Why Major in Accounting?

“The accounting major offers students the greatest variety of career opportunities in the world of business,” Martha Merritt, assistant professor of accounting, said.

Those who earn degrees in Accounting can enter a variety of careers working in public, private, governmental and nonprofit industries. But, the possibilities aren’t limited to just accounting jobs.

“Certainly, an accounting major is the gateway to earning the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) professional credential, but it also provides a springboard for entry into management trainee positions, financial analysts positions, Federal law enforcement positions, and governmental finance and auditor positions,” Merritt said.

A common misconception is that accountants crunch numbers all day. This isn’t the case, however, as an accountant needs to possess superior communication skills and must know how to interact with people in many different types of businesses.

“Most people think they just sit at their desks, do numbers and don’t have personalities, but accountants have to speak with clients and build those relationships,” Courtney Ashworth, senior accounting major, said. “You have to know how to work on a team.”

Ashworth appreciates all that the Mike Cottrell College of Business has done to help prepare her for her future career through her courses and involvement in Beta Alpha Psi. Many professors have positively influenced Ashworth including Merritt, Jennifer Schneider and Dr. Ellen Best.

“The professors here want us to be more well-rounded and prepared for our careers,” Ashworth said.

An entry-level CPA working in public accounting in Atlanta, Georgia makes an average annual salary of between $59,000 and $60,000, and a manager makes an average between $108,000 and $109,000. The need for accountants only continues to grow, as accounting firms and accounting departments are expanding across the country. The employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations with a 10 percent growth from 2016 to 2026.

As a fast-growing industry, business students at the University of North Georgia (UNG) should consider choosing this path if they enjoy their entry-level accounting classes. Successful accounting students are those with “above average intellectual capacity, a commitment to integrity and honesty, and a spirit of servant leadership,” Merritt said.

Accounting students are often able to get internships with connections made through Beta Alpha Psi or the Mike Cottrell College of Business Internship program. Ashworth has interned for the past two tax seasons with Turner & Associates in Woodstock and recently landed an internship with KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, for summer 2018.

“The education you get at UNG is awesome because the class sizes are smaller and it’s possible to make personal relationships with your professors,” Ashworth said. “They really care about their students and our futures.”