When choosing a field of study, students want to know that what they learn while pursuing their degree will help them excel in their careers. A master’s in accounting gives students the opportunity to gain core knowledge of business concepts, prepare for certification exams and develop into leaders of the industry. Those wondering if a master’s in accounting is worth it, need to consider how an industry-relevant education opens doors for adept and qualified graduates in numerous business, finance, and accounting career options.
Valuable Courses in a Master’s in Accounting Program
The curriculum offered in a master’s in accounting program translates into real-world job proficiency. The coursework is structured to prepare professionals for industry changes and specialized certifications that will propel them into the forefront of the fields of accounting and finance. Whether students are considering beginning their career in accounting with just a bachelor’s degree or pursuing other possible career directions, the courses available in a master’s in accounting degree help to build strategic analytic and decision making skills that give professionals an edge against the competition.
Career Paths for Accounting Graduates
One of the major reasons that a master’s in accounting is worth it is the broad range of leadership positions graduates have available to them. Accounting is at the heart of all business, so professionals equipped with advanced accounting knowledge and skills have access to a variety of career paths.
Public Accountants and Auditors
Public accountants work for a broad range of organizations, including corporations, individuals and governments, often specializing within a particular field depending on the company or client they work for. Accountants and auditors perform numerous job duties, such as maintaining financial records, calculating taxes owed and preparing timely and accurate tax returns, inspecting accounting systems, and performing audits. Many accountants who are certified public accountants (CPAs) work for accounting firms or are entrepreneurs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors will see a projected employment growth of 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. Additionally, they earned a median annual wage of $69,350 as of May 2017.
Budget analysts are an integral part of the health and growth of a business. Their main responsibility is to advise companies, governments, and other institutions on how to organize their finances. Their role requires working in tandem with project managers to evaluate their budget proposals in terms of accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations. They also prepare annual and specialized reports, calculate the costs and benefits of programs, and recommend funding levels. The BLS reports a 7 percent projected job growth for budget analysts from 2016 to 2026 and a median annual wage of $75,240 as of May 2017.
Financial managers work with top executives in managing the financial health and growth of an organization. They are responsible for preparing financial reports, determining ways to reduce costs, assisting with strategic financial decision making, managing employees, and directing investment activities to benefit the long-term financial goals of an organization. They are required to be experts in their industry in order to give accurate and useful financial direction and to understand the intricacies of all relevant laws and regulations. Financial managers will see a projected 19 percent growth across all industries from 2016 to 2026 according to the BLS. The median annual wage for this position as of May 2017 was $125,080.
Build Expertise with Accounting Certifications
Accounting professionals have the opportunity to become certified in a specialized field of accounting and auditing, giving them an edge in a competitive job market. These certificates from professional societies represent professional competence in a variety of areas.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
The Institute of Management Accountants offers this certificate to those who have completed a bachelor’s degree, worked two years in management accounting, and passed a two-part exam. They must also qualify to meet continuing education requirements and comply with professional conduct standards. Topics covered in the CMA exam include capital structure, risk management, working-capital policy, financial statement analysis, and valuation issues. According to IMA’s 2018 U.S. Salary Survey, professional CMAs earn 47 percent more than those without the CMA or CPA in the U.S.
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
The CIAis offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IAA) for graduates with two years of internal auditing experience. Those who pass the four-part exam have an expert understanding of the International Standards for the Professionals Practice of Internal Auditing and earn $38,000 more annually on average than those without a certification.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Those who have five years of experience auditing information systems and pass the exam offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) can attain this globally recognized certificate. The CISA establishes proficiency and expertise in identifying critical issues and providing value from information systems. CISAs work in several highly sought after domains, including:
Government and Management of IT
- Protection of Information Assets
- Information Systems Operations, Maintenance and Service Management
- Information Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation
- The Process of Auditing Information Systems
Earn your Master’s in Accounting from Maryville
Yes, a master’s in accounting is worth it. Pursuing an advanced degree in accounting gives financial professionals an opportunity to excel in an ever-changing industry. A master’s in accounting degree can also lead the way to enhanced job security, leadership positions, and higher than average salaries than those with bachelor’s degrees.
At Maryville University, we offer an outcomes-focused Master of Science in Accounting 100% online. We recently updated our curriculum to align with the upcoming changes in the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (CPA Exam), which takes effect in 2024, so you can prepare for the future of this growing field. We also offer three specializations, so you can choose a track that fits your professional goals and interests: Business Analysis and Reporting, Information Systems and Controls (coming Spring 2023), or Tax Compliance and Planning (coming in Fall 2023).
If you’re interested in the rewarding career opportunities that a master’s in accounting makes available, learn more about Maryville University’s online Master’s in Accounting program.