Accounting and Statistics: Courses for Your Career

By Evan Jones

Business education began in earnest in the United States long before the rest of the world. Harvard instituted the world’s first MBA program in 1908. The first European MBA program was not offered until 19571 (by INSEAD, currently ranked as #4 for its Global MBA program by The Financial Times).2 Business education is now a major educational field. It is also a prime component of distance learning because many working people are discovering that going for an MBA or merely taking business courses will help them in their careers. Both statistics and accounting are very basic requirements for an MBA and for many other business degrees as well. They are very useful courses in and of themselves, even if they are not studied as part of a larger degree program.

The expansion of the accounting and auditing professions cannot come as a surprise, considering the oversight scandals of recent years. A new emphasis on legal regulation, reputation, and reassurance has led to an increasing demand not only for effective oversight itself, but a strong desire on the part of corporations to impress this fact that on the public that this is occurring. This has created opportunity both for first-time students to acquire jobs in a growing field and working professionals who wish to advance their careers by taking online college courses or attending night school while continuing to work fulltime.

Supply and Increasing Demand

As of 2008, when the current financial crisis hit, there were 1.3 million accountants and auditors employed in the U.S. 24% of them worked for accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services firms and 8% were self-employed, but the remaining 68% were employed by government and private industry.4 This number does not include bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, of which there were 2.1 million. For those who are working in-house, taking online college courses such as auditing or college statistics , or even shooting for an MBA can be an ideal way to get ahead on the job. There is a huge increase in demand for transparency and controls within private companies. Thanks to the lamentable events of the last three years, honesty and openness are more in demand than ever before. It has become vitally important to nip fraud in the bud, before outside audits occur, not only to curtail losses but for public relations purposes.

And the demand for professional oversight is booming; it is currently one of the few professions that is actually expanding employment opportunities. According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, “Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will have a very large number of new jobs arise, about 279,400 over the projections decade. An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws and corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization's stakeholders will drive job growth.”5 This trend is fueled by ongoing globalization, which has created a demand for knowledge of international trade/accounting rules and international mergers and acquisitions. There is also an increasing need to detect and curtail the activities of international organized crime.


1 Master of Business Administration, Wikipedia, History http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Business_Administration

2 Business School Rankings, Business Education, Financial Times, http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-rankings-2011

3 S&P's Leadership Actions, Standard & Poors, McGraw Hill http://www.standardandpoors.com/about-sp/leadership-actions/en/usGovernance Tab

4 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Employment, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Accountants and Auditors http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm

5 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Job Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Accountants and Auditors http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm