Accounting has been called “the language of business.” Just as you need to understand a country’s language to really understand its culture, you need to understand accounting to understand business. Accounting is an information system; the information generated by accounting helps shareholders decide which stocks to buy and which ones to sell, helps management make strategic and operating decisions, and provides information for government reports. These are just a few of its many uses.
With a Bachelor of Science in Accounting You can:
- Be a sole practitioner in a public accounting practice or part of a larger local, regional, national or international firm.
- Work in industry, government or education.
- Work as an auditor, a tax specialist, a consultant or a corporate accountant.
The field is constantly changing. New and emerging areas of practice include forensic accounting and environmental accounting.
Accountancy is not just a job, not just a paycheck; it’s about making a difference, making a contribution to a better society.
Once you earn your degree in accounting, you are eligible to work as an accountant. However, some career tracks in accountancy require earning a professional certificate.
In the United States, students who want to be Certified Public Accountants must pass a national, uniform examination prepared and administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). However, permission to practice public accounting – called “licensure” – is state-by-state.
Each state determines who can take the test or “sit for the exam” and what other conditions must be met to earn a license to practice. Requirements for the state of Kansas are under the jurisdiction of the Kansas State Board of Accountancy. Click here for other states. Outside the U.S., the CPA equivalent is usually called a chartered accountant. For specifics on these, contact the appropriate professional society or governmental body. For the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, visit http://www.cica.ca/.
In Kansas and many other states, a college student must complete 150 credit hours of study before they can take the CPA examination. At most colleges, this requirement exceeds the credit hours required to earn a bachelor’s degree – at Newman University, the requirement is 124 credit hours. So a B.S. in Accounting at Newman – or any other college, private or public – will not be sufficient to take the CPA exam. A student may stay and take extra undergraduate courses or earn an MBA or graduate degree in accountancy to satisfy the 150 credit hour requirement.
Note that you are licensed to practice only in the state where you received your initial license. To work as a CPA in another state you must apply for reciprocity. While reciprocity is usually given, it is not automatic.
Currently, the CPA is the only certificate leading to licensure. However, there are numerous other professional certificates in accountancy that can document your professional expertise and enhance your career. These certifications are typically administered by a special-practice organization within the profession – e.g., Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Financial Manager (CFM) and others.