An introduction to accounting degrees
Accounting refers to the process of recording, categorising, summarising, analysing and communicating financial transactions that are relevant to any organisation or individual. Accounting is an integrative subject that combines knowledge and information from domains like statistics, law, economics, business and information technology. In an accounting degree, students will obtain practical and theoretical knowledge of accounting and finance with an international perspective, learn how to use specialised accounting software and grasp techniques, skills and information that is used in professional accounting.

Reasons to study accounting degrees abroad

  • Universities abroad are renowned for providing a hands-on teaching experience to students. Accounting programmes abroad combine knowledge with practice while teaching students. This method of teaching helps students in learning better and provides them with a practical learning approach that will help them in their future careers.

  • Studying an accounting degree abroad makes you a member of an exclusive global network. Studying abroad will provide you with opportunities to share experiences, ideas and knowledge with peers from across the world. You may also meet like-minded individuals that might lead to business partnerships in the future.
  • Universities abroad usually have placement partnerships with a number of top organisations. Hence, studying at these universities can help you obtain a job in any of these organisations, thus kick-starting your international career and making you a part of the global workforce. Some of the career opportunities in accounting include chartered accountants, taxation managers, auditors, management accountants and personal financial advisors.

  • Studying an accounting degree abroad helps in boosting your overall resume and profile. Even if you return to your home country, your profile would be in demand since organisations are always looking to hire students who have international exposure and an international perspective.

There are several types of accounting degrees students can pursue, such as:

  1. Bachelor degree in accounting: This is an undergraduate degree offered by universities worldwide, and it usually lasts for three or four years, depending on the university. Some common bachelors’ degrees in accounting are Bachelor of Science in Accounting (BSACC), Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting (BBA) and Bachelor of Accountancy (BAC). Bachelor degrees in accounting usually comprise of a foundational course structure that is followed by an accounting specialisation. Undergraduate degrees in accounting also prepare students for obtaining the Certified Public Accountant qualification. Take a look at some subjects that are taught at the undergraduate level in accounting: 

  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP);
  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS);
  • Auditing;
  • Cost Accounting;
  • Financial Statement Analysis;
  • Tax Fundamentals;
  • Financial Accounting;
  • Managerial Accounting;
  • Ethics in Accounting.
  1. Master’s degree in accounting: Obtaining a master’s degree in accounting is usually the next career progression after completing a bachelor degree in accounting. Master’s degree in accounting last for one year or two years, depending on the university and the programme chosen. Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA), Master of Accountancy (MAcc) and Master of Business Administration in Accounting (MBA) are some of the popular master’s programmes in accounting. The learning methodology in a master’s degree in accounting usually includes seminar classes, lectures, case studies, assignments, project work, independent research culminating in a dissertation and an internship at an organisation. Such programmes generally comprise core and electives, and the electives chosen depend upon the students’ specialisation. Master’s degrees in accounting provide students with knowledge of: 

    1. Financial and Accounting Analysis;

    2. Professional Communication for Accountants;

    3. Advanced Taxation and Business Strategy;

    4. Assurance and Auditing Services;

    5. Compliance with Regulatory Requirements;

    6. Ethics and Professional Responsibility in Accounting;

    7. Accounting for Private, Governmental, Public and Not-for-Profit Organisations;

    8. Introduction to Professional Accounting Qualifications.

  1. Professional Accounting Qualifications: Students also have an option for opting for professional accounting qualifications like ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant), AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).

Accounting degrees vs. finance degrees:

Parameters

Accounting Degrees

Finance Degrees

Focus

Accounting principles, types of accounting, accounting approaches and taxation.

Mathematics, business, international and corporate financing, economics, equity and markets.

Learning opportunities

How to create cash flow statements, analyse financial statements and understand accounting management.

How to analyse existing market conditions, create financial reports and models and forecast future trends.

Career options

Tax managers, chartered accountants, financial consultants and auditors.

Investment banking, financial analysis, risk management, and financial trading. 

Professional qualifications

ACCA, CIMA, AAT and ACA

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CFP (Certified Financial Planner) FRM (Financial Risk Manager) and CIC (Chartered Investment Counselor).

 
Is accounting the future for you?

If you are confused about pursuing accounting as a career, answer the following questions to clear your doubts:

  • Do you have an eye for critical details?
  • Do you possess good oral and written communication skills?
  • Do you have strong mathematics and analysis skills?
  • Do you like following strict rules and regulations?
  • Do you have an inquisitive streak?
  • Can you handle being in high-pressure scenarios?
  • Are you an extrovert and enjoy having the spotlight on yourself?
  • Are you honest and do you value ethics and integrity?
  • Can you see yourself performing similar type of work and processes on a daily basis?
  • Are you prepared to learn constantly?

Prerequisites for studying accounting degrees abroad

  • Academic requirements: In order to pursue accounting programmes abroad, students must meet the entry requirements of the university and course they are applying for. The basic academic requirements that most colleges ask for, are – good GPA, excellent mathematical and analytical skills, language-proficiency test scores (depending on the country/language you are planning to take the course in) and proof of any extra-curricular activities you have shown excellent performance in.
  • Document requirements: Letters of recommendation, Statement(s) of Purpose (SOPs), Resume, entrance test results (ex: GMAT/GRE), higher/secondary education certificates, essay (topic varies depending on universities).

Funding for Master’s programmes abroad

  • Scholarships from universities: Universities worldwide offer accounting scholarships to deserving candidates. There are several types of categories of scholarships like academic merit, work experience and nationality-specific. The scholarships offered to students can be partial or full in nature, and this depends on one university to another.
  • Education loans from banks: Obtaining an education loan is one of the most common methods for funding your studies abroad. In order to obtain an education loan from a nationalised or private bank, you have to provide the bank with the admission letter, which is followed by the discussion with the bank manager. Once the bank manager approves the loan, you are required to provide some sort of collateral against it. One drawback of education loans are the comparatively high-interest rates.
  • Education loans from non-banking institutes: Individuals can also obtain educational loans from non-banking institutions, on the condition of providing collateral. Some options for obtaining education loans from non-banking institutes include:
    • Credila
    • Avanse Financial Services
    • Global Student Loan Corporation (GSLC)
    • International Student Loan Program (ISLP)

 

 

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