If you have a basic understanding of accounting and would like to kickstart a successful career in the field, a master’s in accounting might just be what you’re looking for. With a master’s in accounting, you open doors to a world of opportunities in the field of accounting and finance. This graduate degree not only enhances your knowledge and skills, but can also boost your career prospects significantly. 

Let’s explore some top reasons why pursuing a master’s in accounting could be a smart move for your career.

Considering Master's in Accounting Degree

In simple terms, accounting degrees are programs that focus on the principles and practices of accounting. These degrees cover concepts like financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and accounting information systems. As a student of this program, you would learn how to prepare and analyze financial records, understand tax laws, and make financial decisions based on data. Accounting degrees are offered at various levels, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
Once you graduate with an accounting degree, you could consider a career as an accountant, auditor, financial analyst, or a tax professional in industries like public accounting, corporate accounting, government, or non-profit organizations.

An advanced degree, a master’s in accounting is a graduate-level program that builds upon the foundational knowledge that you gain with undergraduate accounting or business programs. Offered by reputed colleges like the Regent University and Colorado Technical University, this degree explores advanced accounting topics like financial reporting, taxation, auditing, and forensic accounting, and is designed to enhance your critical thinking abilities and understanding of complex accounting issues. 

A master’s in accounting helps you prepare for professional certifications like the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, which can give your career a significant boost. Some programs also offer specialized tracks in taxation or auditing, which may help you to tailor your studies to your career goals.

While an advanced accounting degree can be pursued by anyone who has a bachelor’s degree and a keen interest in accounting and finance, this program is more suited for certain students. Let’s look at some of them:

  1. Potential Accountants: If you aspire to be a professional accountant, auditor, or a financial analyst, you can benefit greatly from a master’s in accounting. This degree offers the advanced knowledge and skills you would need to excel in these roles and could possibly enhance your job prospects.
  1. CPA Candidates: A master’s in accounting degree is a great fit for those pursuing the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, as it can fulfill the educational requirements needed to sit for the CPA exam in many states. This degree excels in providing the academic depth and breadth required for the exam.
  2. Career Switchers: If you’re someone looking to transition into the field of accounting from a different industry or career path, you could use a master’s in accounting. This program can help you gain the necessary credentials and knowledge to make a successful switch.
  1. Seeking Advancement: Current accounting professionals seeking to advance their careers and take on leadership roles within their organizations could benefit from a master’s in accounting. The advanced knowledge and skills that you will gain could lead to increased responsibilities and higher pay.
  1. Seeking Specialization: Looking to specialize in a specific area of accounting, such as taxation, auditing, or forensic accounting? You should consider enrolling for a master’s in accounting program to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in your chosen field. This will help you enhance your expertise and marketability.

Let’s move on to explore the admission requirements to enroll for this degree.

While the admission requirements of a master’s degree may vary in different institutes, here are some common requirements to enroll for a master’s in accounting program:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: To begin with, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. While a degree in accounting or business is common, most programs accept students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds.

    Related: Accounting: Should I Choose an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree?
  1. Prerequisite Courses: Some programs may require you to attend specific undergraduate courses in accounting, finance, or related fields. If your bachelor’s degree is not in accounting, you may be requested to complete these courses before starting the program.
  1. GPA Requirement: While there is no standard minimum GPA requirement, most programs often require students to attain around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. However, competitive programs might have higher GPA expectations.
  1. GMAT or GRE Scores: Some programs may also need you to submit your scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). There is a high chance that certain schools may waive this requirement for applicants with strong academic or professional backgrounds.
  1. Letters of Recommendation: Typically, you would need to submit letters of recommendation from professors or professional colleagues who can speak to your academic abilities and potential for success in the program.
  1. Statement of Purpose: A standard request by most institutes is a written statement outlining your reasons for pursuing a master’s in accounting and how the program aligns with your career goals.
  1. Resume: A current resume detailing your educational background, work experience, and any relevant skills or certifications may be included.
  1. Interview: While not a mandatory requirement, some programs might request for an interview as part of the admissions process to assess your fit for the program.

Before you zero in on a program, it’s important to check specific application requirements to complete the admission process.

Why Should You Pursue a Master's in Accounting?

One of the most important questions about pursuing an advanced accounting degree – Why should you consider a master’s degree in accounting? The answer is:

  1. Advances Your Career: A master’s in accounting could open doors for career advancement which allow you to qualify for higher-level positions with greater responsibilities and potentially higher salaries.
  1. Makes You Eligible for CPA: Some states require candidates for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam to have completed a certain number of credit hours at the graduate level. A master’s in accounting could fulfill this requirement, making you eligible to pursue the CPA designation.
  1. Offers Specialized Knowledge: The specialized coursework in a master’s in accounting program can provide you with in-depth knowledge and skills in areas such as taxation, auditing, or financial analysis. This could make you a more competitive candidate in the job market.
  1. Professional Network: Graduate programs often provide opportunities to connect with professors, professionals, and alumni in the accounting field, expanding your professional network and potentially leading to job opportunities.
  1. Increased Earning Potential: With a master’s in accounting, you may qualify for higher-paying positions, such as senior accountant, auditor, or financial manager, compared to those with just a bachelor’s degree.
  1. Versatility and Flexibility: The skills and knowledge that you gain with a master’s in accounting program are highly transferable across industries and sectors. This gives you the flexibility to pursue a variety of career paths.
  2. Job Security: With the consistent demand of accounting in various industries and the specialized skill set you earn through a master’s in accounting, you can expect greater job security. You also become a sought after candidate for potential employers across industries.

Related: The Truth About Pursuing Online Programs in Accounting & Related Services

Once you graduate with a master’s in accounting, you open doors to a plethora of career options that might not have been accessible to you only with an undergraduate degree. In the next section, we will look at some of these careers, along with their earning potential.

  1. Certified Public Accountant (CPA): One of the most common career paths for those with a master’s degree in accounting, a CPA provides accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services to individuals, businesses, and government agencies. These professionals are highly respected and can be employed across companies and industries,
  1. Financial Analyst: As a financial analyst, you would get to assess the financial performance of companies and industries for investment purposes. From analyzing financial data and creating financial models, your main aim would be to make recommendations to investors, for them to make smarter business decisions. As per recent data, the average salary of a financial analyst is around $66,149 per year.
  1. Forensic Accountant: Another lucrative career option, a forensic accountant is responsible for investigating financial crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. If you choose to be a forensic accountant, your prime responsibility would be to analyze financial records, prepare reports, and testify in court. A master’s in accounting can help you learn the necessary skills needed for this specialized field. On average, a forensic accountant can potentially earn about $62,754 every year.
  1. Internal Auditor: Typically, as an internal auditor, you would be required to evaluate an organization’s internal controls, processes, and compliance with regulations. You would also be helping organizations improve their efficiency and effectiveness. A master’s degree in accounting could help you prepare for this role by offering a strong understanding of auditing principles. If recent data is anything to go by, the average annual salary of an internal auditor could be around $79,164.
  1. Tax Accountant: Another common career path for students who graduate with a master’s in accounting is becoming a tax accountant. Tax accountants help individuals and businesses prepare and file tax returns, along with offering tax planning advice. With your degree, you would be specializing in tax accounting, so that you could help clients navigate complex tax laws. While the earning potential of a tax accountant may vary as per level of expertise, these professionals earn anywhere around $65,083 on a yearly basis.
  1. Finance Manager: As a finance manager, your prime responsibility would be to oversee the financial health of an organization. A master’s in accounting could qualify you for this leadership role, where you would be creating financial reports, managing investments, and developing strategies to achieve financial goals for the business. If you choose to be a finance manager, you could potentially earn about $132,818 every year.
  1. Corporate Accountant: Responsible for managing the financial records of a company, corporate accountants help organizations prepare financial statements, analyze costs, and ensure compliance with regulations. With a master’s in accounting, you could work in various industries and earn anywhere from $57,198 to $69,196.

Pursuing a master’s in accounting comes with a host of benefits. From building a solid foundation of accounting principles and practices, to acquiring advanced skills that would come in handy when exploring a wide range of career opportunities, this degree is widely popular among students who wish to make a career in accounting and finance. Upon graduation, you could explore lucrative career options like Certified Public Accountant (CPA), financial analyst, forensic accountant, internal auditor, tax accountant, financial manager, or corporate accountant.

The list of benefits doesn’t end here. A master’s in accounting also makes you eligible for the CPA exam, offers specialized knowledge in areas such as taxation or auditing, provides higher earning potential and job security. Overall, as a student, earning a master’s degree in accounting can benefit you in more ways than one.

Is a master's in accounting degree worth it?

Yes, a master’s in accounting degree is considered to be worth it for many reasons. This degree can significantly enhance career prospects, as it often fulfills the educational requirements for the CPA exam and provides specialized knowledge that can lead to higher-paying and more advanced positions in the field. Additionally, the skills and knowledge gained in this program are considered transferable across industries, providing flexibility and job security. While the cost of the degree should be considered, the potential for increased earning potential and career advancement opportunities often outweighs the investment.

How to choose a college to pursue a master’s degree in accounting?

When choosing a college for a master’s degree in accounting, consider several factors:
– Accreditation: Ensure the college is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.
– Curriculum: Look for a program that offers a curriculum aligned with your career goals and interests.
– Faculty: Check the qualifications and experience of the faculty, as they play a crucial role in your education.
– Resources: Consider the resources available, such as libraries, career services, and networking opportunities.
– Location: Decide whether you prefer a campus-based or online program, and consider the location’s impact on your lifestyle and career opportunities.
– Cost: Evaluate the cost of tuition and fees, as well as potential financial aid options.
– Reputation: Research the college’s reputation and success of its graduates in the accounting field.