Several years ago my daughter called me from her first year
in college with a question: “Dad,
they want me to declare a major, what should I do?” I asked her what she was interested in and
she replied that she didn’t know! I
guess that is understandable looking back, even though I was a bit put back
with the financial commitment we were making.
As an accounting major myself, I believe there are lots of
opportunities for that knowledge, so I suggested to her that she major in some
kind of business and take all the accounting courses she could handle knowing
that she would not like or do well in the advanced courses. She took my advice and majored in French and
International Management, as suspected she didn’t want to be an accountant. She didn’t get a professional job for several
years when she got out of college, but eventually got a job in banking and has
had a successful run in the financial service business since then. She never wanted to work in finance, but
found she likes it and was able to get in largely because of her accounting
classes I believe.
So what’s the point?
Well, I believe that most everyone should take some accounting classes
in college. Even those who hate it or
never want to be accountants.
people go into some kind of business regardless of their majors. Understanding accounting will give them
an edge in these jobs especially if they advance to some kind of P&L
responsibility as they will understand what is going on
is the language of finance. Like any language, it is a means to communicating
that is important anywhere
helps people understand other businesses they deal with such as
banking. It is amazing how many
people actually think bank accounting is different than accounting for
other industries and lack of understanding for some begins there.
are usually jobs for accountants!
- As a
side, if you want to run for congress it obviously would be a rare
skill! (ok, that is snotty!)
- If you
ever want to own your business, it is imperative that you understand
financial statements. I have met
way too many that didn’t and paid dearly for it.
- If you
are going to spend thousands of dollars on an education, don’t forget that
finance is gong to be a very important part of everyone’s life.
As I said, I started out to be an accountant in
college. I actually was one for five or
six years, but found the accounting skills (particularly the CPA certificate)
were more valuable in other positions than accounting and distinguished me when
seeking them. I have been hesitant to
make this suggestion because I thought I may be biased and way too practical,
but the more I learn and see the more I am convinced it should be a almost a
requirement for anyone seeking a degree.