Liberal arts degrees encompass a wide range of subjects that have broad professional applications. Pursuing this course of study could make it easier to complete further postgraduate education in business domains. Here are some of the reasons those who hope to become accounting grad students might start with liberal arts.

Resource: 30 Most Affordable Christian Colleges for Bachelor’s in Accounting 2015

1. Building a Strong Foundation

One commonly overlooked aspect of liberal arts programs is that they typically require mathematics and computing. Accounting careers inevitably revolve around mathematical skills and depend on tools like spreadsheet applications. As such, these undergrad programs imbue students with essential experience they can put to good use.

Graduate students may have to take courses that build on introductory-level math fields, like statistics and elementary calculus. Undergrad classes such as computer science and business can also make it easier for students to engage in independent study, formal research and internships.

2. Learning to Apply Technical Knowledge

Career accountants and graduate students commonly need to use their knowledge in specific ways. They may perform jobs like preparing and examining financial records or tax documents, and they’re often called upon to manipulate data.

Possessing a good grasp of statistical techniques is helpful for many accounting tasks. Liberal arts degrees also give students a broader understanding of relevant practices like project management, pattern intelligence, data synthesis and information literacy. These competencies can all make it easier to apply field-specific skills efficiently. Because individual accounting jobs and typical postgraduate curricula involve significant amounts of self-guided work, students benefit from well-stocked problem-solving toolsets.

3. Some Liberal Arts Schools Offer Accounting Majors

While institutions vary, many schools group their business and management programs together with liberal arts. A liberal arts degree with an accounting major could even prepare you for what you should expect from grad school.

Unified accounting and liberal arts programs offer increased focus on important topics like auditing, taxation and information systems. For those who plan on supporting themselves during grad school by working, having this kind of experience may make it easier to find a job. In some cases, undergraduate accounting majors who pursue internships are able to satisfy extracurricular study requirements in grad school.

4. Liberal Arts Programs May Include Informatics Training

Informatics, or the science of computer information systems, is a broad field that plays a special role in accounting. The complexity of practices like tax calculation, forensic accounting, auditing and financial management make computerized systems invaluable for their ability to simplify difficult problems.

Courses that cover informatics subjects, like data mining or information analysis, may help you get a better feel for how common tools function and their limitations. As more companies move towards solutions that depend on cloud-based software and trimmed-down accounting departments, graduate programs are likely to increase their focus on developing new ways to process data with computers.

5. Liberal Arts Could Make the GMATs Easier

Graduate accounting and management programs may require candidates to take the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT. This exam covers writing, reading, verbal, quantitative and analytical skills. Most liberal arts programs address these domains, and having experience with them is a big bonus when you face tests like the GMAT and potentially fierce admission competition.

Liberal arts study isn’t just about the arts. These degrees are highly customizable, so when planned properly, your time as an undergraduate could prepare you for advanced accounting coursework or a long and storied career as a CPA.

Additional Resources:

100 Most Affordable Selective Small Colleges for Accounting 2015

30 Great Small College Business Degree Programs 2015