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I am Majoring in Accounting and I am struggling with my Accounting courses.

I am in my third year of university and I have to decide before it 's too late. I am planning to switch my major in Accounting into minor and major in international business. I need some advise regarding the employment of my chosen minor and major. Moreover, I need guidance if I am making the right decision.

Thank you #accounting


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Cherrelle’s Answer

Only you know if you are making the right decision. There is a healthy market for accounting/finance roles in global companies, which is where I could see the intersection of use for your chosen paths. I can’t speak to the abundance in your specific province but I‘m sure there are some. That said, your success is somewhat correlated to the level of enjoyment you have with the work you are ultimately doing. I would suggest you consider what you truly want to do and then why you are struggling. Do you not enjoy it and are doing something solely for prospects or do you enjoy it but the concepts are difficult, etc? Real world accounting isn’t necessarily as abstract or difficult as classroom accounting, just know that but you will need to be able to see a set of facts and determine a solution or method with the help of a team for guidance usually.

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Justin’s Answer

Personally as an accounting student, it is very challenging but it is important that you don't give up. One thing that helped me in the accounting courses that I was struggling in was forming study groups. Study groups allow you to learn from other students and alot of times it is helpful because they may explain it in a way that you understand. Another way is to attend office hours, many professors are eager to help students and it shows that you are taking initiative over your academic career.

Good luck!

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Zoe’s Answer

Hi Bahara,

I totally understand your concern because I was in your shoes not that long ago. I remember struggling in my intro-Accounting classes and thinking that I was not made for the Accounting minor. Somehow when I progressed into intermediate accounting, the material began to make sense.

If this is not the case for your or if you don't think your interest aligns with Accounting but International Business instead, don't be afraid to acknowledge the signs! It's never too late to make a change or start something new. You are still in college with so many opportunities; be sure to leverage that! It's better to make the change now than after you worked 10 years down the road and realize that your passion is not there.

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Alex’s Answer

I graduated with a degree in accounting and actually had to withdraw from my first accounting course ever. The issue was that I did not apply myself because I did not think it was going to be difficult. I ended up retaking the class and applied myself and started doing really well and liking the area.

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John’s Answer

Definitely connect with your Career Center or University resource to identify what a switch would mean from a career standpoint for students at your school. Accounting skills gained are always a plus in business (a selfish opinion, but I think still true) due to them often being the foundation of any department you would work in. But as everyone else mentioned, only you can decide if it's the right decision for you - I also struggled with Accounting early on and managed to make a career of it; looking back though, I think my early struggles had less to do with a lack of interest in the topic, and more to do with growing pains going to university and trying to learn in a new way.

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John’s Answer

Hi Bahra,

I struggled with this myself. I was a finance major and really enjoyed my finance classes but struggled and did not enjoy my accounting classes. I would get A's in finance and C's in the accounting classes. Then I discovered the tax classes at my University and I was hooked! I really enjoyed all aspects of tax, from the accounting, research, law and how tax always seemed relevant in current events. I dove deep down into tax and almost finished with a double Finance and Accounting major.

I found tax so different and exciting than cost or intermediate accounting (what is a contra account anyway :).

My suggestion would be to try tax and see if you enjoy that. Most schools seem to push the accounting/auditing path and tax is usually the elective you take in your senior year. Tax law is constantly changing and itself so many options to specialize in after graduation - corporate, partnerships, individuals, estates/trust, state and local, transfer pricing, etc.

Best of luck to you!

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Kim’s Answer

Bahara,

Only you can know if you are running away from something rather than buckling down and conquering it, or, if you truly are on the wrong path. The more you can learn to meet obstacles head-on, the further you will go in your career. However, I like that you are changing it to a minor, rather than abandoning it altogether!

I don't know enough about either field to comment on the career prospects. Hopefully others will also answer your question.

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Colby’s Answer

Bahara,

Consider why you are wanting to change your major: is it because of the difficulty of the courses or because you are passionate about international business? If it is the first one, I would recommend using your professors' office hours to get additional guidance on topics you are struggling with and finding someone ahead of you in school that can help mentor you. I have found that the complexity of accounting is what keeps me excited and constantly learning in my career. If you are truly passionate about international business, I think that is a worthwhile reason to change your major.

I would also suggest networking with people in those fields to better develop your idea of what kind of opportunities are available. Something might come out of those discussions that will help you make your decision.

Good luck!

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Adwoa’s Answer

Hi Bahara,

Be patient with yourself and spend some time thinking about what you enjoy learning, and whether you can apply this to a career in Accounting. Arrange some time to speak with your professor and discuss what aspects of the course you are finding challenging. Accounting builds upon itself and a good understanding of the foundations is key. Also, you may need to tweak your learning style differently. For instance, in college I found pre-reading a topic before attending class really helped me navigate a particularly challenging cost accounting class. In addition, I attended study groups where we discussed topics, completed practice problems and quizzed each other to improve our understanding. Lastly, make it fun! Storytelling and applying real world examples to textbook examples can really make the learning process more relatable.

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Cristina’s Answer

I can totally relate to struggling a bit in my college accounting classes! Accounting provides so many career opportunities in various industries, whereas International Business on it's own may not give you as many opportunities. There's opportunities for you to work internationally with an Accounting degree if you're interested in international travel and languages. Ultimately, you want to be happy with your career so you need to think about what your passions are and go from there. :)

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Lucineh’s Answer

Hi Bahara!

I understand your concern. I would say the best way to stay on top of it is to practice, practice and practice. Accounting is not hard but it requires a great lot of discipline. Make studying a daily habit. For example set aside 2 hours every day to practice journal entries. The key is not to give up and believing in yourself.

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Kevin’s Answer

Based on my change of major as a Sophomore I recommend you first think about what is causing your doubt about finishing your degree with an accounting major. There are many options for people with both an accounting major and international business major. With an accounting major, you can get work in many areas that do not require a CPA. These include valuation work, project budgeting and management and so forth. Typically international business jobs will require knowledge of multiple cultures, macro economics and require some proficiency in a foreign language. It may be good to talk with your college career office to get advice on these paths given your courses to date.

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Kevin’s Answer

Hi - I would take a step back and think about what you want to do with your career. Which major would fit best for your career? Are you switching to international business because it's something that you are genuinely interested in and see a career path for it?

If it is because you are struggling with accounting, I would highly suggest to utilize the TA or professor office hours to get additional help. Any major you choose - there will be ups and downs. Finding ways to overcome these adversities will serve you well in the future.

For a more personal experience - I know of multiple highly successful individuals (partners at Big 4 accounting firms) who told stories of how they failed accounting classes but found ways to rebound.

Good luck!

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Darrius’s Answer

Hi Bahara,

I am a first year in the public accounting sector after graduating college with my masters in accounting last year.

I never personally had huge troubles with accounting concepts but I know when I did it was usually due to having professors that were more review the work that they assigned to you prior to class focused than actually teaching the topic during classes. This meant I would effectively be teaching the topics to myself through accounting text books which seemed like a quick way to hate the entire field. My interest was at all time lows when I had these type of professors no matter what the topic was. But when I could actively learn in class and ask questions in real time things seemed to flow naturally. I say this because it is a real possibility that it is not so much accounting that you are questioning your interest in rather than just the action of learning accounting.

For me, my interest for accounting grew from my college being entrepreneur focused and me getting to be the accountant for a real start up that every student had to be a part of in their first year. Being able to see how accounting maintains the balance in the business world and even being able to create this balance myself gave me real satisfaction. I would say that you should certainly think hard about why you were interested in accounting in the first place and if that interest requires accounting to be the CORE thing that you do as a career. If you are interested in anything business the things you learn in accounting are invaluable, but real world accounting or business in general often only requires that you know accounting concepts and often times will have your major focus be on something completely different.

Take for example that I am a tax accountant now. While knowing all about accounting concepts is extremely important for my career, I would say knowing the evolving tax landscape is even more crucial for me and my progression in this field. With this said I think that pursuing international business as a major is a solid decision (my accounting firm has a international accounting sector as well) if that is where you think your passion is. I would just advise 2 things.

1. Follow your passion always. If that means pivoting your career path then so be it but do it wisely and make sure you research where you are pivoting to.

2. Along with researching your career path, find out what the professional degrees / certification needs are. You may find that having a general business degree upon graduation is enough and that your major and minor are just supplementary (for me in an accounting firm, getting my CPA license is required for further advancement while a job in the private sector may only require candidates have a business degree). This may lead you to continuing your learning about international business while still taking enough accounting classes so that you have the option to take the CPA exam if the desire or need arises.

As far as employment goes, having your cpa license will allow you fairly easy employment in any accounting firm. It is a constantly growing industry with solid job security. There are always going to be companies and those companies are always going to need to account for their assets and liabilities.

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Gulshan’s Answer

Bahara,

Any advice you get here must be adjusted with your temperament, aptitude, interests and opportunities you're willing to attempt for. Talent can be developed but to be truly successful, your choice of talent development works better when aligned with your inherent skills.

For instance, Accounting folks are expected to be good with numbers - I would disagree with that, that's not necessarily required anymore. Instead, today Accounting is more geared towards a hunger and capability to digest facts and convert statements into numbers - and vice-versa. You must have an inherent capability to interpret business transactions into their monetary impact. Of course, there are numerous offshoots of Accounting available today - especially, considering the fact that newer products are always coming up and need to be monetized and valued. Forensic accounting is another sterling field that's never going out of favor. Bitcon accounting is bleeding edge, almost fringe - for now, but goes to show the possibilities that the future holds. None of that, of course, takes away from classic accounting roles.

Best would be to try and find someone in the field who you can talk to. Look out for local or nearby employment fairs, and go and talk to professionals. Many employers welcome interns, use the opportunity to find out what you're good at.

Having said all that, since you've said you've decided to change your major to Int'l Business, you'd surely know that the scope of International Business can be more widespread than purebred Accounting. By all means, go in for it if you believe you have a flair that you can develop into a talent, and not just a fascination or infatuation, driven by the glamor at times associated with the term International Business. It is easy to imagine a high-flying executive, traveling country to country, managing crises and solving all of them - that is a fictional concept and in reality, there's a lot of sweat and tears that goes into that sort of success.

In short, do what you are able to do to the best of your abilities and enjoy doing, not just what you feel you want or should or are told to do. It would be ideal if both approaches led you to the same goal, but that clarity (and luck!) doesn't come easy to most of us.

Don't expect to be able to make a magical first choice, and be willing to admit that a change may be the best next step. However, considering you've made a change in your choice of major, I believe that's a skill you're already comfortable with (!)

Good Luck!

Gulshan recommends the following next steps:

Visit employment fairs to talk to recruiters
Visit job-sites like Glassdoor to hear from actual practitioners in your chosen field
Find out what you're good at, or at least what you believe you can develop as a talent and then aim to capitalize on that

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John’s Answer

Hi Bahra,

I struggled with this myself. I was a finance major and really enjoyed my finance classes but struggled and did not enjoy my accounting classes. I would get A's in finance and C's in the accounting classes. Then I discovered the tax classes at my University and I was hooked! I really enjoyed all aspects of tax, from the accounting, research, law and how tax always seemed relevant in current events. I dove deep down into tax and almost finished with a double Finance and Accounting major.

I found tax so different and exciting than cost or intermediate accounting (what is a contra account anyway :).

My suggestion would be to try tax and see if you enjoy that. Most schools seem to push the accounting/auditing path and tax is usually the elective you take in your senior year. Tax law is constantly changing and itself so many options to specialize in after graduation - corporate, partnerships, individuals, estates/trust, state and local, transfer pricing, etc.

Best of luck to you!

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Ern’s Answer

Hi Bahara:

I am sorry to hear you are struggling with your Accounting courses. It really depends on whether you understand debits/credits, the accounting equation, financial ratios, etc. If the basics topics make sense and it’s just that the exams are a bit difficult then I suggest sticking to it. I agree with Gulshan that accounting do not need to be good with numbers since now computer do all the work such as Excel or Quickbooks plus there is always a necessity for accountants for small, middle and large companies. Experience plays a big role in accounting, try to get an accounting internship even if it’s unpaid, just to learn if that is what you want to do or if it’s time to switch majors.

(P.S.: have you taken auditing or cost accounting, these courses are useful since they are specialized classes that match job titles such as “auditor” or “managerial accountant”)

Suerte,
E.S.

Ern recommends the following next steps:

Quickly go back over the basics of accounting to confirm you know your debits/credits
Apply for accounting unpaid/paid accounting/bookeeping internships
Analyze if any specific course seems easier for you to understand, ex: financial, managerial, forensic, computerized accounting,etc.
Decide if accounting is for you or if its time for a change

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