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Benefits of a Masters Degree in Accounting

Written by AnonymousMay 31, 2011

Discussing the Benefits of a Masters Degree in Accounting

The more education you have as an accountant, the better paid you’re likely to be. An accountant with a master’s degree and several years of experience can end up working in management or some other high-level position. These positions usually fetch six-figure salaries, plus benefits.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to qualify for an entry-level position. You could also qualify for some mid-level jobs with an undergraduate degree. However, in most cases, employers want more than just a bachelor’s degree — especially for high-level positions with top firms. A master of accountancy (MAcc) and an MBA with an accounting focus are two of the top degrees employers look for when evaluating candidates.

In addition to higher pay and access to top positions, a master’s degree in accounting offers:

Better preparation for the CPA exam. The MAcc better prepares students for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensing exam. In some states, such as Arkansas, a MAcc or graduate degree in business with an accounting focus are strongly recommended to prepare for the exam. Why? Some undergraduate programs don’t include courses such as governmental/nonprofit accounting. This upper-level course must be completed in order to sit for the exam.

After earning a master’s degree in accounting, you still have to put several years of experience before you can sit for the exam. The exact number of years of experience varies by state, so check with your state board of accountancy for specifics.

Management training. Both the MAcc and MBA prepare students to work in management positions. Companies rarely hire undergraduate degree holders for these positions.

The opportunity to start your own business. An MBA with a focus in accounting teaches you how to start and run a business. An MAcc better prepares students for careers in management but covers topics such as performance measurement and advanced managerial accounting, while an MBA covers topics such as international business and strategic management.

Smooth transition when switching careers. Although it would make the program easier if you had an undergraduate degree in accounting, it’s not always a requirement for acceptance into an MAcc or MBA program with a focus in accounting. So, instead of going back to school to earn a second undergraduate degree in accounting (if this is the career switch you’re interested in), you can sometimes enroll in a master of accountancy or MBA program with a focus in accounting, which usually take no more than two years to complete.