If you’re good with numbers, then you may be curious about the difference between a bachelor’s in accounting and a bachelor’s in mathematics degree. Both programs do involve working with numbers, but there’s actually less math involved in an accounting degree program – or even an accounting occupation – than most people think, according to U.S. News & World Report. Studying accounting will require different courses than studying mathematics, and the two degree programs prepare students for very different career paths.
Studies in Accounting vs. Studies in Math
Why is there much difference between a bachelor’s in accounting and a bachelor’s in mathematics degree in terms of required curriculum, if both accountants and mathematicians work with numbers? The two fields have distinct focuses.
Accounting is the study of preparing and analyzing financial documents. Generally, accounting is a discipline in the field of business, and many accounting programs are housed within business schools. When you major in accounting, you can expect to take courses in introductory accounting, principles of internal auditing, macroeconomics and income taxation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Mathematics is the science of numbers and quantity. It includes studies of shape, structure, space and arrangement. Undergraduate degrees in mathematics can take the form of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. Often, these programs are quite similar, with B.S. degrees having slightly more intensive laboratory science requirements and B.A. degrees requiring more studies in the liberal arts and humanities, such as foreign language courses.
Math majors typically complete coursework in mathematic concepts, calculus, linear algebra, mathematical reasoning, statistics and probability, matrix theory and differential equations. Many math programs also require students to take basic classes in computational thinking, or introductory computer science.
The end goal of your education is another of the differences between a bachelor’s in accounting and a bachelor’s in mathematics degree. When accounting students graduate, they know how to prepare documents such as income statements, balance sheets and tax returns. Math majors learn skills such as computing, abstract reasoning and mathematical modeling.
Career Opportunities for Accounting and Mathematics Graduates
Another key difference between a bachelor’s in accounting and a bachelor’s in mathematics degree is the type of jobs you can get. On the surface, it might seem that accounting majors are more in-demand. There are 1,332,700 accounting jobs in America, and the field is seeing faster than average job growth, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. Accountants can also find work as financial advisors, budget and financial analysts and financial managers, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Roles for mathematicians currently number just 3,500, but the field is seeing much faster than average job growth, the BLS reported. Additionally, many mathematics students put their education to work in roles that don’t have “mathematician” in the title. They go on to fill a wide range of other roles, including economist, lawyer, consultant and even doctor, the Mathematical Association of America reported.
Even for students who excel at math, the significant differences between a bachelor’s in accounting and a bachelor’s in mathematics degree should make it easy to choose which educational path is right for you.