Cleveland Earn a Masters in Accounting Degree

Masters in accounting programs teach overarching methods to direct accurate monetary record keeping and compliance. To do this, courses combine business management tactics with advanced accounting methods. Classes could cover topics in international accounting, ethics, and team management.

How to earn a masters degree in Accounting

In addition, many master of accounting programs act as a study guide for the certified public accountant exam. Not to mention, time in the classroom could contribute to the CPA exam’s educational requirement.

What Is a Masters in Accounting Program?

Masters programs in accounting grant a graduate professional degree and are designed to cover advanced accounting topics and leadership methods. Classes within these masters programs could not only expand your fundamental accounting toolbox, but also teach techniques to lead a team towards financial goals.

Many of these programs are designed to help students prepare for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. Course work may cover topics commonly asked of the test.

These masters programs go by several different names. The following are different types of masters in accounting programs you might come across in your search.

  • Masters of Science in Professional Accountancy (MSPA)
  • Master of Accountancy (MAcc)
  • Master of Business in Accounting (MBA)

In some cases, like the MBA program, accounting may be offered in conjunction to a business degree. These are often called an “accounting specialization.”

Program offerings may differ between schools. Check with school’s admissions team for more information about their specific program options.

What’s the Difference Between Accounting and Finance?

While the finance and accounting are sometimes used interchangeably when talking about money, there are some subtle differences between the two fields. In fact, the two actually feed into each other.

Finance deals with distributing assets. This could include ensuring parts of a business are properly funded or other budgeting concerns.

Accounting is what happens after. Accounting is the act of recording and reporting financial decisions. For instance, accounting could demonstrate that the above-mentioned business areas received their budget. But, they might also report that a department didn’t need their entire budget. In these cases, accounting could help inform finance’s future monetary decisions.

Potential Master in Accounting Curriculum

Masters in accounting program curriculum focuses on management techniques to oversee and direct accounting initiatives. For instance, you could have the chance to study topics like financial reporting, regulation, and ethics, and how they may apply to larger, international corporations. As part of this initiative, you could have the chance to take some of the following classes.

  • Auditing
  • International Accounting
  • Managerial Economics
  • Financial Management
  • Accounting Ethics
  • Financial Reporting

Please be aware that these are only a few examples of accounting masters classes. Additional courses may be available depending on your chosen program. For more information, speak with an admissions representative.

Overall, masters in accounting programs are usually comprised of 30 credit hours’ worth of classes. This could translate to earning your degree in 1 to 2 years depending upon enrollment. Program length may vary. Speak with a representative from potential schools for more information about specific program timelines.

The CPA Exam & the Masters in Accounting Program

As mentioned above, many masters in accounting programs act as a way to prepare for the CPA examinations. The coursework offered in the masters program may teach relevant material. The CPA exam may cover the following subjects.

  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Business Environment and Concepts
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation

Prior to taking the CPA exam, test agencies may require students to complete 150 of accounting education. Earning a masters in accounting could contribute to this requirement.

By completing and passing these exams, students could go on to pursue a career as a certified public account. These are often leadership roles within either a public accounting firm or another business. Unlike public accountants, CPAs are necessary for companies because they are able to sign and submit documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).i

Exam and certified CPA requirements may vary by state. Be sure to check your areas specific guidelines prior to signing up for this test.

Applying to Masters in Accounting Programs

Typically, masters in accounting programs require applicants to already hold a bachelors degree in accounting or a related field. By doing this, classes might be able to teach advanced accounting topics instead of having to cover general basics.

Students without a previous bachelors in accounting could still be encouraged to apply. Schools may then require these students to complete prerequisite courses prior to taking on accounting curriculum. These classes often include fundamental accounting topics to help ensure you’re ready to take on the advanced coursework.

In addition, students without a prior accounting bachelors degree may be asked to submit supplemental materials. This could include a letter of purpose, additional letters of recommendation, and professional resumes. These documents are usually evaluated by the dean of the department instead of the admissions team.

In some cases, the dean may also request an in-person interview to assess your accounting goals. The interview could be a great place to state why you’re making the switch into the accounting field. You could also outline measures you could take to catch up to the current curriculum.

In terms of previous academic requirements, schools may request for official transcripts from your undergraduate program. Additionally, you may be asked to submit a 2.75 to 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Some programs may also require GRE or GMAT exam scores.

Admission requirements differ between schools. Speak to an admissions counselor for more information.

Masters of Accounting Programs & Accreditation

In your search for a masters in accounting program, you may wish to keep your eye out for ones that are accredited by the Associations to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). While the AACSB usually accredits general business programs, they also offer specific accounting accreditation.

The AACSB evaluates schools to ensure that they’re constantly refreshing and updating their accounting curriculum. Accredited classes should incorporate up-to-date accounting methods to keep students at the forefront of the field.

To become accredited, schools are put through a rigorous assessment process. During which, they may be asked to submit course materials, syllabi, and curriculum outlines. Representatives of the AACSB might also visit campuses to sit in on classes to see how they’re maintaining their accounting classes.

In addition, some schools may be accredited as a whole. Or, their online programs may be accredited by another agency. These accreditations often vary by region or state.

Accreditation status varies between schools. Check with an admissions counselor for more information about a school’s accreditation status.

Masters in Accounting Program Formats

Schools may offer masters of accounting programs in different formats to better address the personal needs of their students. Before committing to a degree program, consider your own routine and schedule. Your professional and personal lifestyle may determine when and where you could earn your accounting degree.

Below are a few ways you could pursue a masters in accounting program. Be aware that not all program formats are offered at each school. Speak with department or admissions faculty for more information about the format offerings.

On Campus Masters in Accounting Programs

A masters in accounting program that is offered on campus is a traditional program. You attend classes on the physical campus on a set schedule. This program may be what you typically picture when thinking about a masters program and give you access to a wide array of campus resources. These could include libraries, computer labs and student services and activities.

Besides the structured course schedule, campus program may also create a unique environment for you to develop relationships with your peers and professors. During classes, you could work alongside your classmates. Through this, you could begin to network with others that are looking to move into the accounting industry and participate in collaborative projects.

Your professors could also be a valuable contact to have. Faculty members may already be professionals in the accounting industry. Their experience could provide valuable insight to some aspects of the field that a textbook may not cover. Your professors could also help you better understand the accounting course material. Typically, professors are required to hold designated office hours. You might bring any additional questions you may have to them during these times.

Online Masters of Accounting Programs

Online masters in accounting programs may be perfect for students with busier schedules. The digital classroom could allow students to log into their courses as their time allows. That way, you could insert your education into your routine as it develops. The flexible scheduling could be a great option for students who are earning a degree in conjunction with pursuing professional goals.

It’s important to note that a large portion of masters of accounting curriculum might be easily transferred online. Much of the technology used in the degree program could be made accessible on your home computer. Even though you may be learning from your home office, you could have access the same things you would in the classroom. Additionally, much of the coursework may not need to be specifically adapted to the online format.

Hybrid Masters in Accounting Programs

Hybrid masters in accounting programs combine aspects of both of the above-mentioned formats. Often, the majority of the classes are still conducted online. By doing this, students could continue to enjoy the convenient scheduling inherent in the online format.

Then, students may be required to take part in one of two different campus-based learning opportunities. Many schools require their hybrid students to travel to campus once a month for a lecture type class. These courses are usually held on Saturdays to minimize its effect on your schedule.

Or, schools may request students to take part in week long seminars several times throughout the year. These seminars may cover concentrated coursework that could be effectively taught in the shortened class time. These seminars are usually offered during the summer and winter break periods. By scheduling them then, students may be able to shift their schedule to attend. And, since they’re outside of normal semesters, you might not have additional work on top of these courses.

What Could You Do with a Masters in Accounting Degree?

After earning a masters of accounting degree, you could go on to pursue a career as an accountant. In these positions, you might be responsible for examining financial records and ensuring their accuracy. There are several types of accounting positions you could pursue as part of this industry. A few examples are provided below.

  • Public Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Government Accountant

As part of these positions, you may be tasked with completing the following.

  • Ensure finances comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute and pay taxes
  • Assess current financial operations
  • Suggest enhancements to current accounting procedures
  • Research ways to reduce costsii

Entry-level accounting roles typically require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Though additional certifications may be required to become a certified public accountant (CPA).iii Keep in mind that many masters in accounting programs help students work towards the credits need for the CPA exam.

In terms of compensation, accountants made a median salary of $68,150 in 2016. And, the amount of available accounting positions are on the rise. These positions are expected to grow by 11% from 2014 to 2024. That is faster than the national average.iv

Finding a Perfect Masters in Accounting Program

Hopefully this information has helped you determine what could go into a perfect masters in accounting program for you. Using that knowledge, browse the programs provided on this page. Or, you could refine this list by selecting your preferred program type using the menus on this page. This might provide you with a list of programs that meet your personal academic criteria.

Clicking a link provides you with a short description about the program. While on this page, you could also request more information from the school itself. You could learn more details like admissions deadlines, course descriptions, and more. This might also be a great way to start talking with an admissions representative from your potential school.

Good luck finding a perfect masters degree in accounting program!


[i] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-2 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-2 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-4 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-1

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