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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

Thank you comment icon I had a similar circumstance with some upper level accounting classes and had to make a fairly quick decision to enter the business school at my university. I opted for a BS Finance degree and it turned out to be a great decision for me. There are plenty of intersections between finance and accounting, yet I would say finance in general has of a more broad spectrum of opportunities. I have worked in a number of accounting positions as I gained experience in my career, and a big fundamental difference I've found is that the majority of time spent in general accounting is spent looking backwards (into the past). Whereas the finance roles I've enjoyed were more centered around forward thinking activities like business strategy, operational excellence and financial / budget planning. Tony Baldessari

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Kristina’s Answer

I have to say that I also struggled my third year and probably thought about changing my major about every other week. However, I knew that the third year was the most difficult at my college. I finally decided to fight through that year and told myself that if I still wasn't happy in my fourth year, I would quit accounting. Here I am many years later and I haven't regretted it. I have had a rewarding career. Obviously, you have to decide if there is more to it, other than just a difficult year, but it may be worth the one year struggle.
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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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Doloris’s Answer

Accounting is a difficult subject for many people, so do not be afraid to ask for help. While pursing my undergraduate degree in accounting, I focused on cultivating relationships with my classmates along with study sessions that significantly assisted in understanding the material. Sometimes it helps to hear someone else explain material or their approaches to classwork. I also utilized professor’s office hours and nurtured relationships with certain professors where I could learn better from their teaching style in order to ask pointed questions, perhaps for other courses. Also, consider using tutoring services, which are often at free or reduced charges through schools.

I hope this helps!
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Paula’s Answer

Only you can make the right decision for you. I have a Bachelor's in Science in Technical management with an emphasis/minor in accounting. Because of the number of accounting classes I took it equaled out to a Bachelor's in Accounting. Depending on how many accounting classes you have taken you might do okay switching degrees and still be able to use your accounting minor to get an accounting job. Again, you are the only one that can make the right decision for you.
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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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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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Diksha’s Answer

Hi Bahra,

I would suggest speaking to your Academic Advisor or Career Advisor at your university, and seek advice on how switching a major may impact you. I would also suggest going on LinkedIn and connecting with professionals in accounting and international business to gain perspective on how their career path is and if that is something you want to pursue.

Hope this helps!
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Molly’s Answer

I completely emphasize with you, I struggled as well. I think the main thing you need to think about is whether you are struggling in the classes because you aren't applying yourself or if you are struggling because you don't have interest in the material. I will say that if you are not interested in the material, then changing your major is probably the best move. If you aren't interested in your classes, then things like the CPA exam will be extremely taxing and who wants to be in a career that they aren't interested in? I would utilize your support group- family, friends, career center, professors, to help you think through what you want to do with your career long term. Taking a step back and doing a little soul-searching can be really critical. But remember, there is no right answer, do what is best for you and the rest will follow. Good luck!