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Should I Get an Accounting Degree or Diploma?

Accounting is one of the oldest and most respected professions. As culture and business progressed and developed in antiquity, the need for accounting systems developed right along with the need for money and writing. Whether called accountant, solicitor, steward, or auditor, across time, accountants have been trusted and valued in developing societies.

One of the reasons for this respect is the training, certification, and adherence to professional standards that is expected across the accounting profession, across industries, and around the world. Today, accounting and bookkeeping are attractive careers that offer job security, growth, and promotion opportunities, as well as the flexibility to move among positions, industries, and types of organizations.

What Does an Accountant Do?

Every organization, whether it is a for-profit business, a nonprofit service, a religious or educational endeavor, needs to track revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and capital. Every aspect of the business needs to be captured. For example, it needs to have a method of recording what was sold and for how much (revenue). Someone must notate if the sale has been paid for or not (accounts receivable) and what inventory was sold (assets). If someone made the sale, then their compensation should be tracked (payroll expense). Accountants also keep up with all the other business expenses such as the electricity bill (accounts payable liability). It’s also important to know how much cash is in the organization’s bank account (assets).

In addition to making sure that all business events are recorded in the books accurately and on time, an accountant has responsibility for the general ledger, a framework of accounts into which all the transaction amounts are recorded. When the general ledger is in order, reports can be prepared and distributed to business managers, owners, shareholders, banks, potential investors, and the government.

Why Are Accountants Important?

Another big responsibility of an accountant is to make sure that taxes are filed and paid on time. Organizations file forms and pay a whole range of taxes, including franchise, sales and use, payroll, business property, and income tax. Often, taxes need to be remitted to various government agencies. When business owners have accurate reports that are derived from a general ledger that adheres to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), they can make decisions that are positive for owners, employees, and all of society. Accountants also help to prevent and uncover fraud and other crimes.

What Are the Best Tools for an Account?

An accountant’s best tool is a sharp and inquisitive mind. The second-best tool is an attention to detail. Once a person has these characteristics in place, the next tool is a good accounting software. The logic of our accepted, traditional accounting method has been codified into numerous software packages that are readily available.

What Training Does an Accountant Need?

A good training program will include instructions on some of the most popular accounting packages, including QuickBooks Pro and Sage. This would include the best methods of data entry, creating a new account, the security of the data, and report writing.

 A focus of any accountant training program should also include GAAP or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. This is a collection of traditionally accepted ways of doing accounting and accounting “rules” that have been handed down by accounting principles and standards boards.

Where Can You Get Accounting Training?

If you have decided to pursue a career as an accountant and seek the training that will help to guarantee your success. There are many ways to get the proper training. One of the quickest ways to learn the trade and begin working as fast as possible is to attend a technical school program. Successfully completing a technical school program will help you quickly earn an accounting diploma or associate degree. There are some key similarities and differences in diploma and degree programs.

Accounting Diploma Benefits

  • The training period is shorter, and the number of required classes is fewer than a degree program.
  • At a technical school, your diploma classes will be focused on the training you will need to successfully acquire and advance in an accounting position.
  • Technical school training generally costs less money than a 4-year college program.
  • In addition to the accounting-related courses, you will enroll in other classes that will help ensure your success in an accounting career. These classes could be in office automation and Microsoft Office Certification Training in software like Excel.

Accounting Degree Benefits

  • Most accounting degree programs will give you broader knowledge of entrepreneurship and business, as opposed to just accounting. These classes will open doors when looking for an accounting position. Down the road, some employers will be more inclined to promote employees with a degree over those with a diploma.
  • Accounting degree programs offer classes in federal taxes, cost accounting, principles of entrepreneurship, and auditing. These courses, typically, are not part of a diploma program.
  • Those students that earn a degree can also then pursue a Bachelors degree at an institution that accepts the technical school’s credits.

A Technical school’s programs are an efficient and effective way to launch or boost your accounting career. It is designed to train you in the skills you need for a successful career. The training and diploma you earn at a technical school may be used as the first step toward a degree in accounting.

Who Teaches Accounting at a Technical School?

In your classes leading to an accounting diploma or Associate Degree, you can expect to have teachers with relevant work experiences across many industries and types of organizations. Some of them may even be CPAs. These teachers and school counselors can help guide you to the launch of a new accounting career. Your teachers and fellow classmates can also grow to become an integral part of your career network.

What Additional Courses Can You Take That Complement an Accounting Diploma?

There are a lot of courses offered at technical schools that can augment your training in the accounting program. Accounting offers a window into how organizations work and interact with an accounting department. This often pairs well with business and entrepreneur classes.

Also, Microsoft Office Certification courses will help you learn the tools used in business. A technical school is a good place to get the training and hands-on experience that will lead you to successfully passing these certification exams. The Microsoft fleet of office applications has become the standard in offices around the world. Having these credentials demonstrates to future employers your skill level with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook.

Final Thoughts

The future of the accounting profession is bright. As any economy, industry, and business grows, the need for accountants grows. Every government and organization has a need for bookkeepers, accounting clerks, accountants, auditors, and financial managers, directors, and executives.

As accounting standards evolve and operating and taxing regulations change, there is a need for accountants to respond and adapt appropriately. As the needs for accounting professionals rise, so does the demand. When you have decided that the time is right for you, an easier way to start on your accounting career path is with a diploma or degree from Interactive College of Technology.

Want to Learn More?

Ready to start working in an entry-level role as a bookkeeper or accounting specialist? At Interactive College of Technology (ICT), our Accounting & Professional Business Applications program will teach you the fundamentals of accounts payable/receivable, payroll, general ledgers, reporting/data entry, and office automation. You will be prepared to support any size organization and make a difference in your accounting department.

Let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.

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