Your complete guide to a PhD in Accounting

Everything you need to know about studying a PhD in Accounting

part of Business & Management

What is Accounting?

Accounting is the language of business and is critical for informed decision-making in any industry. As a student in Accounting, you will learn to record, analyse, and communicate financial information. But this discipline is about much more than just numbers; it's about painting a clear picture of a company's financial health.

Accounting Specialisations

Here are some specialisations you'll likely stumble upon:

  • Financial Accounting: Reporting company financial information to external parties.
  • Management Accounting: Internal reporting for decision-making processes.
  • Tax Accounting: Specialising in tax returns and tax planning.
  • Auditing: Evaluating the accuracy of financial records.
  • Forensic Accounting: Investigating financial discrepancies and frauds.

Whether pursuing a Bachelor's or a Master's in Accounting, you are likely to find that Financial Accounting is the most popular specialisation in Accounting programmes, but areas like Forensic Accounting are rapidly growing.

What will you learn during an Accounting programme?

By pursuing an Accounting degree you will learn:

  • Techniques to accurately record financial transactions.
  • Skills to analyse complex financial reports.
  • Ethical standards integral to the finance world.

Key courses to expect:

  • Financial Statement Analysis: Dissecting and understanding company financial statements.
  • Cost Management: Grasping costing and budgetary controls.
  • Taxation: Understanding tax laws and planning.
  • Advanced Auditing: Learning advanced techniques for financial evaluations.
  • Corporate Finance: Exploring business financing and decision-making.

Accounting is a good degree for those with a keen eye for detail and a passion for financial clarity. The skills you can get from studying Accounting courses will be invaluable in the finance world but will also be very useful in many other industries.

Skills required for a degree in Accounting

A successful accountant often possesses strong analytical skills, impeccable attention to detail, and a high level of integrity. Moreover, interpersonal and communication skills are vital as accountants frequently collaborate with other departments. Ensuring you meet the Accounting degree requirements will often mean keeping up-to-date with changing financial regulations and standards.

What can you do with an Accounting degree?

With your qualifications, there are many jobs or career paths to consider. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Chartered Accountant: Managing financial records for a range of clients.
  • Tax Advisor: Offering specialised tax advice and planning.
  • Auditor: Ensuring the accuracy and fairness of financial statements.
  • Forensic Accountant: Investigating financial discrepancies and providing expert witness testimonies.
  • Financial Analyst: Guiding businesses in financial decisions.

Considering the jobs you can get with an Accounting degree, it's obvious that this field offers stability and growth. Furthermore, the skills you acquire will prove valuable not just in accounting firms but also in the finance departments of various businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Ultimately, a career after the most common specialisation in Accounting promises both challenges and substantial rewards.

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View all PhDs in Accounting. Keep in mind you can also study an online PhDs in Accounting.

Interesting programmes for you

Best Universities for Accounting on PhDPortal

Universities Location TopUniversities Ranking (2018)
Harvard University Cambridge, United States 1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, United States 2
Stanford University Stanford, United States 3
University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom 4
London School of Economics and Political Science London, United Kingdom 5
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, United States 6
University of Chicago Chicago, United States 7
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, United States 8
University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom 9
New York University New York City, United States 10
University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia 11
London Business School Camden Town, United Kingdom 12
Columbia University New York City, United States 13
Melbourne Business School Melbourne, Australia 14
Yale University New Haven, United States 14
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Los Angeles, United States 16
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR) 17
National University of Singapore Singapore, Singapore 18
The University of Manchester Manchester, United Kingdom 19
University of Sydney Sydney, Australia 20
Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore 21
Princeton University Princeton, United States 22
Australian National University Canberra, Australia 23
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, Hong Kong (SAR) 23
Cornell University Ithaca, United States 25
Monash University Clayton, Australia 26
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, United States 26
The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR) 28
University of Toronto Pickering, Canada 28
Peking University Beijing, China 30
University of Texas at Austin Austin, United States 31
University of Warwick Coventry, United Kingdom 32
Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi Milano, Italy 33
Northwestern University Evanston, United States 34
University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada 34
Duke University Durham, United States 36
University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand 37
Imperial London, United Kingdom 38
HEC Paris Jouy-en-Josas, France 39
Tsinghua University Beijing, China 39
University of Queensland Saint Lucia, Australia 39
INSEAD - The Business School for the World Fontainebleau, France 42
Seoul National University Anyang, South Korea 43
The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan 44
Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Copenhagen, Denmark 45
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana, United States 45
Korea University Seoul, South Korea 47
The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, United Kingdom 48
City University of Hong Kong Kowloon, Hong Kong (SAR) 49
University of Navarra Pamplona, Spain 50
Aalto University Helsinki, Finland 101
Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark 101
Auckland University of Technology Auckland, New Zealand 101
Boston College Newton, United States 101
Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand 101
Deakin University  Burwood, Australia 101
Durham University Durham, United Kingdom 101
Emory University Atlanta, United States 101
Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi, Japan 101
Humboldt University Berlin Berlin, Germany 101
Lund University Lund, Sweden 101
Maastricht University Maastricht, Netherlands 101
Massey University Palmerston North, New Zealand 101
National Chengchi University Taipei, Taiwan 101
HSE University Moscow, Russia 101
Oxford Brookes University Oxford, United Kingdom 101
Queen's University Kingston, Canada 101
Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia 101
RMIT University Melbourne, Australia 101
Technical University of Munich München, Germany 101
Tecnológico de Monterrey Monterrey, Mexico 101
The University of Exeter Exeter, United Kingdom 101
University of Waikato Hamilton, New Zealand 101
Universidade Nova de Lisboa Lisbon, Portugal 101
Panthéon-Sorbonne University Paris, France 101
Frankfurt University of Applied Science Frankfurt am Main, Germany 101
The University of Arizona Tucson, United States 101
University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain 101
University of Bristol Bristol, United Kingdom 101
University of California, Davis Davis, United States 101
University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand 101
University of Florida Gainesville, United States 101
University of Groningen Groningen, Netherlands 101
University of Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland 101
University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 101
University of Maryland College Park, United States 101
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, United States 101
University of Nottingham Nottingham, United Kingdom 101
University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand 101
University of South Australia Adelaide, Australia 101
University of St Andrews St Andrews, United Kingdom 101
University of Waterloo Waterloo, Canada 101
University of Zurich Zürich, Switzerland 101
University Paris Dauphine Paris, France 101
Waseda University Shinjuku, Japan 101
WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) Vienna, Austria 101
York University Toronto, Canada 101
Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China 101
American University Washington DC Washington, D. C., United States 151
Arizona State University Tempe, United States 151
Aston University Birmingham, United Kingdom 151
Athens University of Economics and Business Athens, Greece 151
Autonomous University of Madrid Alcobendas, Spain 151
Brigham Young University Provo, United States 151
Concordia University Montréal Montreal West, Canada 151
Curtin University Perth, Australia 151
George Washington University Washington, D. C., United States 151
Georgetown University Washington, D. C., United States 151
Hanyang University Seoul, South Korea 151
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, United States 151
Keio University Minato, Japan 151
Kyung Hee University Seoul, South Korea 151
La Trobe University Melbourne, Australia 151
Nanjing University Nanjing, China 151
National Cheng Kung University Tainan, Taiwan 151
National Chiao Tung University Hsinchu, Taiwan 151
Osaka University Osaka-shi, Japan 151
Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona, Spain 151
Renmin University of China Beijing, China 151
Rice University Houston, United States 151
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Shanghai, China 151
Stockholm University Stockholm, Sweden 151
The City University of New York New York City, United States 151
Complutense University of Madrid Madrid, Spain 151
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milano, Italy 151
University Kebangsaan Malaysia Semenyih, Malaysia 151
MARA Technological University Seremban, Malaysia 151
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 151
University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland 151
University of Aberdeen Aberdeen, United Kingdom 151
University of Bath Bath, United Kingdom 151
University of Cologne Köln, Germany 151
University of Indonesia Depok, Indonesia 151
University of Leeds Leeds, United Kingdom 151
University of Notre Dame South Bend, United States 151
University of Padua Padua, Italy 151
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, United States 151
University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa 151
University of Reading Reading, United Kingdom 151
University of Southampton Southampton, United Kingdom 151
University of Strathclyde Glasgow, United Kingdom 151
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, United States 151
University of Virginia Charlottesville, United States 151
University of Wollongong Wollongong, Australia 151
University Putra Malaysia Kampong Baharu Balakong, Malaysia 151
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 151
Washington University in St. Louis Saint Louis, United States 151
WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management Vallendar, Germany 151
Bologna Business School Bologna, Italy 51
Boston University Boston, United States 51
Cardiff University Cardiff, United Kingdom 51
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Madrid, Spain 51
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, United States 51
City, University of London London, United Kingdom 51
Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam, Netherlands 51
ESSEC Business School Cergy, France 51
ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich, Switzerland 51
Fudan University Shanghai, China 51
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, United States 51
Indiana University Bloomington Bloomington, United States 51
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Daejeon, South Korea 51
KU Leuven Brussels, Belgium 51
Lancaster University Lancaster, United Kingdom 51
Macquarie University Sydney, Australia 51
McGill University Montréal, Canada 51
Michigan State University East Lansing, United States 51
National Taiwan University Taipei, Taiwan 51
The Ohio State University Upper Arlington, United States 51
Pennsylvania State University State College, United States 51
Purdue University West Lafayette, United States 51
Shanghai Jiao Tong University Shanghai, China 51
Singapore Management University Singapore, Singapore 51
Stockholm School of Economics Stockholm, Sweden 51
Sungkyunkwan University Seoul, South Korea 51
Texas A&M University College Station, United States 51
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong, Hong Kong (SAR) 51
The University of Western Australia Perth, Australia 51
Tilburg University Tilburg, Netherlands 51
UCL London, United Kingdom 51
University of Adelaide Adelaide, Australia 51
University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada 51
University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 51
University of Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom 51
University of California, San Diego San Diego, United States 51
University of Chile Lo Prado, Chile 51
University of Glasgow Glasgow, United Kingdom 51
University of Mannheim Mannheim, Germany 51
University of Montreal Montréal, Canada 51
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, United States 51
University of Rochester Rochester, United States 51
University of Sao Paulo São Paulo, Brazil 51
University of Southern California Los Angeles, United States 51
University of St. Gallen (HSG) St. Gallen, Switzerland 51
University of Technology Sydney Sydney, Australia 51
University of Washington Seattle, United States 51
University of Western Ontario London, Canada 51
University of Wisconsin Madison Madison, United States 51
Victoria University of Wellington Wellington, New Zealand 51
Yonsei University Seoul, South Korea 51
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