Should I Double Major in Liberal Arts and Accounting?

As you pursue your accounting education, you may wonder if you should double major. There are many potential benefits of pursuing a double major, but whether a double major is the right choice for you depends on your career goals and your intended second major. Double majoring solely for the sake of having a second degree may not help you much in the job market, and pursuing a double major at the expense of achieving a high grade point average or completing internships can actually hurt your job marketability. However, if you carefully consider and choose a second major – like liberal arts –and use it to gain new skills and experiences, double majoring could be a great choice.

Understanding What Constitutes the Liberal Arts

“Liberal arts” might seem like a vague term. Generally, the liberal arts are areas of study that were historically considered essential for an individual to succeed in society. They range from language and literature to mathematics and from philosophy and the arts to natural science. In addition to covering specific facts, like grammar rules, scientific principles and the dates of historical events, a liberal arts education trains students to develop important traits and “soft skills” that are transferrable across virtually every industry. In fact, creativity, problem-solving and communication skills – all of which can be developed while studying liberal arts – are among the traits employers consider to be the most valuable when choosing new job candidates for hire, according to U.S. News & World Report. In fact, job placement for liberal arts graduates proved to be better than expected in 2014, U.S. News reported.

How the Liberal Arts Can Help Accountants

The rebound in liberal arts job placement is positive news, but it’s not in itself a reason to double major in accounting and liberal arts. Aspiring accountants should rely more on résumé items like internships and grade point average to get their first accounting job. However, a liberal arts degree may help prepare you for certain accounting positions or simply provide you with important skills that will help you succeed in an accounting firm or as an entrepreneur. Suppose you don’t want to work for one of the major corporate accounting firms but instead would like to work in-house with a museum or a school. Having a background in a subject like history, art, philosophy and social or natural science can be immensely helpful in getting a job with such an organization. As a staff accountant or as an entrepreneur, having a solid command of grammar, rhetoric, logic, philosophy and psychology can help you communicate well with others, including clients and coworkers or employees. Knowing a foreign language can help you expand your client base.

As an aspiring accountant, the technical skills you will need will of course come from your accounting courses. However, double majoring in the liberal arts can help you develop unique abilities that will be instrumental to success in whatever career you choose.

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