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5 Benefits of Earning a B.S. in Accounting versus a B.A.

They say that accounting is the language of business. As a result, companies are always looking for newly minted B.S. graduates, but does it make a difference whether you study for a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree? Although both degrees prepare you to work in the field, but there are a few distinct benefits to going for the B.S.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs

1. Employers are More Familiar with B.S. Degrees

American colleges and universities traditionally award Bachelor of Science degrees in accounting, or in some cases the Bachelor of Business Administration. BAs in the field are rare, and potential employers might look askance if they see a BA on an applicant’s resume.

2. You Will be Better Prepared

BS degrees often include more advanced and technical coursework, whereas BA programs are often liberal arts degrees augmented with business coursework. In addition, bachelor of arts programs have fewer prerequisites, such as Calculus or computer programming. This may work against you since such courses can provide you with useful skills. The reality is that the job market changes quickly, and you never know when that extra knowledge will come in useful. You may also find that BA programs require you to complete a minor course of study, which may prove to be a distraction from your business courses.

3. There May Be Implications for Sitting for the CPA Exam

State accountancy boards normally require that CPA candidates either graduate from a program registered in that state, or meet specific requirements in their coursework. Earning a BA may hurt you on both counts since you are less likely to have all the classes you need to meet the board’s requirements.

4. Getting Into Graduate School Might Be Easier

Nowadays, most states require 150 semester hours to sit for the CPA exam, which means that many graduates opt for graduate school to get the extra credits. Having a BS will make you more competitive for graduate study, especially since you will have taken all of the prerequisite coursework. A stronger math background could also mean a higher score on the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, the entrance exam for business school.

5. You Can Always Switch to a BA Program if Necessary

If you study at a program offering both BS and BA tracks, it makes sense to start in the BS program. If you run into trouble completing the degree due to the more difficult courses, you always have the option of switching to the less-demanding BA.

No matter what kind of degree you receive, a BS in accounting is a good career move. As long as companies continue to make things and sell things, they will need people to handle their cash flow and figure out if they are turning a profit. But for students faced with the choice of opting for a BS versus a BA in the field, it probably makes sense to go with the bachelor of science degree.