Business-minded students often have trouble deciding between an accounting and business degree. Both degree pathways offer versatile and valuable skillsets, as well as knowledge that is applicable across industries. And while the two occupational fields overlap in many ways, there are key differences between accounting and business administration degree paths. This includes the courses completed, skills gained, and career options available.
The good news is that whether you choose to go to school for accounting or business administration, both occupations are in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, both fields are estimated to grow seven percent from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 715,100 new jobs being added over the decade.
Read below to:
- Discover the similarities and differences between an accounting vs. business degree
- Establish essential aspects of each academic program, and
- Find the best degree for your interests and career goals
Accounting vs. Business Administration: Concentration & Curriculum
Accounting Degree Courses:
The accounting field focuses solely on accounting practices, principles, and theories. Meanwhile, business administration places an emphasis on business management and operations.
An accounting degree prepares learners to consult and manage financial matters for businesses, governments, individuals, and organizations. An accounting curriculum may also cover auditing, budgeting, business analytics, corporate accounting, public accounting, and taxation courses.
Business Administration Classes:
Broader in scope, a business administration degree provides students with a solid foundation in subjects such as accounting, business ethics and law, budgeting, economics, entrepreneurship, marketing, social media, and strategic planning. By completing business administration courses, graduates gain the proficiency to direct and manage various prominent business endeavors.
Accounting vs. Business Administration: Collective Skillsets
While earning an accounting degree, future accountants develop the following skillsets:
- Account reconciliation
- Conducting an audit
- Cost of goods sold
- Familiarity with technical software
- Inventory and profit and loss statements, and
- Mathematical reasoning
Business Administration Skills:
Students acquiring a business administration certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree develop the following abilities:
- Communication, nonverbal and verbal
- Customer relations
- Data analysis
- Presentation skills, and
- Project management
Accounting vs. Business Administration: Careers & Compensation
Graduates of accounting programs often work in public sectors specializing in tax preparation, or for private companies managing assets and investments. Some accounting professionals work for a city, state, or federal government agency administering spending.
Accountants typically organize financial records, create payroll and reports, examine equity and liabilities, and review operational expenses for cost-effectiveness. An accountant generally performs autonomously before regrouping with coworkers or clients for applicable team meetings.
Depending on the degree level earned, accounting graduates are typically eligible to apply for the following roles:
- Compliance specialist
- Financial analyst
- Insurance underwriter, and
- Loan officer
In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that accountants and auditors made a median annual wage of $77,250. The BLS also stated that employment for accountants and auditors is projected to grow six percent from 2021 to 2031, with 136,400 openings annually.
Business Administration Careers:
An education in business administration can be applied to a variety of industries. Career options for business administration graduates include education sectors, corporate settings, manufacturing environments, federal, nonprofit, and state careers, and more.
Business administration majors can manage a department, oversee multiple areas, or direct an entire organization. Business administration graduates also have the tools to elevate their entrepreneurial talents and start their own businesses.
Business professionals supervise staff to enhance organizational goals, resources, and time. They work in highly collaborative environments where clear and courteous communication is critical.
Potential professional titles for business administration degree holders include:
- Business consultant
- Buyer or purchasing agent
- Human resources specialist
- Market research analyst, and
- Sales manager
The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the median annual wage for business and financial occupations in 2021 was $76,570, much higher than the median yearly wage for all occupations at $45,760.
According to the BLS, the median annual wage in 2021 for management occupations was $102,450 — the highest salary of all major occupational groups.
Additional Benefits of a Business Administration Degree
Pursuing a degree in business administration prepares students to lead organizations, inspire teams, and propel business growth. This is because of the broad scope of classes, training, and skills development involved in a business program. While accounting degrees focus on the real number-crunching behind business operations, a business degree prepares graduates to direct a multitude of organizational processes. Plus, a business curriculum often touches on accounting subjects, allowing students a taste into both worlds.
Through engaging and innovative business administration programs, like the ones offered at Goodwin University, students are trained to succeed in diverse professional environments — whether planning a start-up, small business, or nonprofit.
Business administration students obtain countless transferable skills throughout their valuable college education — greatly enhancing technical and practical aptitudes.
With flexibility in their future careers, business administration alums have more remote work options and increased earning prospects through advanced roles.
Enroll in a business administration program and maximize your professional potential.
Are you ready to get down to business and focus on your future? Give your career a boost. Learn more about business administration today!