Want To Become A Business Leader? Learn Accounting
If you’re looking to become a business leader, you may want to enroll in an accounting program.
In a new US News report, experts say knowing how to analyze and communicate financial information can be a valuable asset for aspiring business leaders.
“Accounting touches all business disciplines and accounting knowledge is important for business planning and decision making,” Michael Clement, an accounting professor with the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas—Austin, tells US News.
The Important Of Accounting
Accounting skills, experts say, are transferrable to all fields of business.
“It is often referred to as the language of business,” Clement tells US News. “Indeed, you will often hear senior executives speaking the language of accounting when they talk about revenues, expenses, profits, profit margins and the strength of their balance sheets. Employers frequently tell our students to take as much accounting as possible.”
Stephen A. Karolyi, assistant professor of finance and accounting at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, agrees.
“High-quality accounting MBA programs intend to produce alumni that not only have accounting expertise, but also an appreciation for the connections between accounting principles and the broader corporate information environment,” Karolyi tells US News. “Alumni with these qualities can excel in fields beyond public accounting, because they understand the crucial role for accounting in decision-making, both at the internal corporate level and external investment level.”
Variety In Accounting Course Offerings
Not all accounting programs are created equal.
Strong accounting programs, according to experts, generally offer a variety of courses.
In my opinion, courses that delve into the strategic aspects of accounting are the most valuable,” Karolyi tells US News. “I am always impressed when students are able to articulate how accounting choices affect information production, and how this information could affect interactions not only with investors, but also across divisions within the firm or with competitors, customers, suppliers, divisions, and regulators.”
In addition to a variety in course offerings, applicants should seek out a curriculum that teaches technological training.
Alex Dontoh, an accounting professor and director of the Master of Science in Accounting program at New York University’s Stern School of Business, tells US News that data tools like Python, XBRL and SQL are vital to a strong accounting program.
Programs With Leading Accounting Professors
Like any program, an accounting program’s strength lies in its faculty experience.
Experts suggest applicants research professors at a select school to see how deep their accounting knowledge is.
“The proportion of accounting faculty at a business school should inform students about the relative demand for accounting courses taught at the school,” Karolyi tells US News. “Without a deep knowledge of accounting, it is difficult to truly understand the reported performance or state of a company.”
At the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, the school’s knowledgeable faculty is a main reason why its accounting program is rated number one, as P&Q has previously reported.
“We have a deep bench of accounting faculty that services all of the programs, says Steve Limberg, who oversees the MPA program at the McCombs School of Business. “That gives us a greater degree of freedom and ability to accommodate individuals in the accounting program.”