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Business Administration vs Accounting: Which Degree is Best for You?

As you begin your career, you may be considering what career you want to pursue: accounting and finance, or business administration and management.

These two careers have some degree of overlap, and most companies of notable size have a need for both business management and accounting. But there are some differences between the two careers, and you should research both before deciding in which educational program to enroll.

Both accounting and business administration are critical to business operations. Below, we look at some of the similarities and differences between these careers and college programs.

Differences Between Business Administration and Accounting Careers

Business administration graduates may be qualified for a wide variety of entry-level jobs, which can lead to more senior positions with added experience and/or education. After graduation, many business administration graduates go on to work in positions in human resources, financial analysis, purchasing and procurement, sales, operations, business analysis, and management.

Accounting graduates with an associate’s degree can go on to be bookkeepers, and work as financial analysts, payroll specialists, loan officers, and compliance specialists, while accounting graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree may become accountants or CPAs. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are distinct from accountants. To become a CPA, you must pass a special exam and take extra college credits. This is the highest title you can hold in general accounting, as CPAs are authorized to legally represent taxpayers to the IRS, as well as prepare tax documents.

Differences Between Business Administration and Accounting Degrees

Here’s a look at the similarities and differences between business and accounting degrees.

What is a Business Administration Degree?

A business administration degree involves a diverse range of training in areas needed to provide proper oversight to a department or organization. These courses include business management, principles of ethics and business compliance, human resources, operational management, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Specialized business administration programs may add courses in a specific field to make it a concentration in that field of business.

Business administration associate’s degrees take about two years to complete, bachelor’s degrees take about four years to finish, and master’s degrees (MBAs) take about six years to complete.

What is an Accounting Degree or Diploma?

Accounting degrees and programs teach students accounting principles, advanced accounting, finance, payroll accounting, computerized finance, and integration with spreadsheets and databases. Specialized accounting programs may focus on a particular concentration such as real estate, management accounting, or forensic accounting.

Associate’s accounting degrees or diploma programs usually take ½ year to 2 years to complete, bachelor’s about four, master’s about six years.

In both cases, the higher the level of degree that is earned, the higher the type of position the candidate may fill. Note: Accountants and CPAs must receive specialized training and certification.

Job Opportunities

Here are some of the entry-level jobs you can get with a business administration degree.

  • Sales Manager
  • Human Resources Assistant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Assistant Buyer
  • Executive Administrative Assistant
  • Assistant Manager
  • Account Representative
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Sales Representative
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Accounting Clerk
  • Sales Representative
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Market Research Analyst

These entry-level jobs are positions you can qualify for with an accounting technician diploma or degree.

  • Accounting Clerk
  • Bookkeeping Clerk
  • Financial Advisor
  • Loan Officer
  • Payroll Specialist
  • Financial Analyst
  • Compliance Analyst
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Financial Clerk
  • Claims Adjuster
  • Budget Analyst

What Overlap is There in These Two Careers?

Though there is some overlap between accounting and business administration, each career has distinct characteristics that make them unique. Both are careers with plenty of demand and job growth. The biggest overlap is perhaps in dealing with financial matters.

Accounting deals directly with payroll, bookkeeping, taxation, and financial analysis. Business administration deals with long term financial strategy in an organization.

Business administration differs from accounting and bookkeeping in that there is much more reliance on interpersonal communication. While accounting and bookkeeping does involve communication, much more of the work may be done independently from a larger team.

Accounting and finance tend to attract people who love to crunch numbers and work as a self-starter. Business administration is better suited for people who are energized by working with other people, and can plan, organize, and delegate effectively.

When it comes to choosing a career path or an educational major, there is no wrong answer. Different career paths exist because different people are drawn towards different types of work.

Earn your Business Administration Degree or Accounting Diploma Online at Campus

If you are looking for a way to start a new career in business, with the flexibility of remote classes, the online Business Administration program from Campus and MTI College is an ideal choice.

For any prospective students that have questions about our vocational training, degree programs, online programs, or financial aid, our Admissions team is here to help. Contact us via our contact form or call us at (916) 339-1500.

Start Your Business Career with an Online Degree in Business Administration

Campus has teamed up with MTI College to help deliver its online Associate in Business Administration (AABA). The program features live classes led by professors who also teach at some of the top schools in the country.

This program was created with the modern student in mind – designed with a superior online experience – and built on a practical, career-centric curriculum.

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