BSBA in accounting v.s. hiring accountants to be family business' CFO?

I’m an undergrad business student who needs to decide my major soon. I’m thinking of majoring in accounting but the purpose is purely to manage my whole family business’ financial activities (e.g. like controller up to CFO) and manage my own small business’ bookeeping i had planned in the future (not for public accounting job, MACC/MBA degree, or CPA certification). Parents said that marketing/entrepreneurship classes are interesting subjects since the classes won’t be boring and emphasize creativity (moreover, there’s a class call intro to fam. business too), but i think if i have an accounting degree w/ IT minor, it will help our family business more since they had mentioned to me at some point that it’s hard to trust an “outsider” 100% (even accountants cannot be exposed to all of the financial information inside the companies; possible of accounting fraud/theft, companies are not in the U.S.; deal with IT system developers / analysts a lot too). If you are in my position right now, which major will you advice me to take? Will it make a huge difference if i’m taking marketing/entrepreneurship major rather than accounting major with MIS supporting area? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

I would major in Accounting with a minor in finance. Those two majors will give you a solid background to handle your family business. Business school teaches your brain to think in a business way. If your thinking about the controller to CFO side then Accounting and Finance is the way to go.

Have you taken any accounting or IT courses? did you enjoy them?

@happy1 i have (basic acctg, financial acctg, managerial acctg, and intro to IT w/ supply chain classes) and i’m interested to learn more, though i won’t guarantee that i won’t get bored at some point since they’re tedious & demanding courses. I just feel the need to study accounting and IT subjects right now since these are quantitative courses that are best learned while in college & it’s the “heart” of big business, esp. accounting (self-taught in upper-level accounting will be 100% hard and time-consuming for me if i’m a marketing major and find out that i need to learn more accounting to manage my family business, might end up taking extra accounting courses in some college if that happens). Majoring in accounting won’t be easy and definitely can’t be taken for granted (unlike marketing or entrepreneurship). My only concern is that will it worth my time and effort? Will a BSBA in mktg or BSBA in accounting with minor in MIS really make a difference for my intended purpose? Will it be worthed if i end up taking an extra semester in accounting and IT? Thanks!

I have Macc degree. I agree with majoring in accounting with minor in finance. Good combination

Sounds like a good plan. Keep in mind that if you are going directly into your family business than the actual major/double major will matter less than the actual coursework you take/what you learn.

Little background. I have a BS in Acct and an MBA in finance. I have done CPA work in my life and have been in a family business. The finance degree didn’t really add much to my knowledge. In the family business, for the most part, intermediate accounting, cost or managerial accounting, and some knowledge of tax is pretty much what was needed to understand the finances of the business. A finance minor won’t get you that much additional knowledge as finance minors are geared more towards finance markets rather than financial operations of a family business. The required intro to finance class should be all you need especially with an accounting degree.

As for MIS, it really depends on your processing needs. It depends on the types of applications that your family business needs.

As I was reading your post a couple thought came to mind. The first was who is taking care of the business finances now. What do your parents say about your plan. I assume the are managing while you are in school. What is the family plan for the future of the business. The next was the fact that they mentioned marketing and entrepreneurship. Are they trying to tell you that some knowledge of those area would be helpful to you if you are to be involved in the family business.

In general, I don;t think anyone can go wrong with a degree in accounting. However, if you are going into the family business, it seems to me a well-rounded education makes sense. For example, in many small businesses, a CFO might also be responsible for the HR function, so a class in human resource management might make sense.

And when you come right down to it, the best people to tell you how you would fit into the family business is your family.

@geo1113 does the skills you have from becoming a CPA or undergraduate accounting degree help you manage and improve your family business? Because I was also told that my advanced knowledge and skills I’ll learn from upper level accounting or IT courses will unlikely be used if I aspire to be self-employed or family business. Basic skills like sales and relationship management are more emphasized. Thanks!

I really think the best people to tell you what skills will be useful in your particular family business are the family members running it currently.

Hi Jessica. It is difficult to answer that question without specifics. Industry matters. Size of company matters. Needs of the business. But for the most part, even in large businesses, one uses very little upper-level courses in accounting. If you aren’t going to do programming upper level IT really doesn’t do much for you.

Right now, in my mind, I am going through a numbers of scenarios and for every one of them, I can come up with a different idea for each.

As I said before and happy1 reiterated, your family can tell you best.