Advance Your Career to the Max with a Master in Accounting 

A Master in Accounting is more than just a great tool for advancing your career.  Audit, forensic, and public accounting are hot job markets right now due in part to increased scrutiny and regulation following the recent financial crisis. 

There’s a much quoted statistic from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics that projects employment for accountants and auditors will grow 16% by 2018.

However, the best way for you to capitalize on this growth is through education.

Most masters programs don’t require a background in accounting, just a completed Bachelor degree in business and a good entrance exam scores.  

This intensive graduate degree requires investing in tuition and dedicating a year of your time (longer if you attend part time) but has a lasting impact on your professional goals.
Let’s look at the benefits of a maser degree in accounting or as it’s better known - a MAcc

Master In Accounting Professional Advantages and Career Options

Master In AccountingMaster In Accounting

Are you interested in public accounting?  Some undergraduate programs prepare students for the CPA exam.  But, do they really prepare students to work as public accountants? 

The curriculum of the MAcc takes you on an in depth study of accounting principles and concepts.  It teaches you effective accounting methods and practical applications for those principles and concepts.  Not only will you be fully prepared to take the CPA exam and pass it, you will be ready to actually work in public accounting.If you aspire to public accounting at one of the large firms, this degree is a must have.

Does a senior leadership position in business sound better than public accounting to you?  If so, this degree will help you achieve your goals.  Accounting plays a major role in today’s business environment.  Senior leaders must have a strong financial foundation in order to make sound business decisions.  

You simply can’t guide the course of a large company without understanding the impact decisions have on the bottom line.  Chief Financial Officers need a either a public accounting (CPA) background or a MAcc to succeed.

Regardless of the focus of your accounting career, a master level degree will benefit you professionally by giving you:

  • A professional advantage over your peers without a master level degree
  • A strong knowledge foundation for your career
  • A chance to build strong connections with leaders in the accounting world

MBA (Master in Business Administration) vs. MAcc

You might be asking yourself about the difference between an MBA and a MAcc?  It’s a fair question.

The top business schools offer MBA’s that command attention and respect.  Why would you choose a Master in Accounting over a highly regarded MBA program?  

It really comes down to your goals.

An MBA typically focuses on management and finance topics.  Accounting is one piece of a well-rounded MBA, but not a key focus.  Strategic and critical thinking, finance, and leadership topics are covered in depth, with accounting principles and strategies playing a more foundational role.

A strong Master in Accounting degree program teaches the same topics.  Strategic thinking, leadership, and financial analysis skills are crucial in any senior leadership role.  

The difference is in the focus.

With a graduate accounting degree you will focus on the accounting principles and practices required for success.  You will learn to leverage that knowledge strategically to put your company in the best possible financial position as it implements its strategic vision.

If your strengths and interests point you toward accounting, your best advantage is the MAcc.

Can I Build a Successful Career Without a Graduate Level Degree?

Of course you can!  You can take the CPA exam with an undergraduate degree.  Many people take the exam, pass it, and go on to open successful public accounting practices.  You probably know some of them.  They are the local accountants in your area who work for local businesses and prepare individual and small corporate tax returns.  

However, you absolutely must bear in mind the new rules around the 150 semester hours of education before you can sit the CPA exam.

Experienced accountants become controllers, internal auditors, and forensic accountants without a Master Degree.  They are smart, skilled, and successful.   Small to mid-size private organizations hire and promote good people without graduate level degrees.  It’s certainly possible.

However, if you want to:

  • Earn a salary at the top level for your title
  • Work for a large and prestigious public accounting firm
  • Become CFO for a Fortune 500 company
  • Have input on public policy and tax law as a member of the IRS or other governmental office

You need more than a strong work ethic and great mind.  You need a graduate level degree.

Top Master in Accounting Programs

The Public Accounting Report ranks graduate level accounting programs based on their overall academic quality, professional reputation, and graduate placement rates.  In their most recent report, they classified schools by size and ranked them by classification.  Here are the results:

  • University of Texas – Austin: Ranked #1 in the large school category, the University of Texas – Austin has arguably one of the best overall accounting programs in the country.  The University’s McCombs School of Business graduates have a 77% pass rate on the CPA exam.  Located on 350 acres near downtown Austin, Texas, this is certainly a large and vibrant campus.  When not in class, you can enjoy Austin’s music and art culture. There’s always something going on and with a student population of over 50,000 you will find lots of people to enjoy the scene with you.
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill:  #1 in the mid-size category, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MAcc graduates enjoy a 97% placement rate upon graduation.Talk about return on investment!  Students learn leadership through required courses in professionalism and ethics, as well as through a Global Immersion Program which sends students to explore the business needs of developing countries.  Located in Chapel Hill, a small college town, the campus is quaint and full of historic charm.
  • College of William & Mary: One of the oldest colleges in America, William & Mary is ranked #1 in the small category.  W&M’s Mason School of Business offers students a unique opportunity to mingle and learn from leaders in government.  Every fall graduate accounting students and faculty go as a group to Washington D.C. to spend a few days with leaders in Congress, at the SEC, and in other financial public policy roles.  Not surprisingly, one of the most popular concentrations at W&M is federal taxation.

Master in Accounting Programs – A Summary

Getting a Master in Accounting is an investment with a worthy reward.  Programs are available to suit your needs and goals.  Many schools have good, solid programs at an affordable price.   They often hold classes in the evening to allow you to complete your coursework while working.  Online programs are available as well from schools like The University of Phoenix and DeVry University.

If you aspire to the top of the accounting profession, invest in yourself. Get a Master In Accounting.