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Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

If you want to become an accountant, earning a degree in the field introduces you to important theories, documentation and laws that inform accounting practices. The courses will exercise problem-solving and logical thinking skills that you'll need for careers in public accounting, financial analysis, auditing and more.
An accountant pointing to her laptop to show an accounting degree major information about the career field.

Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

If you're thinking about a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you might have questions about what the degree program is like and what you can do with it.

Choosing your major or degree program is a big decision, but doing your research can help you make a choice that works for you, your interests and your goals.

First Things First: Is Accounting a Hard Major?

Kristin Regis, a senior associate dean of business at SNHUWhen it comes to choosing a major, you might ask yourself about the difficulty of that degree. For an accounting degree, you may worry about how hard it will be… or how much math will be involved. According to Kristin Regis, a senior associate dean of business at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), this concern is pretty common among students.

Some accounting degree courses do fall into the category of what you probably think of as typical “math” classes. For example, you can expect to take a course in statistics. But many classes in your accounting degree will focus on the theories, documentation and laws that inform accounting practices, like microeconomics or federal taxation.

“In accounting, the math involved is manageable, with resources readily available to assist in understanding,” Regis said, “but the focus should be on problem-solving and logical thinking rather than complex mathematical computations.”

Regis has been an instructor and administrator at SNHU for 10 years. As a senior associate dean, she currently oversees accounting, finance and business administration programs and courses, among others. During this time, she’s seen the challenges students face in an accounting program, but also the skills that can help them succeed.

So, What Makes Someone a Good Accountant?

According to Regis, you may be a good fit for a degree in accounting if you have:

  • A keen eye for detail: Details matter in accounting, and being detail-oriented ensures accuracy in your financial reporting.
  • Strong analytical skills: Accountants have to make sense of complex financial data to help inform business strategies.
  • A strong sense of integrity: Financial information often has a sensitive nature. “Integrity and ethical conduct are non-negotiable,” Regis said.

Every major comes with its own set of challenges, and they will be different for every student. Regis encourages students who are facing challenges or difficulty to share their concerns with an instructor or advisor and to take advantage of academic support services.

Find Your Program

How Valuable is a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?

If you are interested in becoming an accountant, getting your bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field (like business administration) is a good first step. While there are some jobs you can do without a bachelor's degree, like becoming an accounting clerk, auditing clerk or bookkeeper, your earning potential will see a significant increase if you have a bachelor's degree.*

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2023, accountants and auditors with a bachelor’s degree made a median salary of $79,880 compared to the median salary of $47,440 for accounting clerks, auditing clerks or bookkeepers.*

In addition to increasing your earning potential and career options, an accounting degree can also lay the groundwork for further certifications, like becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).*

Accounting Degree Career Outlook and Outcomes

Your bachelor’s degree in accounting can be the gateway to multiple career opportunities — and the career outlook for accountants is good.* According to the BLS, there will be an expected 126,500 job openings for auditors and accountants each year between 2022 and 2032, which is a growth rate of 4%.* This is slightly higher than the projected 3% growth rate across all careers in the U.S.*

“An accounting degree offers flexibility, allowing graduates to explore various sectors within the business world,” said Regis. She also noted that some career paths you may choose to pursue with an accounting degree include:

  • Auditing: Auditors make sure that an organization’s financial statements are accurate and compliant with relevant laws.
  • Financial analysis: Financial analysts guide businesses in decision-making based on data and financial insights. Find out how you can become a financial analyst.
  • Forensic accounting: Forensic accountants and fraud examiners investigate financial transactions and crimes. If this interests you, explore how to become a forensic accountant.
  • Public accounting: Public accountants advise individuals and businesses on tax matters.

To increase your skills and help boost your employability after graduation, Regis said it’s beneficial to look for internships that will give you practical experience — and you can often get course credit for them during your degree as well. She also suggests looking into professional certifications, student organizations, competitions and conferences to develop your leadership skills and professional networks.

Is an Accounting Degree a Good Fit for Me?

If you’re thinking about a bachelor's degree in accounting, take the time to look at your options and your goals. To aid your research and reflection, Regis encourages students to check out industry websites sites like AICPA & CIMA or the New Hampshire Society of Certified Public Accountants to learn more about the career path.

“Prospective students should assess their interest in accounting, understand the commitment required for a rigorous academic journey and explore the various specializations within accounting to find their niche,” said Regis.

Discover more about SNHU's online bachelor's in accounting: Find out what courses you'll take, skills you'll learn and how to request information about the program.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location and worker skill.

Meg Palmer ’18 is a writer and scholar by trade who loves reading, riding her bike and singing in a barbershop quartet. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English, language and literature at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and her master’s degree in writing, rhetoric and discourse at DePaul University (’20). While attending SNHU, she served as the editor-in-chief of the campus student newspaper, The Penmen Press, where she deepened her passion for writing. Meg is an adjunct professor at Johnson and Wales University, where she teaches first year writing, honors composition, and public speaking. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.