Do you aspire to a career in accounting but are wondering what possibly you could do with it? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

A degree in accounting will open vast possibilities of career paths in business and finance, working for the government, public, private businesses, or as self-employed. The liberty and luxury this degree offers is unmatchable.

Also, you’ll develop skills like auditing, analyzing data, and organizing financial information, by acquiring this degree. These skills would help you in your career in accounting and related fields, or even help you if you would like to jump ships, or switch careers. 

So, in this article, we will enlighten you about the field of accounting, the types of accounts in accounting, the types of degrees, what could you do post your accounting degree, and much more.

Stay tuned –

What Can I Do with an Accounting Degree

But before we begin the degree part, you should know, what exactly is accounting, the accountants, and why it is such an illustrious career.

What is Accounting?

Accounting is a procedure where professionals record, analyze, and interpret financial transactions and data within a business or company. 

The primary goal of accounting is to provide accurate and relevant financial information that helps in decision-making, financial planning, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Accounting is a diverse field with various specializations, including financial accounting, management accounting, tax accounting, auditing, forensic accounting, and more.

Whether in businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or individual financial management, accounting serves as a critical foundation for managing and understanding the financial health of businesses, organizations, and even individuals.

Recommended Schools

What is an Accountant?

The one who does accounting is the Accountant. They are the financial professionals responsible for examining and preparing financial records for businesses or individuals.

They may work in any financial organization, be it government, non-profits, businesses, or even individuals, to create financial records and determine their financial health.  

What do they do?

  • They work with external and internal auditors to complete audits
  • They prepare and review revenue, payroll, expenses, and budgets for companies and individuals
  • They create profit and loss statements
  • They analyze financial data such as expenditure and revenue trends to recommend budgets
  • They prepare account entries including general ledger account entries
  • They establish and implement accounting control procedures
  • They maintain financial databases
  • They recommend computer software systems and filing systems

Why is Accounting Such an Illustrious Career? Benefits

Why is Accounting Such an Illustrious Career?

Accounting is a luxurious career option because it offers vast possibilities of career options in business and finance; working for the government, public, businesses, or even as self-employed.

There are many benefits to acquiring an accounting degree. Let’s discuss some –

Diverse Job Opportunities

Accounting is a fundamental aspect of every business, so accountants are in demand across industries. This degree opens doors to a wide range of job opportunities making you eligible to work for the government, public, businesses, or even as self-employed.

The degree provides flexibility, allowing you to pursue work in a variety of roles like public accounting, corporate finance, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, and more.

Job Satisfaction and Stability

You will be contributing to a company’s financial health, and while witnessing the impact of your work the satisfaction you get is amazing. Also, the career is very rewarding, which again would yield so much satisfaction.

Considering stability, the need for accounting professionals remains consistent, offering job security even during economic fluctuations. Even during the recessions, the job of accountants is in demand.

During such times, you are expected to help your organization identify areas for cost savings, improve its cash flow management, and make informed decisions about its finances.

Strong Earning Potential

Accounting professionals often enjoy competitive salaries, and as you gain experience and expertise, your earning potential increases.

As per the 2021 data by BLS, the annual average salary of accountants is $ $77,250, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $128,970 annually.

This will only increase after you gain sufficient experience and expertise in your area of work. Also, employment is projected to grow by 6% in the next decade.

Global Relevance

Accounting principles are globally recognized, making your skills transferable internationally.

An accounting education hones analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, which are valuable in various professional contexts.

Entrepreneurial Skills

Understanding financial aspects can be invaluable if you plan to start and manage your own business. Your essential financial insights, strategic decision-making, financial planning skills, and experience will come into play once you decide to kick-start your own business.

Also, studying accounting exposes you to a network of professionals, professors, and alumni, opening doors to valuable connections, which can again help you in your entrepreneurial goals.

Advancement Opportunities

This is a dynamic field, evolving with technology and regulations which ensures ongoing learning and professional growth.

With experience and additional certifications (like CPA), you can advance to management positions or start your own accounting firm. Many accounting positions, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), require a degree as a foundation to pursue professional certifications.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the field of accounting starting with the types of accounts, the degree options, and what you could do post acquiring it. 

Types of Accounts in Accounting

In accounting, “accounts” refer to individual categories or records that track various financial transactions and activities within an organization. Accounts are a very crucial component of any organization’s accounting.

Accounts are used to classify and organize financial information, making it easier to analyze, summarize, and report on the financial position and performance of the entity.

Each account represents a specific type of financial activity or asset. The fundamental accounting equation -> Assets = Liabilities + Equity demonstrates how accounts are categorized.  

Most businesses work on 5 primary account types to track and manage their finances, spending, and profits.

Let’s explore the 5 types of accounts in accounting –


Assets are usually the tangible and intangible items a business or individual owns. Like, a business might own some office materials like laptops, or machines these are tangible assets; and it might own some design patents, or copyrights, which are intangible assets.

List of Tangible and Intangible Assets –

Tangible Assets are –> Vehicles, Machinery or equipment, Property or buildings, etc.

Intangible Assets are –> Copyrights, Company Logos, Trademarks, etc.


Expenses are the products or services a company purchases to boost the productivity of its manufacturing and distribution operations, or spending it makes in the form of salaries, to maintain manpower.

Expenses are – Employee salaries, Marketing costs, Facility costs, Travel costs, Donations, etc.

However, most successful businesses don’t include personal expenses in the company expense account, this would help the business maintain accurate financial records.  


Revenue, or Income, is the amount of money a company earns from selling its products or services, from various sources during a specific period.

In financial statements, income is reported as part of the income statement, also known as the profit and loss statement.

In the context of accounting, income can be categorized into two main types:

Operating Income

This type of income is generated from an entity’s core business operations. It includes revenue earned from selling goods and services to customers.

Operating income is a key measure of a company’s ability to generate profits from its regular business activities.

For Example – sales revenue, service fees, and subscription income.

Non-Operating Income

Non-operating income includes all other sources of income that are not directly related to the primary business operations.

These sources of income may arise from investments, interest earned on savings, rent from leased properties, and gains from the sale of assets such as stocks or real estate.

Types of Accounts in Accounting


The liabilities are the debts or obligations owed by the business or individual to external parties. They reflect the claims that creditors and other parties have against the business or individual’s assets. 

For Example – Business loans, Late utility bills, Outstanding facility maintenance costs, Account overdrafts, etc.

Liabilities are categorized into two types based on their nature and time frame:

Current Liabilities

These are obligations that are expected to be settled within a relatively short period, usually within one year or the normal operating cycle of the business.

For Example – accounts payable (unpaid bills to suppliers), short-term loans, wages payable, taxes payable, and accrued expenses.

Long-Term Liabilities

Long-term liabilities are obligations that are not expected to be settled within the next year. These liabilities have a longer repayment period, usually extending beyond one year.

For Example – long-term loans, bonds payable, pension obligations, and long-term lease obligations.


Equity is the current worth of the company or its assets after deducting its total liabilities. It represents the ownership interest that the owners, shareholders, or proprietors, have in the company’s assets.

It is divided into various components:

Common Stock – the initial investment made by shareholders in exchange for ownership shares in the company.

Retained Earnings – the cumulative net earnings (profits) that a company has earned and retained since its inception, minus any dividends paid to shareholders.

Additional Paid-In Capital – the excess amount or additional investment that shareholders paid for their shares over their par value.

Treasury Stock – the company’s own shares that it has repurchased from shareholders.

Other Comprehensive Income – the gains and losses that are not included in net income, such as foreign currency translation adjustments and changes in the fair value of certain investments.

Types of Accounting Degrees

If you are interested in acquiring a degree in accounting you should know that there are many ways you can acquire it depending on your career goal.

If you already hold a degree in some other discipline and want to shift careers in accounting then there are certificate courses, and if you are just a high school pass-out then there are degrees ranging from associate to doctorate.

However, the bachelor’s degree is deemed the most popular and is the most sought-after degree by employers. There are many roles in this field that absolutely require a Bachelor’s, but with a bachelor’s you could unlock other roles as well. You may also acquire the degrees online. 

More On -> Online Accounting Degree

But if you aspire for CPA licensure and upper-level jobs then a master’s degree would be of great help to you. Also, if your goal is to train students, or aim for teaching roles and research careers, then a Ph.D. is your bet.

Let’s explore the degree options –

Recommended Schools

Certificate / Certifications

Course Duration – 1 to 2 years

Course Credits – 9 to 45

There are undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in accounting that require a shorter time commitment and the coursework is more focused on accounting.

The certificate programs are offered in concentrations like – bookkeeping, public accounting, and auditing. If you go after the undergraduate certificate, you can become a bookkeeper. 

But if you opt for graduate certificate programs, then you can specialize in your career path as an accountant.


Now, the certifications are those that you achieve after your baccalaureate or Master’s in accounting depending on the requisites. The common certifications are – the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). 

Associate Degree

Course Duration – 2 years

Course Credits – 60

Just like any other associate degree, it offers the students foundational concepts in accounting, finance, and business.

Your course curricula would include general education and accounting classes. Post-completion you may be awarded an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Applied Science degree.

Now, you can either continue your education and get your bachelor’s or master’s, or you can start earning by joining some entry-level positions.

Jobs – Entry-level – Accounting Assistant, Bookkeeper, Payroll clerk, etc.  

Bachelor's Degree Accounting

Bachelor’s Degree

Course Duration – 4 years

Course Credits – 120

With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be well-equipped in the field of accounting, and by honing the required skills you are ready for the role.  

Your course curricula would include financial accounting, auditing, managerial accounting, accounting information systems, and general education courses that equip you with critical thinking and analytical skills.

Post-completion you may be awarded a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Accounting, Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

Also, there are accelerated programs available that can finish in just 2-3 years.

Jobs – Forensic accountant, Auditor, Financial Advisor

Master’s Degree

Course Duration – 2 years

Course Credits – 30-36

This is for advanced learners and for aspirants aiming for careers such as CPA, controller, or accounting manager jobs.

Your typical course curricula include – public accounting, forensic accounting, or other specializations.

Post-completion you may be awarded a master of science, master of accounting, or master of business administration degree in this field.

Also, there are accelerated programs available that can finish in just 1 year.

Jobs – High-level positions – Management analyst, Financial manager, Senior auditor


Course Duration – 4 to 7 years

Course Credits – 70-120

With a doctorate in accounting, you can work in academic, research, or leadership roles. You need to pass the doctorate exam and need to propose new questions or solutions to problems in the accounting field.

There are 2 doctoral degree programs in accounting – a Doctor of Business (DBA) Administration and a Ph.D. With DBA you learn leadership and be eligible for administrative roles.

Whereas a Ph.D. enables you to teach accounting in colleges or work as a researcher. Post that you are a subject matter expert and will be revered in the field.

Jobs – High-level positions – Researcher, Accounting professor, Finance manager

Read More:

-> Is an Accounting Degree Worth it?

-> Requirements for Accounting Degree

-> How Long Does It Take to Get an Accounting Degree? 

What Can You Do with a Degree in Accounting?

Now you know which degree to hold depending on your goals. But keep in mind the most sought-after degree, i.e., the bachelor’s degree in accounting.

So, this enables us to discuss what you can do with a degree in accounting. There are 2 main career advancement opportunities for you, Further Education and Employment.

With any of the aspects you choose, your career will only shine. If you advance your education, you will be eligible for the advanced roles and if you opt for employment, with experience anyway become eligible for better pay and promotions.

Let’s discuss each aspect –

Further Education

Post completion of your baccalaureate you may choose to upgrade your education by enrolling in a master’s degree program. Depending on your career goals you can also opt for a doctorate degree later on.  

If you decide to enroll in a master’s degree then you get to choose a specialization depending on your interest or area of expertise. This way you become more valued with a specialized degree in that particular field, say accounts or insurance.


We have discussed the benefits, earning potential, and diverse global career opportunities for accountants. However, we have listed out the different industries that you as an accountant may or can work in. 

More on –> What Jobs Can You Get with an Accounting Degree?

Let’s check out –

  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll
  • Architecture and Engineering Companies
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Computer Services
  • Employment Services
  • Executive, Legislative, and other Government Agencies
  • Financial Investment Companies
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance Companies
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Real Estate Agencies
  • Scientific Research Companies
  • Software Companies
  • Travel Accommodation Companies
  • Forensic Accountant

FAQs – Accounting

FAQs accounting

Is an Accounting Degree Worth It?

With an accounting degree –

  • You are relevant in today’s business world.
  • Many employers value hiring accounting majors.
  • There are ample career growth opportunities.
  • There are various career paths.  

Data and Stats –

  • Did you know that 1 in 4 Fortune 500 CEOs are from a background in accounting?
  • As per the 2021 data by BLS, the annual average salary of accountants is $ $77,250, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $128,970 annually. This will only increase after you gain sufficient experience and expertise in your area of work.
  • Also, employment is projected to grow by 6% in the next decade.

All of these only suggest that a degree in accounting is absolutely worth it.

Which is the Most Popular Accounting Degree Option?

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

The bachelor’s degree is deemed the most popular and is the most sought-after degree by employers. There are many roles in this field that absolutely require a Bachelor’s, but with a bachelor’s you could unlock other roles as well.

What is an Accounting Degree?

A degree in accounting is an academic qualification that covers concepts such as – statistics, business, economics, information technology, auditing, and financial accounting.

It is designed to provide individuals with a solid foundation in accounting theory, financial reporting, analysis, taxation, auditing, and other related areas.

An accounting degree can open doors to various career paths, including financial accounting, management accounting, auditing, tax preparation, forensic accounting, financial analysis, and more.  

Is Accounting in High Demand?

Till there exist, money-related transactions in any business, there will be some accounting work to be done like – auditing, analyzing data, and organizing financial information.

The primary goal of accounting is to provide accurate and relevant financial information that helps in decision-making, financial planning, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

The accountants are in very high demand and this is set to remain so for the coming times, as well. As per the data by the BLS, their employment is projected to grow by 6% in this decade.

The high demand is due to many factors like – a growing economy, globalization of businesses, and technological changes affecting the tax and regulatory environment.  

Recommended Schools

About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.