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.

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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
Aakers College Fargo ND 111
Abilene Christian University Abilene TX 4739
Academy College Minneapolis MN 301
Adelphi University Garden City NY 5908
Adrian College Adrian MI 1081
Aib College of Business Des Moines IA 875
Aiken Technical College Graniteville SC 2268
Akron Adult Vocational Services Akron OH 325
Alabama A & M University Normal AL 5523
Alabama State University Montgomery AL 5269
Albany State University Albany GA 3525
Albertson College of Idaho Caldwell ID 774
Albright College Reading PA 1728
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute Albuquerque NM 17265
Alcorn State University Alcorn State MS 2936
Alderson Broaddus College Philippi WV 751
Alexandria Technical College Alexandria MN 2192
Alfred University Alfred NY 1607
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria CA 12110
Allen County Community College Iola KS 1968
Altoona School of Commerce Altoona PA 57
Alvernia College Reading PA 1574
Amberton University Garland TX 1548
American Commercial College Abilene TX 117
American Commercial College Lubbock TX 117
American Commercial College San Angelo TX 117
American Commercial College Wichita Falls TX 117
American Commercial College of Texas Odessa TX 94
American River College Sacramento CA 28420
American School of Business Shreveport LA 173
American University Washington DC 10776
Ancilla College Donaldson IN 473
Anderson University Anderson IN 2381
Anderson University Anderson SC 1398
Andover College Portland ME 566
Andrews University Berrien Springs MI 2749
Anoka - Ramsey Community College - Coon Rapids Campus Coon Rapids MN 5844
Anoka Technical College Anoka MN 2046
Appalachian State University Boone NC 13227
Aquinas College Grand Rapids MI 2605
Arcadia University Glenside PA 2736
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus Tempe AZ 44126
Arizona State University at the West Campus Glendale AZ 5325
Arkansas State University - Main Campus State University AR 10429
Arkansas Tech University Russellville AR 4970
Asa Institute of Business and Computer Technology Brooklyn NY 1432
Asbury College Wilmore KY 1359
Ashford University Clinton IA 616
Ashland University Ashland OH 6055
Assumption College Worcester MA 2754
Athens State University Athens AL 2662
Atlantic Cape Community College Mays Landing NJ 5162
Atlantic Technical Center Coconut Creek FL 1570
Atlantic Union College South Lancaster MA 755
Auburn University - Montgomery Montgomery AL 4900
Auburn University Main Campus Auburn University AL 21860
Augsburg College Minneapolis MN 3040
Augusta State University Augusta GA 5070
Augustana College Rock Island IL 2230
Augustana College Sioux Falls SD 1783
Aurora University Aurora IL 2391
Averett University Danville VA 2296
Avila University Kansas City MO 1412
Azusa Pacific University Azusa CA 6497
Babson College Wellesley MA 3397
Baker College of Auburn Hills Auburn Hills MI 1910
Baker College of Cadillac Cadillac MI 864
Baker College of Clinton Township Clinton Township MI 2559
Baker College of Flint Flint MI 3896
Baker College of Jackson Jackson MI 1027
Baker College of Muskegon Muskegon MI 2727
Baker College of Owosso Owosso MI 1905
Baker College of Port Huron Port Huron MI 1230
Baker University College of Arts and Sciences Baldwin City KS 828
Bakersfield College Bakersfield CA 14466
Baldwin Park Adult & Community Education Baldwin Park CA 3295
Ball State University Muncie IN 19004
Barry University Miami FL 8650
Barstow Community College Barstow CA 2785
Barton College Wilson NC 1202
Bay State College Boston MA 608
Baylor University Waco TX 13719
Beal College Bangor ME 338
Becker College Worcester MA 1166
Belhaven College Jackson MS 1594
Bellarmine University Louisville KY 2848
Bellevue University Bellevue NE 3445
Belmont Abbey College Belmont NC 886
Belmont Technical College Saint Clairsville OH 1524
Belmont University Nashville TN 2976
Bemidji State University Bemidji MN 4118
Benedict College Columbia SC 2966
Benedictine College Atchison KS 1369
Benedictine University Lisle IL 2842
Bennett College for Women Greensboro NC 619
Bentley College Waltham MA 5728
Berkeley City College Berkeley CA 3984
Berry College Mount Berry GA 2033
Bethany College Bethany WV 750
Bethel College Mishawaka IN 1647
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