A Career in Accounting Blends Education With Experience

Billionaire investor and noted philanthropist Warren Buffet once called accounting “the language of business” — and we’d have to agree.

Businesses can’t run, grow or thrive without people behind the scenes managing critical accounting functions. This includes bookkeeping, billing, credit collection and auditing work — plus a whole host of other financial responsibilities companies rely on.

The ubiquitous nature of accounting makes it one of the more viable and attractive careers. That’s because people who enjoy helping businesses take care of the “money side” of things can readily find job openings at companies of all sizes and across every industry.

Accounting Degree Boosts Marketability

Getting a job in a company’s finance area will be contingent on at least two factors — your education and your experience. Also important: your desire to work in accounting and how that comes across when you interview for a position.

Although you may be able to get an entry-level job, such as on an Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable team, earning a degree in accounting is a difference-maker. When you apply for a position at a new company or lobby to get a promotion where you work today, having the degree — or being able to say you’re currently in school — shows you’re serious about the field of accounting.

University of Cincinnati Online (UCO) offers an accredited Associate of Applied Business in Accounting degree program you can complete fully online — no traveling to and from class — in just two years if you attend full-time. (Part-time schedules are available, too.) Our program is perfect if you need to balance work and family obligations with education.

Meet Patty Goedl, Program Director
Patty Goedl at UC Online
Patty Goedl, Associate Professor and Program Director for UCO’s Associate of Applied Business in Accounting degree program

Patty Goedl, CPA, PhD, oversees UCO’s two-year accounting degree program, a position she’s had since 2016. She joined the University in 2009.

Patty’s also an Associate Professor who interacts with students each day. She says some students enroll in the accounting degree program right out of high school. Others come in with a few years of experience — and some are well along in their career, but they want to make a career change and go into accounting. “Our program is a good option for most anyone,” Patty says, “and the students all come together in pursuit of an online degree that works with their busy lifestyle.”

The students share other interests, too. Many consider themselves to be detail-oriented — “That trait’s important in accounting work,” Patty says — and they also see the appeal of working in a high-demand job market and the potential for a good-paying, stable career.

Patty considers accounting jobs to be “recession-proof” because there are always opportunities for people with the right education and experience to find work in finance roles. “Every business — even nonprofits — has some sort of accounting department or function because they all have to take in and spend money,” she says.

Accounting Degree Curriculum

The courses in UCO’s associate in accounting degree program are designed so that, once students graduate, they can confidently compete for jobs. “We see the majority of our graduates moving right into some sort of finance role,” Patty says.

A key reason graduates find success after leaving UCO is because of the well-rounded nature of the accounting program. As with any two-year associate degree, courses include English, science and other general electives. The more focused curriculum teaches students the critical accounting skills employers look for today.

Three of the courses Patty finds particularly relevant are:

  • Managerial Accounting – In this class, you’ll develop foundational knowledge and the skills needed to apply accounting data in planning and controlling business operations. Topics include costs and cost drivers, contribution margin and business budgeting.
  • Fundamentals of Fraud Examination – Here, you’ll grow your understanding of financial fraud, including what it is and how it’s committed, prevented and resolved. Topics include skimming, cash larceny, billing schemes, check tampering, employee payroll and reimbursement schemes, asset misappropriation, fraudulent financial reporting and more.
  • Fundamentals of Topics in Accounting – This class introduces you to payroll, auditing and not-for-profit accounting. Other advanced topics include business documents, records, information flows and internal accounting controls.
Free QuickBooks Certification Exam

One of the courses considered to be a big plus for UCO’s program is Fundamentals of Computerized Accounting. “We prepare students to take the Intuit® QuickBooks Certified User exam,” she says, “and pay their exam fees.”

QuickBooks is the number one accounting software used by small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. When UCO’s students take the certified user exam near the end of the two-year program and pass it — and Patty reports that almost 80% of them do — they graduate with a valuable certification they can include on their resume and discuss with future employers.

Top Accounting Jobs in 2021

After students graduate from UCO’s associate degree program, they’ll find many finance-centered roles to apply for, such as:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Accounts receivable/payable clerk or manager
  • Billing/purchasing clerk or manager
  • Credit/collection clerk, analyst or manager
  • Inventory clerk, analyst or manager
  • Payroll administrator or manager
  • Tax preparer
  • General accounting administrator
  • Auditing administrator

If graduates are interested in becoming a certified public accountant (CPA), they’ll need to continue their education. “Most states require 150 hours of education to get a CPA license, which is the equivalent a master’s degree,” Patty says. “Laws have changed in the past and may in the future, where only a bachelor’s degree is required. But this is where things stand today.”

The Myth About Accountants Having to Be Good at Math

Here’s something you may have wondered about if an accounting career is a new consideration for you: You don’t have to be a math whiz. Patty say accounting isn’t about advanced math — it’s basic math like you’d computer with a simple calculator.

“Accounting is more about managing money,” Patty says. “I tell my students I’ve been in this profession for a long time and have never used calculus.”

The UCO Difference

Accounting Student reading papers

Flexibility is a hallmark of getting an online degree, but there are other benefits, too. Patty emphasizes the self-paced nature of UCO’s Associate of Applied Business in Accounting program, which gives students access to course material whenever they choose to study — in the evenings, on the weekends or during their work lunchbreaks during the day.

Online learning has been around for years now, and UCO does have some competition. “Our differentiator is that we’re a prestigious university that’s been around for more than 200 years,” Patty says, “and we’re fully committed to online education. Plus, we have some of the lowest tuition rates in Ohio.”

Patty encourages you to connect with an advisor or call our associate degree specialists at 833-556-4428 if you’re interested in learning more about UCO’s program.

Your career in accounting is only an email or phone call away …  ready to take the next step?

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
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