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5 Best Minors for Accounting Majors 2024 – an Unbiased Guide

5 Best Minors for Accounting Majors - an unbiased guide

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Looking for a college minor to complement your accounting major? Bypass the generic fluff. Here’s the deal: I’m a real-life accountant, and I’m here to cut through the noise and give you an honest opinion. Should you choose a college minor, and which one? Let’s dive in and figure it out together.

Beyond Just Numbers

Let’s say you are getting straight A’s in your accounting classes and are determined to focus on this profession. Congrats – that core knowledge is key and can open doors to great career moves. Many folks climb high just by being accounting pros. If you love diving deep into pure accounting, that’s a solid path, and there’s no beating its value. I’m sure many accountants look back at their college minor and think it was useless.

However, there’s more out there to explore. Understanding accounting and systems is great, but being familiar with areas like data and finance is equally helpful. Let’s talk about why having a college minor is a good idea first.

Why Accounting Majors Should Choose a Minor

Career Flexibility

Have you ever felt that accounting might not be your forever thing? I’ve been there. It gets boring and monotonous. And let me be honest, it won’t get better after you enter the workforce. While it is a solid career, I have known enough people who realized the cons outweigh the pros, and they jumped ship afterward.

That’s where a college minor comes in. Think of it as a backup. If you ever want a change from accounting, your college minor can help you shift gears more easily. It’s like having an extra tool in your toolbox. So, if the day comes when accounting isn’t your main jam, you’ve got other skills to fall back on and some bonus points to put on your resume.

More Doors, More opportunities

In today’s job market, displaying a wide range of skills is important. The broader your skill set, the more doors will open.

When you branch out a bit from pure accounting, it’s like you’re sending a message: “Hey, I bring more to the table. I am a talent you don’t want to overlook.” And in today’s competitive job market, that “more” can make all the difference, especially under the threat of technological advancement and all the AI buzz.

Having skills in coding, understanding databases, and knowledge of information systems can greatly benefit your career. They will make you less “replaceable” even if we ultimately all are.

Best Minors for Accounting Majors

No.1 Information Systems Minor

In today’s world, accounting and information systems are like two sides of the same coin. It’s no longer enough to focus solely on debits and credits when technology reshapes the foundation of the business. At the end of the day, you are not writing down the journal entries on a piece of paper; you are interacting with Excel, ERP, database, and all other tech tools.

Think of all the businesses using tools like Salesforce. If you know how these tools integrate with your numbers or ERP, you’re golden. Imagine you’re in a merger/acquisition scenario, and there are two different kinds of ERP to deal with. It’s not fun if you are clueless about how data flows in the backend.

Here’s the real deal: AI and software are stepping in, taking over the repetitive stuff in accounting. But guess what? They still need guidance. If you understand the tech or data side of things, you’re still the ship’s captain. Automation might be the wave, but with the knowledge of information systems, you’re riding it instead of getting swamped.

In addition, most of the accounting major curriculum already includes some courses related to information systems management. Might as well just piggyback on it.

Pro:

  • Highly relevant to the accounting or audit knowledge
  • Dealing with systems is inevitable for future accountants
  • Most accounting major already include Information Systems in their course list – not too much extra effort is needed

Con:

  • The skill set or knowledge alone is less practical and robust than those of Computer Science or Data Science.

No.2 Data Science Minor

You might have heard some buzz about Data Science as a solid choice for accounting students. Obviously, they are both dealing with numbers. Here is why I think Data Science is a runner-up to the Information System minor.

First things first, Data Science isn’t a breeze. It’s got its own world of complexities, from algorithms to deep statistical analysis. Pairing that with accounting can be quite challenging. 

What makes things harder is that unlike Information Systems, where the connection with accounting feels natural, Data Science and accounting kind of run on parallel tracks. They’re both valuable, but they don’t always meet in the middle, especially in your typical college courses. Even beyond college, there is often a lack of common ground between the two fields.

However, both accountants and data scientists share similar skill sets. You’re digging deep, looking for patterns, making sense of numbers, and drawing conclusions. The analytical skills that make you a good accountant will also make you succeed in Data Science and vice versa. A strong foundation in statistics or data can significantly advance your accounting career as well.

And here is the silver lining: Data science is a hot career path with tons of growth. Data shows that Data science skills are in high demand and will drive a 41.9% increase in employment by 2031. There’s not only a significant demand but also a clear need for trained talents in the field of Data Science. 

In the discussion above, we talked about having a college minor is equivalent to having a plan B. Having Data Science as your plan B just won’t go wrong as long as you are up for the academic challenge.

Pro:

  • Solid fallback option. Data Science is a hot industry at the moment, with tremendous growth in the next decade.
  • The analytical skill sets can be trained and applied in both Data Science and Accounting.
  • Good statistical knowledge can boost your accounting career.

Con:

  • It’s hard.
  • Knowledge doesn’t always overlap between Data Science and Accounting.

No.3 Computer Science Minor

Next, consider Computer Science. 

Let’s start with a reality check first. A few years back, Computer Science was THE career path everyone was talking about. Loads of students jumped on it because of the promise of good jobs and great pay. Fast forward to now – it’s become a bit saturated. Data shows that the unemployment rate for Computer Science graduates stands at 7.8%, surpassing the general unemployment rate.

Even with the shift, Computer Science remains a strong option. Like Data Science, it offers a valuable backup plan if pure accounting isn’t your endgame. In addition, analytical and problem-solving skills are easily transferable between accounting and Computer Science, so you are not wasting time picking up completely irrelevant skill sets. Also, let’s not forget that having a Computer Science background can still lead to jobs with impressive paychecks.

Bottom line: Data Science might be the latest trend, but Computer Science isn’t going anywhere. It’s still a good match for accounting, offering both a solid career backup and the potential for good money.

Pro:

  • Computer Science continues to offer promising earning potential.
  • The analytical and problem-solving skills are transferable between Computer Science and Accounting.

Con:

  • It’s also hard.
  • The graduate job market is oversaturated with applicants.
  • Knowledge between Computer Science and Accounting rarely intersects.

No.4 Finance Minor

Finally, something that’s not related to systems or computers. Here is why I don’t think it is as fancy as the other options, even though it’s a reasonable choice.

When you study accounting, you naturally learn a lot about finance. Your major already prepares you for many finance roles. Adding a finance minor can feel redundant, especially if you’re looking for something different to add to your skills.

If you ever navigate through job postings for finance roles, you will often find that employers like to list “MBA or CPA” under the “preferred qualification” section. That’s good evidence that having a strong accounting foundation paves the way for finance.

And suppose you are more serious about working in finance or strategic roles. In that case, many people choose to get an MBA degree, which opens more doors and opportunities than a finance minor.

With that being said, many people move from accounting to finance as their careers progress or take a role that blends the two. Having some finance knowledge can make that transition smoother, giving you an advantage during interviews and beyond.

Pro:

  • Lots of shared knowledge between Finance and Accounting.
  • Provides a solid foundation for a potential career overlap or transition to Finance. 

Con:

  • Given the overlap in knowledge, it might not be the most efficient use of time and effort.
  • Many people pursue an MBA later in their careers if they aim for shinier opportunities.

No.5 Literally whatever you like

Psychology, Asian studies, English, history, music, you name it.

At the end of the day, college is more than just getting prepared for a job—it’s about exploring what you love and having fun (while you can). Although accounting is often a more practical choice, nobody would say it’s exciting. So, when it comes to picking a college minor, think about what truly interests you. After all, it’s just as important to enjoy the journey as it is to prepare for the destination.

I’ve met accounting colleagues who studied fun and irrelevant minors, like linguistics and trombone performance. As mentioned in the article’s beginning, it probably won’t matter when you look back. And it’s the experience that counts.

Pro:

  • A better life experience as you explore your passion.

Con:

  • From an accounting career standpoint, it might not be the best use of your time. (But who cares? YOLO.)

Key Takeaways

5 best minors for accounting majors - infographic
  • Information System Minor: Today’s accounting blends with information systems. Understanding tech tools is essential but may not be as deep as Computer Science or Data Science knowledge.
  • Data Science Minor: Data Science is a popular minor for accounting majors due to shared analytical skills. It offers career growth but is complex, and its knowledge doesn’t always align with accounting.
  • Computer Science Minor: Computer Science, while facing a saturated job market, pairs well with accounting. It offers transferable problem-solving skills and is a strong career backup with good earning potential.
  • Finance Minor: Studying Finance with accounting builds a solid base, opening up more chances in finance or strategic roles. While some pursue an MBA for higher opportunities, a finance minor still offers valuable insights.
  • Whatever you like: College is about pursuing what you love. While accounting is practical, choosing a minor you’re passionate about enriches the experience, even if it’s not directly related to your career.

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