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