BS or BA: Which accounting degree is right for you?

View all blog posts under Articles

When you decide to pursue an accounting degree, you may not realize there is more to consider. There are several types of undergraduate accounting degrees available, and they all offer a different perspective on the core accounting education you need to start down that professional career path.

Recognizing the unique components of major accounting degrees, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Accounting, helps you choose the right degree for your specific needs. Although the principles of accounting don’t change, the differences in these degrees have a major impact on everything from the classes you take to your professional prospects following graduation. Let’s look at the differences between these two popular options for an accounting degree to help you make the best choice possible about earning an accounting degree online.

A guy with his hands in his pockets standing in front of a desk

What sets the BA in Accounting degree apart?

The Bachelor of Arts in Accounting degree combines a traditionally broad liberal arts education with the classes and coursework needed to gain a strong, foundational understanding of the accounting world. Often described as focusing on humanities courses or related terms, the Bachelor of Arts degree provides access to a variety of courses. Options are generally limited only by the departments and specific classes offered by a university. For example, a student could develop a deeper understanding of world history, psychology, communications, or a variety of other subjects thanks to the flexibility provided by a liberal arts degree.

The nature of a BA degree inherently values a broad rather than specialized education. While students in a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting program will cover the same core topics for their major as learners pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree, they won’t spend as much time focused on closely related competencies like business processes and similar courses.

For some students, a BA in Accounting can help strike a balance between an interest in becoming an accountant and developing proficiency in fields like political science, psychology, or communication. Today’s working world is exceptionally diverse and malleable, which means a minor in a liberal arts-based field could help a student secure a position working as an accountant in a specific market or industry, or develop a unique skill set that could set them apart from other job candidates in certain situations. However, this approach can mean spending less time on accounting and closely related topics. For students interested in a clearly focused accounting education where classes outside of the discipline are generally tied to their main course of study, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree can provide a better fit.

The focus of the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree

A Bachelor of Science degree offers students an education deeply focused on their chosen major, with courses beyond that concentration tending to center on similar, relevant topics. Although it depends on the university, a Bachelor of Science degree may also require students to complete more credits before earning their degree. That means more work, but also an opportunity to engage in deeper learning and develop a more complete knowledge base before graduation.

Earning your Bachelor of Science in Accounting means you can spend more time on coursework related to your major as well as use elective requirements to cover additional desirable topics. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has a course progression specifically developed to help students cultivate knowledge beneficial to a variety of accounting roles. Learning more about business ethics, information systems, marketing principles, and other ideas closely tied to today’s economy can offer direct benefits in terms of understanding advanced accounting principles. It also means potentially standing out to employers. With more of a focus on accounting’s role inside of a modern organization and other business functions, graduates can be confident in their ability to quickly contribute in the professional world.

While any accounting degree from an accredited institution provides a foundation for both beginning a career and engaging in further education, the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree can help students be better prepared. Taking more accounting credits now helps address educational needs related to the Certified Public Accountant exam and improves the position of students looking to seek a postgraduate degree in accounting. The business-focused approach of UAB’s undergraduate program can also help students seeking other degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration, have a better understanding to build off of as they apply to such programs.

Moving forward with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from UAB

Finding the university that offers the type of accounting degree you want to earn is a vital step in your education. UAB offers a top program that allows you to earn your accounting degree online. Whether you have existing professional and personal obligations that make it impossible to follow a traditional class schedule or you simply want the flexibility of learning from home in an always-available, asynchronous environment, earning your degree online can be a great way to further your education.

With a faculty of award-winning industry experts, 24/7 technical support, and plenty of networking opportunities, the differences between working toward your Bachelor of Science in Accounting online and in person are minimal. Online graduates receive the same degree and benefit from the same high standards of education for all UAB programs. To learn more, talk to an advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
How getting your Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree can prepare you for entrepreneurship
What to know about accountancy professional licensure

Sources:
UAB Collat School of Business: Online bachelor’s degree in accounting
UAB Collat School of Business: Bachelor of Science in Accounting course descriptions
Accounting.com: Bachelor’s degree in accounting
Study USA: What is the Difference Between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science?