Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can do wonders for your career in the field of accounting or the wider business world. If you want to prepare yourself to earn this certification but also learn about the fields of business and finance beyond financial reporting, an undergraduate education in finance could be a great place to start. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in finance and still be eligible to pursue a CPA license, especially when you choose some of the top online undergraduate finance programs in the nation.
Education Requirements for CPAs
A bachelor’s degree is required of CPA applicants in most states, according to This Way to CPA, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s official certification prep site for students. However, that degree doesn’t necessarily have to be in accounting in many states.
Depending on where you live, CPA eligibility requirements may include completing a minimum number of courses in accounting and auditing. Because the fields of accounting and finance overlap quite a bit, bachelor’s in finance students are likely to meet this minimum number of accounting courses requirement in the course of their finance studies, often without even having to take any additional courses. Some finance programs may also allow you to pursue a minor or concentration in accounting, so you can complete plenty of studies in both disciplines.
Finance Degree Programs Can Prepare Aspiring CPAs for the Exam
Not only can you pursue a CPA license in many states with a bachelor’s in finance degree, but you may even find programs that emphasize getting ready for the CPA exam. For example, Southern New Hampshire University offers a Bachelor of Science in Accounting Finance program that combines the two related disciplines and offers students the option of tailoring their studies to focus on CPA exam preparation.
Whether or not a bachelor’s degree in finance will prepare you for your career as a CPA may depend in part on where you want to live. Because states have different CPA eligibility requirements, it’s important that you check with your state’s Board of Accountancy to ensure that an accounting major isn’t a requirement to sit for the CPA exam. However, as long as you meet the minimum number of accounting courses required by your state’s Board of Accountancy, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance is likely to be excellent preparation not only for the CPA exam, but also for your future career in finance, accounting, or business.
If you’re trying to decide between a degree in finance and a degree in accounting, find out what both degree paths entail at the schools you are considering. Different programs may have different curricula, academic options and objectives. The more you know about specific accounting and finance degree programs, the better you can compare the two and determine which path is right for you.