Accounting sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s not as glamorous as some of the other business areas like marketing or finance. But companies need accountants. And talented accounts need a good education. Each year as part of the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, the U.S. News and World Report also ranks undergraduate business programs. And within those rankings, the U.S. News segments out different business disciplines like marketing, finance, and accounting.
This year — like so many previous years — the U.S. News deemed the University of Texas-Austin’s McCombs School of Business as home to the country’s best undergraduate marketing program. Accounting is such a core and essential function to running a business or nonprofit of any sort that pretty much every business program in the country has some sort of accounting program or school. This year, the U.S. News ranked 73 programs total. Over the past few years, Texas, Brigham Young University and the University of Illinois have dominated the top three spots. This year is no different as BYU’s Marriott School of Business and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tied for second.
Entering the top five at the fourth spot is the surging Indiana University Kelley School of Business, which has climbed four positions since 2018. Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School — which sits atop the overall best undergraduate business schools ranking — has tumbled a few positions to seventh place this year. The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business rounds out the top five.
While the schools above are certainly stellar undergraduate business institutions, the U.S. News ranking should be taken with a grain of salt. The ranking is comprised solely of a poll of deans and senior faculty at accredited business schools around the country. The deans and senior faculty members are asked to provide a top ten list of accounting programs and the mentions are tallied to create the above ranking.
Still, where there is consensus towards the top of the list, the universities boast some strong accounting programs. UT-Austin, for example, has been the top program for 13 years in a row and offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. UT-Austin might not be the actual best accounting program in the country, but for more than a decade, deans and professors at peer institutions have looked towards the school as a leader in the discipline.
Either way, rankings should be used as the start to researching future colleges. College decisions shouldn’t be made on rankings alone.