Accounting and business degrees are both widely chosen by individuals who want to pursue prestigious and high-paying jobs in the business world. While accounting and business are both two very popular fields of study with some strikingly similar attributes, they both have some very distinct differences. The same can be sad for accounting degrees and business degrees. The main difference is that the bachelor’s degree in business is a broad field of study, while the accounting degree generally focuses on developing skills that are more specialized. Here are some more differences between the accounting degree and the business degree.
Related resource: Top 10 Online Colleges for Accounting
Areas of Study
The biggest difference between the accounting degree and the business degree is in the curriculum. Although accounting programs are based more on accounting and financial principles, whereas business programs focus on business topics like business management or marketing, both programs usually are part of a college’s school of business. However, they have different courses.
Accounting degree programs include courses in accounting, financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, taxation and cost accounting. Although a business degree program may have a few accounting courses like managerial accounting and principles of accounting, most of its courses are business courses, including business management, economics international business, marketing, human resources and business law.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) accredits both accounting programs and business programs, but the standards that the AACSB establishes for each program are different. The standards that they set for each program are based on past student success. An accredited accounting program helps students develop analytical and critical thinking skills, an understanding of tax policy and business ethics, and the knowledge to analyze and record financial information
A business administration program with AACSB-accreditation teaches students about teamwork, communication, technology, and general business. They will offer a few accounting courses but mostly focus on business courses like marketing, financial theory, international business, business law, organizational planning, strategic management, financial markets, financial reporting, business systems analysis, business administration, and operations management. An interesting fact is that the AACSB accredits more than 840 business programs but only 185+ accounting programs.
Potential Career Opportunities
The most important difference to note when comparing the accounting degree and the business degree is the future career opportunities for the graduate. Students are advised to learn what they can do with a business degree that they can’t do with an accounting degree and vice versa. Graduate of accounting degrees may find work as:
• Tax accountants
• Cost accountants
• Staff accountants
Graduates of business degrees may find work as:
• Project managers
• Sale managers
• Marketing manager
• Account managers
• Store manager
Graduates of business degrees are often in the running for leadership or management positions, but they typically need to obtain some work experience first. In some companies, the individual may be required to earn an MBA. Graduates of an accounting degree can obtain a lucrative position and work their way up to senior positions. They may not be positions of management but are still high-paying positions earned through seniority and performance.
Choosing whether to earn an accounting degree or a business degree can be a tough decision for many people because they both offer so many possibilities. Additionally, they both offer students the opportunity to choose careers in various industries, which can make for an exciting career.