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The Differences Between Accounting and Business

Okay, so you’ve made the decision to attend community college. But now you’re wrestling with what you want to eventually major in. Maybe you’re leaning toward accounting, but also have a hankering for business. No worries. Relax and enjoy community college. Getting an Associate of Science degree in Business Administration while you’re there will prepare you well for moving to a 4-year school and toward a career world as a CPA or other business professional. Besides, you won’t have to declare your major until you get to your 4-year destination.

When you arrive at a university and start considering your major options, take a few business and accounting classes to get a feel for each. You may find you fancy one over the other. And it may not be the one you thought it’d be.

An accounting degree tends to be more technically-oriented. It focuses on hard accounting skills, but still has plenty of business knowledge built in. And because accounting is a more specialized major, it gives you real world skills you can immediately put to good use—and puts you on your way to CPA licensure and the really great opportunities that come with it.

On the other hand, business degrees tend to focus more on teaching broad business skills, such as management, strategic thinking, finance, marketing, human resources, and more. It also usually includes an overview of accounting principles, but doesn’t dig too deeply.

The truth is, both accounting and business are worthwhile and rewarding professions. It really just comes down to where your passion lies. And, no matter which you choose, there are some things you can do now to help you excel at both accounting and business:

Sharpen your communication skills. Honing your speaking, listening and writing skills will pay big dividends. When the chance comes to power lunch with the CEO, you’ve got to be able to express yourself.

Start thinking globally. Both majors offer potential for exciting international careers. The world market’s getting smaller. So expand your perspective. You don’t have to know wheat prices in Pakistan, but you should stay current on global trends.

Know your way around a keyboard. Both fields require a fair amount of technical know-how. We’re not saying you have to be able to write complex code, but you need to be fluent in software and computer programs that apply to your field.

Develop your business acumen. Being business savvy means having a firm grasp of your problem-solving skills. The ability to examine and interpret data you’re given is critical. Taking that data and creating innovative solutions to complex problems will help move you up the proverbial corporate ladder.

So there you have it. You’re now better informed about the differences between accounting and business majors. We encourage you to do more research, take a variety of classes and the right answer will eventually come to you. Probably at three in the morning.