptions
Earning a degree in accounting and finance requires candidates to obtain certain skills that will aid them in their future careers. Applicants should seek out programs that are able to provide them with a well-rounded education, including coursework in the following most common areas of study:
Graduates from a program in accounting and finance may go on to become bankers, financial advisors, and account managers. Studies in managerial accounting teach candidates how to make informed decisions about accounting information as it relates to the successful internal operations of a company. Candidates will also learn the principles of account planning, cost-volume-profit relationships, and budgeting concepts.
Corporate Law & Ethics
In addition to being highly skilled in mathematics and critical thinking, candidates in a dual program for accounting and finance must have a firm understanding of business law — especially as it relates to contract rights. Coursework in corporate law and ethics not only teaches program participants the basic elements of a contract, but empowers graduates with the skills necessary to understand when contracts have been breached and how such occurrences can be remedied. Further, candidates will learn the social and ethical responsibilities corporations have and how each of these principles relates to the greater financial landscape of the company.
Since many program participants will go on to become CPAs, coursework in auditing is essential for their future career success. Such coursework provides candidates with comprehensive auditing theory and best practices in order to prepare program participants for the CPA examination. Candidates will also learn about auditors' legal liability, how to effectively plan an audit, and what constitutes as sufficient audit evidence.
Along with auditing coursework, specific studies into federal taxes are often required for graduates to develop their skills in tax planning and research. Coursework generally provides candidates with hands-on experience using available Internal Revenue Service (IRS) resources so they can gain more practical knowledge for their future careers. Federal taxes classes may also cover tax determination, payments, deductions, and gross income inclusions and exclusions.
Global Finance & Trade
Those working in finance will often have to conduct business deals with entities outside of the United States, requiring them to have an in-depth understanding of the global marketplace. Coursework in global finance and trade provides candidates with the skills they need to understand state-level and national economic development authorities, as well as how business should be properly conducted internationally. Additionally, program participants learn about business loan programs and guarantees, analyzing each through the lens of foreign and domestic business dealings.
How to Choose a Double Major Program
A dual program in accounting and finance should not only expose students to the interrelationship between these two fields of study: The program should provide candidates with additional context into how these principles vary between cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many programs require candidates to complete coursework in cultural studies to address this need, and program participants should seek out institutions that offer such classroom experiences as part of the curriculum.
Additionally, candidates should be sure that their college or university is able to adequately prepare them for and administer the CPA examination. Opportunities for further professional development, such as internships, should also be readily available for incoming program participants.
Available Careers in Accounting & Finance
There are many available career options for those graduating with a degree in accounting and finance; one popular career choice is a CPA. A career as a CPA can be quite lucrative with accountants and auditors earning a median $70,500 annually, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There are currently more than 1.4 million accountants and auditors employed in the U.S., and job growth in this segment is projected to grow at 6% (as fast as the national average). In addition to a career as a CPA, program graduates may find success in the following employment opportunities: