College of Business and Economics

Accounting


Professionals with an accounting degree can work in almost any industry imaginable. Not only is the field of accounting experiencing significant growth, but regulation changes and technology advancements ensure there is no shortage of opportunities and challenges. The major is a good fit for individuals that are detail-orientated, enjoy working with numbers and have an aptitude for technology.

The accounting program at UW-Whitewater is designed to prepare its majors to begin a career in various parts of the profession — public accounting, corporate accounting, not-for-profit and government accounting. Beyond the principles of accounting, students gain knowledge of tax law, financial and managerial accounting, cost management, auditing, accounting information systems and advanced applications of technology such as data analysis and visualization programs.

Accounting graduates can be licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a satisfactory performance on the CPA exam and completion of 150 credit hours. Many graduates of the BBA in Accounting program continue on in the one-year Master of Professional Accountancy program to meet the credit requirements for CPA licensure, specialize in one of four focus areas, and enhance their future career options. Students can also complete a 150-credit BBA with majors in accounting and another business discipline. A 120-credit non-CPA BBA in Accounting is also available.

The College of Business and Economics offers a rich breadth of co-curricular activities to enhance student development and learning outcomes, including award-winning student organizations and applied learning experiences through internships and the UW-Whitewater Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. These efforts, as well as the college's outstanding reputation for its accounting program, have resulted in a 100 percent placement rate for accounting majors within six months of graduation.

The UW-Whitewater Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting requires a minimum of 120 credits, including:

  • General education requirements 
  • Business requirements 
  • Major requirements 
  • Electives (to bring the total to at least 120 credits)

Information on the requirements specific to the accounting major can be found in the Course Catalog. Major video guides and course planning sheets are also available in Four Year Planning Resources.

Individuals wishing to deepen their knowledge of accounting with post-baccalaureate studies are encouraged to consider the Master of Professional Accountancy, which fulfills the credits required for CPA licensure and is the preferred degree for future accounting professionals.

Accounting is also available as a minor for non-business students. Requirements can be found in the Course Catalog, or in the College of Business and Economics listing of minors and certificates.

Job Outlook

National employment growth for accountants and auditors is expected to be 10 percent1 from 2016 to 2026, and projected growth in Wisconsin is 13 percent2 for the same period. Most employers require a bachelor's degree in accounting or related field for entry-level positions.

National Median Pay (2018)1

$70,500 per year

Number of Jobs in United States (2016)1

1,397,700

Number of Jobs in Wisconsin (2016)2

23,480

Annual Projected Job Openings in Wisconsin2

2,470

UW-Whitewater Placement Information

Placement Rate3

100%

UW-Whitewater Salary Estimate (6 months or less after graduation)3

$50,655

Highlighted Employers4

Baker Tilly LLP, Deloitte LLP, Kerry, Kohler, KPMG, PwC, Schenck SC, Smith & Gesteland, Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau

Common Titles4

Assurance Associate, Audit Associate, Forensic Associate, Staff Accountant, Tax Associate

Impact of Professional Certifications and Advanced Degrees

Robert Half estimates that accounting professionals with a certification or master's degree make an average of 5 to 15 percent more than accountants that do not have a certification or advanced degree.5 Other sources estimate the wage premium for an advanced degree is 32 percent or $22,000.6  Common certifications are featured below. UW-Whitewater also offers a one-year Master of Professional Accountancy program.

Certified Public Accountant
Certified Management Accountant
Certified Internal Auditor

Bureau of Labor and Statistics - Occupational Handbook:  Accountants and Auditors
CareerOneStop (U.S. Dept. of Labor) - Occupation Profiles:  Accountants - Wisconsin
3 Based on survey response for 2016 - 2017 UW-Whitewater graduates
4 Self-reported data from UW-Whitewater surveys
5 Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide:  Accounting and Finance
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 (p. 62)

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