What Is Better, an Accounting or Business Administration Degree?

Someone comfortable with numbers might prefer a degree in accounting.
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Though both a degree in accounting and a degree in business administration will be attractive to employers, neither one is necessarily better for everyone. The key to planning your education for a successful career is to find the best match for your personality, goals and particular situation. When you carefully consider where you want to go in life, the choice should become clear.

1 What's the Difference?

In many ways, a degree in accounting and a degree in business administration will overlap. With both degrees, you'll learn a lot about the ins and outs of a business and what it takes to make a business succeed. The focus of the degrees, though, is different. With a degree in accounting, you'll delve more deeply into finance and hard accounting skills, according to The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. A business administration degree, on the other hand, will focus more on business management skills, including marketing and employee management. Both degrees can be attractive to employers.

2 What Are Your Goals?

Think about where you see yourself working and what type of tasks will make you feel more satisfied. If you enjoy building relationships and working with various types of people, the degree in business administration might be the right one for you. If you prefer working with numbers to working with people, then an accounting degree is probably the better choice. Those with business administration degrees might have more entry points into a company, as they could start working in customer service, marketing, management or human resources, but the accounting degree offers a more specialized skill set, which might mean less competition for positions.

3 Where Do Your Talents Lie?

Though some people have a wide variety of talents, you might feel that you're more of a "people person" than a "math person." Someone who's not very good at math would probably do better with a degree in business administration, while someone who is good at math might be happier with a degree in accounting. Be honest with yourself. No matter how practical the degree seems, if it doesn't align with your talents, you probably won't excel in a career in that area.

4 Do You Want to Further Your Education?

A degree in accounting will allow you to jump right into the job market after graduation, and you can have a steady career path with just this degree, especially after you pass the certified public accountant exam. Beyond that, you might take the occasional brush-up course to hone your skills. The business administration degree might get you started in a company, but if you want to remain competitive for higher positions, you may need to work toward a Master of Business Administration.

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.