Students who pursue an accounting degree should find a program that emphasizes the core principles of the profession and helps learners understand and apply them in a variety of contexts. Although accounting continues to experience rapid change, certain established concepts and best practices are pillars of the field and will be used by new and experienced professionals alike for years to come.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham makes sure students have many opportunities throughout their pursuit of an accounting degree online to learn about the skills required for accounting, as well as put them to use in a variety of contexts inside and outside of the classroom.
Let’s review the core concepts of accounting you can learn while earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and see how they connect to the tasks performed by professional accountants.
The soft skills of accounting
Certain skills required to be an accountant may or may not be explicitly taught as the main topic of a class, but are nonetheless developed by learners as they work toward their Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree. While soft skills are necessary in every field, some abilities are especially valuable in the world of accounting.
Accountants must have a strong foundation of mathematical and analytical skills. There’s simply no replacement for an aptitude — whether innate or learned — with numbers, following patterns, spotting anomalies, and other similar tasks. After all, many accountants spend much of their time at work reviewing documents, running calculations, and using a wide variety of digital tools to conduct similar operations. However, the need for numbers-focused, often-solitary work shouldn’t be seen as a pass for not having communication skills.
Ultimately, all accountants have to communicate the results of their work to others, whether it’s a colleague, manager, client, or other stakeholder. Many projects, from large audits to preparing complicated tax returns, also involve a strong collaborative element. Accountants should be comfortable interacting with others to accurately share critical information, which is why communication skills are so important. The Business Communications course, part of the Upper Level Core requirements, focuses on this need, while many other classes help students hone this ability more informally.
In a profession with a major influence on the fortunes — both literal and figurative — of individuals and businesses, the importance of organization can’t be overstated. Accountants should know they’re looking at the right information, in the right way, at the right time to complete accurate analysis. They also have access to a wide variety of sensitive financial and operational information that can’t be left available for those without authorization to access.
Organizational skills, both to keep information safe and to complete tasks quickly and efficiently, are vital for accountants. Students who take part in UAB’s Bachelor of Science in Accounting program can learn how to organize their priorities, time, and workflows as they progress through their courses and get closer to earning a degree.
Specific accounting skills
Some skills, such as auditing, understanding of the tax code, and use of accounting information systems, are specific to the profession and vital for continued success. UAB makes sure students learn these building blocks of accounting as they progress through the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program.
A key class: Financial Accounting I
While all classes in the degree program give students valuable tools to use as professionals, Financial Accounting I offers knowledge about a wide variety of relevant skills for all accounting roles. With the course covering everything from financial statements and accounting cycles to the time value of money and the framework of financial accounting, students learn a variety of valuable concepts they can apply in their professional careers. They also address a number of pertinent accounting education requirements.
Auditing isn’t necessarily a required task for all professional accountants, but it’s a common one. That means understanding how the process works is vital for pursuing many roles in the industry. The UAB curriculum includes classes dedicated to both internal and external accounting, helping students understand the fundamentals of each and how the two processes differ. A background in auditing helps learners stand out when applying for jobs after graduation as well.
Understanding the tax code
Whether working for a single organization or many individual clients, the tax code figures heavily into much of the work accountants throughout the country take on each day. Classes including Income Taxation I and Financial Accounting III help students grasp the federal income tax code and process, while knowledge conferred in a variety of other courses creates a well-rounded base of understanding that students can use in many different accounting ventures.
Accounting information systems
What is an accounting degree, exactly? How does it help students prosper? Beyond the need to understand abstract principles and facts, working with current technology is vital for staying up to date in the industry. The Accounting Information Systems class does just that, giving students the chance to learn about and interact with useful and powerful platforms that power the modern accounting world.
Learning the accounting principles you need with UAB
UAB’s completely online, asynchronous Bachelor of Science in Accounting program helps students across the country work toward an accounting degree. To learn more, speak to one of our advisors today.