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Accounting Major

The major in accounting is designed to provide students with the general business and accounting knowledge necessary for them to succeed as professional accountants. As accounting is a dynamic field, all accounting majors will learn how to keep their knowledge up to date so they can continue to grow throughout their professional careers. Accounting majors will also acquire the communication, technical, and interpersonal skills necessary to successfully resolve complex problems in unstructured settings. Accounting majors will also benefit from participation in extracurricular activities and organizations such as Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting honorary fraternity.

Highly motivated students are also able to participate in our 3+1 BSBA and MS in Accounting program with the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Students are able to earn both degrees in only four years, and those who qualify for merit-based scholarships will pay the same tuition as if they were only earning an undergraduate degree.

  • Earn a minimum of 120 Academic Credits
    • Complete two BSBA core courses in accounting as well as the seven required accounting major courses
  • Fulfill All:
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.25 (C+) in all courses applied toward a Accounting major.
  • A "C-" or better must be earned in each course applied toward a Accounting major

Pitt Business Core Courses

Each of these courses must be completed with a C or better in order to proceed with the accounting major.

  • BUSACC 0030 Financial Accounting
    Helps students become informed users of firms' external financial reports. The basic structure and contents of such reports and the process by which they are prepared will be studied. Discussion topics will include what items are included in the reports, how such items are measured, and how various economic events affect them. An understanding of what can be inferred from the reports about past performance, present position, and future prospects of the firm will be developed.

    Prerequisite: ECON 0100 or 0110
  • BUSACC 0040Managerial Accounting
    Introduces students to the basic terminology and concepts of cost accounting, and provides an introductory coverage of product costing, cost allocation, budgetary control, responsibility accounting, and the use of cost information in resource allocation and other managerial decisions. Textbook material and real-world examples are used to engage students in extensive problem-solving.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC0030

Required Major Courses

  • BUSACC 1204 Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
    Covers the conceptual framework of financial accounting and its influence on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), with special emphasis on the valuation of assets and measurement of income. Requirements include reading the original pronouncements on GAAP, making oral presentations, and writing short position papers on various accounting issues of current interest. Required for all accounting majors.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 0040
  • BUSACC 1205 Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
    Topics covered include valuation of liabilities, owners' equity, cash-flow statements, and disclosure outside the primary financial statements. Like Intermediate Financial Reporting 1, this course also engages students as active participants in the learning process. Required for all accounting majors.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 1204
  • BUSACC1216 Advanced Financial Accounting
    This course covers topics that are of particular interest to financial report preparers and auditors. Special emphasis is placed on accounting for business combinations and consolidated financial reporting. Other topics include international accounting, accounting for partnerships, and accounting by fiduciaries.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 1205
  • BUSACC 1221 Strategic Cost Management
    The quality, timeliness and credibility of the cost information used in corporate decision-making can have a significant impact on value creation. This is because cost information is important not only in strategy formulation and in the development and implementation of action plans that link strategies to value creation, but also because such data serve as measures of financial performance for products, processes, organizational sub-units and managers. In particular, product and service cost estimates have a major influence on corporate strategic decisions such as pricing, resource allocation, product development, supply chain design and customer focused management. In addition, product costs are informative signals of operational efficiency. Therefore, they constitute financial measures of the success of management actions such as continuous improvement and business process reengineering. Over-aggregate or obsolete cost systems can have a significant adverse impact on cost reduction in particular and overall corporate strategy and competitiveness in general.

    The objective of this course is to develop an integrated approach to analyzing these issues. In particular, we will study (a) how product cost measurement affects strategy and resource allocation decisions; (b) how to be sophisticated users of cost feedback and how to understand the strategic distortions that are induced by flaws in cost system design; (c) the strategic role of value-driver information and the relationship between process improvement and cost reduction; (d) the use of budgetary control systems and financial measures in performance evaluation and management and (e) incentive conflicts in organizations and their mitigation through appropriate mechanisms.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 0040
  • BUSACC 1236 Accounting Information Systems
    Deals with both the design and implementation of accounting-information systems and their ability to collect data on the activities of the organization, to accumulate and summarize it, and to make the information available to managers for analysis, decision making, and control. Special emphasis is placed on the problems inherent to this effort. This course is required for all accounting majors.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 0040
  • BUSACC 1238 Auditing
    Introduces the auditing process and profession. Main topics include the nature and purpose of auditing, auditing standards, professional conduct, auditor legal liability, and approaches in auditing financial statements. Emphasizes a risk-based approach to selecting appropriate auditing techniques. Examines the auditor's decision process relating to internal control assessment, audit sampling, and obtaining audit evidence about financial accounts. Also examines the extent of the auditor's responsibility to uncover fraud. This course is required for all accounting majors.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 1205; prerequisite or corequisite: BUSACC 1236
  • BUSACC 1242 Individual Tax Accounting and Planning
    This course focuses on individual tax return preparation and planning. Students will learn how to calculate the taxes associated with a variety of personal, investment, property, and sole-proprietorship transactions. Concepts will be reinforced through the preparation of actual tax returns that reflect different combinations of such transactions. Students will develop tax planning skills by considering how various transactions can be restructured to minimize the current or future tax liability.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 1205

Elective Major Courses

  • BUSACC 1210 Financial Statement Analysis
    Financial statement analysis focuses on the evaluation of publicly traded company financial statements and related note disclosures as well as the correlation of this historical financial data with the company's stock prices. This course helps students develop a systematic approach to analyzing reported financial data and understanding the underlying risks and possible inconsistencies across companies. Requirements of the course include interim exams and written and oral presentations of analysis.

    Prerequisite: BUSACC 1205
  • BUSACC 1296 Accounting Internship
    Plans for internships must be approved by CBA Career Services before registration for the course is permitted. Internships for credit will be graded on a Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) basis only. This applies to all CBA students completing internships for credit.
  • BUSENV 1760 Business Law
    Provides students with an exposure to the extensive laws and regulations that affect almost all major aspects of business operations. Topics are chosen on the basis of their importance to contemporary business.

Skills Needed

  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Analytical, critical-thinking ,and problem-solving skills
  • A high GPA is expected to be competitive in the market. Grades are an indicator of technical ability in accounting and of a person's work ethic
  • Excellent communication skills are needed, in addition to working well in a team environment
  • Strong technical skills; many positions require using specialized accounting software

Types of Jobs

  • Budget Analysis
  • Financial
  • Management Accounting
  • Tax
  • Auditing

Types of Industries

  • Public Accounting
  • Corporate Accounting
  • Government
  • Education
  • Non-profit
  • Self-employed - CPA
  • Accounting majors who are preparing for the Certificated Public Accountant (CPA) examination are encouraged to take BUSACC 1210 Financial Statement Analysis and BUSENV 1760 Business Law.
  • In Pennsylvania and most other states a Certified Public Accountant license will be granted only to individuals who have earned 150 or more college credits.
  • The Master of Science in Accounting program at the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business enables students to reach the 150 credit-hour requirement and prepare for the CPA exam.