What Are the Prerequisites For a Degree in Accounting?

Earning a degree in accounting, especially when you consider the complexities of the many different related fields, can be a strenuous undertaking. For many though, it might come as a surprise to learn that there are virtually no prerequisites to beginning in the study of accounting.

Step One

Anyone who wants to begin their study of accounting usually starts with the basic course. This is most commonly called Accounting I, Introduction to Accounting, or something similar. In this course students learn the fundamentals of the accounting process. They learn the accounting equation, financial statements,

Step Two

Once students have successfully completed the first semester course in accounting then they are faced with a multitude of prerequisites in order to advance on their way to a degree. Normally, the first semester of accounting is followed by the second semester of the basic course, which carries with it the prerequisite of the first semester course.

Step Three

After students normally finish the first two semesters of accounting there are many different directions the coursework can go since there are a multitude of career choices at this point to choose from.

Most students with a new degree in accounting begin with the goal of eventually achieving a CPA license, which is a good first goal. As specialized as this might sound, it’s really not, since public accounting involves a multitude of different accounting situations that an accountant must deal with. Fortunately, in preparation for this, accounting students should take the usual track of cost accounting, managerial accounting, budgeting, accounting systems, internal controls, financial analysis, financial reporting, internal and external auditing, taxation, and international accounting.

Largely depending on which college a student chooses to attend, the prerequisites can vary widely. In most cases, in order for a student to proceed from the first two semesters of basic accounting, they need to take a course in intermediate accounting, which takes one semester. Many students with CPA license in mind as their goal continue with advanced accounting which, of course, have both semesters of basic and intermediate accounting as their prerequisites.

In a manner of speaking, intermediate accounting is the “break-out” course for the accounting sequence, since it is after this course that most of the upper division courses listed above can be taken. Most colleges and universities require the majority of the courses above to be taken prior to receiving their degree in accounting, although some courses, such as international accounting and normally offered as electives.

Other Coursework

It is important to remember that the CPA examination also requires a semester course in business law, which is also often taught in two semesters, the first of which is a prerequisite for the second semester.

As most of those who earn accounting degrees can attest to, the field is ever fascinating, with twists and turns of ramifications at every corner. It’s little wonder that there always seems to be another course for another phase of accounting to take. Fortunately, the field can also be counted on for great rewards for those who choose to study it.