Financial accounting is the branch of accounting that focuses on preparing reports that reflect past performance of businesses. These reports are prepared for parties that are external to the business, such as investors and creditors. Other concepts taught by accounting bachelor's degree programs include managerial and cost accounting, auditing and federal taxation. Programs generally require completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours of instruction.
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
Admissions requirements for accounting bachelor's degree programs generally include a high school diploma, a GED or an associate's degree. Some may also require taking placement exams. Programs include courses in broad academic subjects in addition to core accounting coursework. Subjects typically include the following:
- Accounting information systems
- Internal control assessment
- Accounting ethics
Popular Career Options
Graduates acquire the knowledge and skills sought by such employers as public accounting firms, banks, corporations and non-profit organizations. Possible careers include the following:
- Financial reporting accountant
- Managerial or cost accountant
- Certified Public Accountant
- Internal auditor
- Internal Revenue Service agent
Continuing Education Information
An example of a professional accounting license is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is issued by each state's board of accountancy. Most state boards require 150 hours of education, which typically is satisfied by supplementing an accounting bachelor's degree with additional coursework or by earning a master's degree. State boards dictate the subjects that should comprise the 150 hours. The supplemental coursework requirement may be satisfied by completing a CPA exam prep course.
Board requirements also include a specified amount of accounting work experience under the supervision of a CPA. This requirement varies by state but typically is 1-2 years. Additionally, licensure requires passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination, which is a 4-part, 14-hour computer-based exam that covers such subjects as financial accounting, auditing and regulations. State boards also typically require passing an ethics exam. CPAs maintain licensure by completing continuing education in related subjects.
The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a professional certification that is administered by The Institute of Internal Auditors. Requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and character references. They also include two years of auditing experience, although completion of a master's degree may substitute one of these years of work experience. The certification also requires passing the CIA exam, which is a multiple-part exam comprised of questions in such subjects as financial accounting, risk identification, management controls and audit documentation. Certification is maintained through continuing education in related subjects.
In summary, accounting job prospects will typically require the minimum of a bachelor's degree. Certification in financial accounting will require proper licensing, which is commonly acquired in the form of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.