Earning a degree in accounting or mathematics may be frightening to some, but for those who love numbers, it is an exciting course of study. Although math and accounting may sound similar, they are vastly different fields in different departments. At universities, accounting degrees falls under the management field while mathematics degrees fall under the sciences field. There are few similarities in terms of degree requirements, but most schools require the same core classes.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a degree in accounting can lead to four major career options: Public accounting, management accounting, internal auditing or government accounting. Accountants can help with taxes in terms of determining what you owe and helping to itemize donations, as well as perform internal audits by checking financial records. In order to work as an accountant, you need training through an internship and a bachelor's degree from a university accredited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. For an accounting degree, the bulk of your studies will be in management and economics.
A bachelor's degree in mathematics or secondary mathematics education can lead to jobs in business and government or education. With a degree in mathematics, mathematicians can help with physics, economic, business and engineering problems using theories and algorithms. To work as a mathematician in a given field, you need a degree from an accredited university. Earning a math degree typically takes between four to six years to complete. While attending college for your math degree, your course-load will consist mainly of math and statistics courses, but in order to stay ahead in the field, it is recommended that you take computer science classes as electives.
Similarities Between Accounting and Mathematics Degrees
While working toward a bachelor's degree in either accounting or mathematics, many consider earning a minor in the other field because there are some classes that cross over. For both accounting and mathematics, the core classes are the same. Students in both fields must take communication and writing courses, a sequence of two to four humanities courses -- philosophy and business writing courses -- a class in computer applications and 15 to 21 elective credit hours. From here, the similarities end, and the majors only have two other classes in common: calculus and algebra with trigonometry. To obtain a minor in mathematics, an accounting student needs to complete 21 to 40 additional math credit hours; to obtain a minor in accounting, a mathematics student needs to complete 21 to 40 accounting and management credit hours.
Accounting and Mathematics Degree Uses: Where They Intersect
Even though the coursework differs, graduates with accounting or mathematics degrees can hold similar jobs. Since both mathematics and accounting involve critical thinking, degree holders in either field can pursue jobs in education, finance and financial reporting. Government jobs are also available to both mathematics and accounting degree holders since people who are good with numbers are highly sought-after in governmental financial institutions, such as the Federal Reserve.