Accounting And Finance

Accounting and finance are two distinct subjects in a broader field-business-that attracts more majors across American universities than any other sector. Finance and accounting diplomas are classified as money-making college degrees with excellent outlooks, comparatively likely to pay for themselves within a reasonable time frame.

While the pay and prestige in finance and accounting varies significantly, the field as a whole benefits from strong growth. Most sizable organizations hire financial professionals to manage their books and taxes. Skilled accountants and tax professionals are projected to remain in high demand in the years to come.

A worker in this field needs to be able to obtain and sustain relationships with clients. They need to be able to keep up with rapidly changing laws, trends and protocols. Students who work well with numbers, are independently motivated, have some business sense, are socially outgoing, and can work under pressure should consider a career in accounting and finance.

Finance and accounting graduates work in retail banking, insurance, pensions, as financial managers and auditors for small and large firms alike. A few become employed in "high finance," where the work centers on investment banking, asset and fund management, mergers and acquisitions, and private-party banking through the stock markets.

About Accounting and Finance


Accounting schools should be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB. Do state-based boards of accountancy require AACSB accreditation prior to licensing program graduates? It depends on the state. Note that some states base CPA licensure on the type of degree earned, and others on the accreditation of programs. About half of states do not distinguish between the two at all.


Specializations in this field are numerous, even within specific areas of focus. A technologically-focused accounting education, for instance, might focus on IT auditing, enterprise risk management, or accounting information systems. Some specializations are more competitive than others. For example, experienced IT auditors are being paid up to $100,000 annually, a 3.6% increase over 2012 according to

Here are eight accounting and finance positions that are in high demand:

1. Financial analysts

2. Business systems analysts

3. Senior accountants

4. Internal auditors

5. IT auditors

6. Cost accountants

7. Compliance officers

8. Controllers

Licensing and Regulation

For most freshly-graduated accountants, the first step is to join their state's CPA society and register with its Board of Accountancy. State CPA licensing is required for certain kinds of accounting work, such as document-filing with the SEC. Even where it is not required, licensure can boost accountants' employability.

Some financial professionals must comply with government regulations. While terms like "broker" or "financial planner" are frequently used in a generic sense, their definitions are more specific in a legal sense.

For example, a "broker-dealer" is someone that buys and sells securities of various types, either on behalf of customers as a broker, or for his own benefit as a dealer. Broker-dealers must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, and remain in good standing with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Similarly, the SEC regulates investment advisors who manage more than $110 million in assets at a time.

Educational Options for Finance Professionals and Accountants

Primary Certifications

Most accounting graduates will want to acquire their CPA certificate, and for that they will need to pass the national exam and supply proof of solid work experience. The national Uniform CPA Examination is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or AICPA, the premier U.S. association of CPA professionals. AICPA is responsible for enumerating trade ethics and keeping practices compliant with government auditing protocols.

Bachelor Degrees

Most accountants have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or other business-related field of study. This is also true of finance. Some accounting programs are very general and others, more specialized. For example, a bachelor's degree in business with an accounting concentration would provide a more general overview than a Bachelor of Accounting. Students should strategically map out their desired final outcomes in order to choose the right program.

These days, there's a lot of unique, emerging areas of focus as well, many of them emphasizing cutting-edge sectors such as energy and the environment, social entrepreneurship, risk management, business intelligence, telecommunications management, and more.

Master Degrees

Depending on the employer, a master's degree may be necessary to acquire a well-paying job. A Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is considered the gold standard in the business world. MBA programs have several traditional concentrations, among them accounting and finance, along with management and marketing.

Aside from an MBA, the most competitive graduate-level credential is that of the Chartered Financial Analyst, or CFA. The designation, issued by the CFA Institute, is the most reputable credential in the world of finance, especially in the field of investment analysis. CFAs are knowledgable about current practices in accounting, macroeconomics, ethics, money management and financial security. CFA degrees are considered equivalent to master's-level diplomas.

Although MBAs are usually costly and CFAs are very demanding, each of these distinctions carries a great deal of weight in a field where career advancement often hinges on having higher levels of education.

Secondary Certifications

There are numerous certifications finance professionals can achieve to demonstrate competence. Because this sector is so diverse, however, the necessity and value of additional certifications depends on the specific pathway students are considering. Those looking into risk management, for example, will want to take the FRM, or Financial Risk Manager, exam. Financial analysts may pursue the Chartered Financial Consultant or Chartered Life Underwriter certifications to get an edge in a field that rewards such efforts.

Featured Schools

Programs offered:

  • B.S. in Accounting
  • M.S. in Accounting
  • M.B.A.: Accounting
  • And more...

Programs offered:

  • Accounting - Bachelor's

Programs offered:

  • B.S. in Accounting
  • M.S. in Accounting
  • A.S. in Accounting
  • And more...

Programs offered:

  • MS in Accounting
  • AA in Accounting
  • BS in Accounting
  • And more...

Programs offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business - Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration - Finance and Investing

Programs offered:

We found 1591 schools offering accounting degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 1591 Accounting And Finance Colleges in the U.S.

Accounting Schools Ranked By US News & World Report

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 49996

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Champaign, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 38465

Degrees Offered: Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT  |  Total Enrollment: 32554

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN  |  Total Enrollment: 10800

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 29194

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 38103

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA  |  Total Enrollment: 21853

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Indiana University - Bloomington
Bloomington, IN  |  Total Enrollment: 37076

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
New York University
New York, NY  |  Total Enrollment: 37150

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Ohio State University - Main Campus
Columbus, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 47952

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree

Browse All 1591 Colleges With Accounting Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Central Penn College Summerdale PA 1224
Central State University Wilberforce OH 1103
Central Texas Commercial College Brownwood TX 86
Central Washington University Ellensburg WA 8050
Central Wyoming College Riverton WY 1644
Century Community and Technical College White Bear Lake MN 6937
Cerritos College Norwalk CA 24536
Chabot College Hayward CA 13615
Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga CA 15220
Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu HI 2620
Champlain College Burlington VT 2530
Chandler/gilbert Community College Chandler AZ 6217
Chapman University Orange CA 4353
Charlotte Technical Center Port Charlotte FL 1276
Chatham College Pittsburgh PA 1002
Chemeketa Community College Salem OR 9650
Chestnut Hill College Philadelphia PA 1561
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Cheyney PA 1496
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire WI 4503
Christian Brothers University Memphis TN 2167
Christopher Newport University Newport News VA 5314
Churchman Business School Easton PA 150
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati OH 6675
Citrus College Glendora CA 11486
City College Branch Campus Gainesville FL 292
City College of San Francisco San Francisco CA 39386
City University Bellevue WA 8339
Clackamas Community College Oregon City OR 6369
Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion PA 6192
Clarke College Dubuque IA 1249
Clarkson University Potsdam NY 2877
Clayton State University Morrow GA 4455
Clearwater Christian College Clearwater FL 649
Cleary University Ann Arbor MI 705
Clemson University Clemson SC 17465
Cleveland State University Cleveland OH 15294
Clovis Community College Clovis NM 2895
Coahoma Community College Clarksdale MS 277
Coastal Carolina University Conway SC 4653
Coastline Community College Fountain Valley CA 7873
Coconino County Community College Flagstaff AZ 3167
Coe College Cedar Rapids IA 1301
Coker College Hartsville SC 1002
College Misericordia Dallas PA 2271
College of Alameda Alameda CA 5088
College of Charleston Charleston SC 11129
College of Eastern Utah Price UT 2704
College of Lake County Grayslake IL 14441
College of Marin Kentfield CA 8317
College of Mount St. Joseph Cincinnati OH 2221
College of Our Lady of the Elms Chicopee MA 782
College of Saint Benedict Saint Joseph MN 2024
College of Saint Mary Omaha NE 947
College of San Mateo San Mateo CA 10756
College of Santa Fe Santa Fe NM 1629
College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls ID 5452
College of St Catherine Saint Paul MN 4487
College of St Joseph Rutland VT 529
College of the Canyons Santa Clarita CA 10528
College of the Desert Palm Desert CA 6972
College of the Ozarks Point Lookout MO 1414
College of the Sequoias Visalia CA 10251
College of the Southwest Hobbs NM 508
College of William and Mary Williamsburg VA 7530
Collin County Community College District Plano TX 12996
Colorado Christian University Lakewood CO 1967
Colorado State University - Pueblo Pueblo CO 5531
Columbia College Sonora CA 3340
Columbia Gorge Community College The Dalles OR 840
Columbia Union College Takoma Park MD 1030
Columbus State University Columbus GA 5187
Community College of Rhode Island Warwick RI 15583
Community College of Vermont Waterbury VT 4412
Compton Community College Compton CA 6643
Concordia College at Moorhead Moorhead MN 2826
Concordia University River Forest IL 1900
Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul MN 1647
Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon WI 4603
Concordia University at Austin Austin TX 795
Connors State College Warner OK 1979
Contra Costa College San Pablo CA 7133
Converse College Spartanburg SC 1412
Corban College Salem OR 696
Cornerstone University Grand Rapids MI 1877
Cosumnes River College Sacramento CA 16493
Crafton Hills College Yucaipa CA 5054
Creighton University Omaha NE 6237
Crownpoint Institute of Technology Crownpoint NM 841
Cuesta College San Luis Obispo CA 9496
Culver - Stockton College Canton MO 821
Cuny Bernard M Baruch College New York NY 15698
Cuny Brooklyn College Brooklyn NY 15039
Cuny College of Staten Island Staten Island NY 11115
Cuny Hunter College New York NY 20011
Cuny Lehman College Bronx NY 8768
Cuny Medgar Evers College Brooklyn NY 4614
Cuny Queens College Flushing NY 15061
Cuny York College Jamaica NY 5357
Cuyamaca College El Cajon CA 6476
Cypress College Cypress CA 21361
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