Adding it All Up: Does Accounting Make “Cents” for You?

A career in accounting will give you the opportunity to work within almost any industry imaginable. The compensation varies according to level of education, certification and specializations, but in general, accountants are well paid. With the field experiencing rapid growth—The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 13% increase in jobs over the next ten years, over 166,000 new jobs by 2022 and that the median pay for accountants and auditors across the country is over $70,000.

Oakwood University business students

Oakwood University

Why Do We Need More Black Accountants?

The CPA Journal conducted a survey of African American undergraduate students and found that the majority had chosen to study accounting because they personally knew an accountant, many of them family members. This shows how greatly representation matters to students deciding which disciplines they’ll study and which careers they might pursue. While family connections matter, the profession overall always needs new diversity and more representation from all parts of our society.

Preparing for Success

If you’re considering a career in accounting, there are things you can do to get ready. In high school, work to hone your math skills and take as many advanced math classes as possible, as well as any business classes available. Naturally, it’s important to possess strong analytical skills. Less intuitive, however, is the need for accountants to possess good communication skills; since many accountants provide advisory services, polishing your language skills will be helpful as well.

naba logoMany accounting majors go on to graduate studies after earning their four-year degrees, and if you intend to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), up to five years of study will be necessary. As you explore different schools, ask how students at the school tend to navigate the path from school to career. Does this college offer a graduate degree? Is it a separate program from the undergraduate degree or are they combined? Look for ways in which each school supports its accounting students in gaining practical experience. How do they help students find internships? How do they connect students with graduate programs? How do they support students seeking careers after graduation? 

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Professor speaking to students in clark atlanta University classroom

Clark-Atlanta University

UNCF Schools to Consider

Several excellent UNCF schools offer degrees in accounting including: The department of Business and Information Systems at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL, offers a bachelor of science in accounting, as well as an opportunity to minor in accounting, to enable students to analyze business issues and make creative, innovative and sound recommendations. The College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL, offers a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting. Students at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA, can pursue both an undergraduate and graduate degree in accounting through the School of Business Administration.

Scholarships and Programs

Several scholarship programs are available to help finance your quest for an accounting degree. The UNCF-Anthem Corporate Scholars Program, for example, offers students an opportunity to help build the future of healthcare. Juniors, seniors and graduate students pursuing a degree in accounting are eligible to apply for the MUFG Union Bank Scholarship Program, with preferences given to candidates who are permanent residents of California, New York, New Jersey and Arizona and first-generation college students (neither parents attended college or university). If you’re studying in Massachusetts, the Liberty Mutual Insurance LEADA@Liberty Scholarship is worth investigating. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students studying accounting and other business degrees. Scholarship funds are also available for students preparing to enter the field of accounting through the National Association of Black Accountants. And, finally, the UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an option for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major.

If you are contemplating a career in accounting, consider reaching out for some guidance. You’re not alone! Submit a major interest form on our website to get the ball rolling. And to keep the updates coming, make sure to follow us on UNCF social media channels. This way, you can be the first to hear about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Great minds make great accountants, which is why we’re so intent on providing our students with all the resources they need. Reach out today!