By Meg Killian, vice president – member relations
Every accounting program includes accounting and auditing, tax, economics, finance, and other core business courses you need to earn a degree. No matter what your long-term career goals, there are additional courses you should consider taking -- not just to meet the 150-hour credit requirement to become a CPA, but also to enhance your skills and increase your appeal in the job market. Here are just a few.
Writing and Composition
When you ask employers about desired skills, writing is inevitably among the first things they mention. Writing is the No. 1 means of communication in most professional service businesses. Whether it’s a lengthy report or a simple e-mail, being able to write in clear, concise, and grammatically correct prose is absolutely essential.
Training on speaking and giving presentations will be beneficial if your future job is going to require you to speak at meetings or in front of groups. If you’re in a nonprofit or a closely held company, chances are you’ll be the face of the organization in front of board members, donors, or customers, and you need to be able to tell the organization’s story confidently and effectively.
Data analytics, forensic accounting, cybersecurity, and information systems are quickly becoming more than niche services. Firms are offering more technology-based services, and recent graduates are in a perfect position to build and grow that part of a practice. Also, if you find yourself working in industry chances are you’ll have your hand in the technology end of the business, either from an operations or financial perspective. Having some knowledge of how it all works will be a huge asset.
Learn Another Language
As with any business major, a second language is always a good idea. Fluency in a foreign language continues to be a skill that is in high demand. Being bilingual or multilingual gives you high marketability in government or global organizations.
Don’t Just Take the 100 Level Course
Many accounting programs have introduction-level courses in their curriculum requirements or recommendations, but consider taking the higher levels to hone your knowledge in the areas of organizational management, economics, supply chain, international business, and marketing.
Liberal Arts and Humanities
Courses in psychology, sociology, women’s studies, political science, religion, philosophy, and other humanities can spark your creativity. It will also help you learn more about the people you’ll work with and the world around you.
Don’t Take Basket Weaving
Refrain from fringe arts classes, unless you’re planning on going into the textile business or just love basket weaving. If you do, then by all means go for it.
Take Golf Instead
Golf may be experiencing a general drop in popularity, but it can still be an important part of building business relationships. You don’t need to own the fanciest clubs or shoot a 90, but being able to swing and knowing basic golf etiquette can at least get you in the room where it all happens ... or on the green where it all happens, as the case may be.