When looking at popular electives for accounting students, it’s important to remember that there are many different types of accountants in the world. Your path might vary from another student’s based on your exact specialty. If you’re just looking for a general idea of what to study, however, here are a few useful courses to round out your accounting degree.
You’ll be using a lot of software as an accountant, and it will be a big help if you’re already familiar with computers and databases. You don’t even need to fall too deeply into the rabbit hole of information technology. A few basic courses in things like SQL procedures and C++ operating systems can give you a strong foundation in creating, updating, tracking and analyzing large volumes of data. As a bonus, programming courses can really make your resume stand out from the rest of the pile; they’ll let your employer know that you have more skills than a simple crash-course in QuickBooks.
How will your client’s financial decisions be impacted by the state of the economy? What kind of stocks, statistics and market trends should scare you? What will your firm look like after that new legislation comes to pass? These are all questions that can only be answered with a good foundation in economic theory, so don’t be afraid to branch out from traditional finance classes to learn about the world and how it works. For the most well-rounded education, study both micro- and macro-economics.
Marketing is a popular elective for accounting students who plan to join the corporate world. It can be very beneficial to your position to understand the basics of sales, demographics and supply and demand, especially if you’ll be interacting with clients on a regular basis. Marketing courses will also teach you about things like strength, weakness, opportunities and threat (SWOT) analysis to help you make smarter, more well-informed financial decisions for your future company. Marketing classes can even teach you how to brand yourself on social media to help you secure your first accounting job.
It can be difficult to track, document and utilize the whims of the market if you don’t understand the consumer decisions that led to them. This is why psychology courses are popular for accounting majors even though it might seem like a strange choice initially. Behavioral psychology will give you a background in human thought and action; behavioral finance courses will explain the hows and whys of market values, economic trends and statistical anomalies. You can even take critical thinking courses to sharpen your analytical skills and arguing power.
It’s common for accounting students to be so focused on the academic portion of their studies that they forget about the interpersonal. When you start working in the real world, however, you might be expected to lead meetings, supervise departments, engage with clients and collaborate with a variety of insurers, auditors, tax planners, financial consultants and risk assessment specialists. You’ll need to know how to speak and write effectively around the workplace if you’re serious about moving up the corporate ladder. You want to be the person that gets called for important conferences, not the person who sits in a cubicle and goes over the data afterwards.
These are just a few popular electives for accounting students. Whether you’re an eager freshman exploring all of your options or a dedicated senior hoping to pad your resume for post-graduation employment opportunities, use these courses to better prepare yourself for a career in finance.