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Masters In Accounting

Exploring the Versatility and Opportunities of a Master's in Accounting

Are you thinking about becoming an accounting consultant, CPA, or auditor? Consider enrolling in a Master's in Accounting program. This advanced degree goes beyond the basics, offering specialized knowledge and skills tailored to the finance and accounting industry.

A Master's in Accounting, also known as MAcc, MSA, or MPAcy, is designed to prepare students for roles like Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These programs typically last around 12 months and provide additional credit hours to meet CPA requirements.

So, if you're looking to explore the world of finance and accounting, a Master's in Accounting could be the perfect next step.

Why choose Masters in Accounting?

Pursuing a Master's in Accounting offers a multitude of advantages that can significantly impact your career trajectory and earning potential. Following are some of the reasons that you can consider as key points before enrolling yourself for the program:

  1. Earnings Advantage: Imagine landing a Tax Manager role with a paycheck of $117,500 or aiming for the top as a CFO with a hefty $140,200 salary. With a Masters in Accounting, these lucrative positions become within reach, giving your finances a serious upgrade.
  2. CPA Fast-Track Advantage: Dreaming of becoming a CPA? A Masters in Accounting can fast-track your journey by ticking off those 150 credit hours needed for the CPA exam. Plus, the advanced coursework prepares you to tackle that daunting exam with confidence.
  3. Specialized Skills Advantage: A masters in accounting degree allows you to deepen your skill set and pursue specialized opportunities within the accounting field. Specializations like taxation and financial operations enhance your expertise and competitive advantage in the job market
  4. Stand Out in the Job Market: In a crowded job market, a Master's degree can be your golden ticket to standing out. With over 85,000 job postings specifically calling for master-qualified candidates, this credential gives you a competitive edge, especially when aiming for top positions at prestigious firms like the Big Four.
  5. Accelerate Your Career Trajectory: Employers hire candidates with advanced degrees, especially when it comes to snagging those coveted promotions. A Master's in Accounting not only enhances your leadership and communication skills but also diversifies your expertise, making you the prime candidate for career advancement.

Program Structure for Masters in Accounting

Masters in Accounting is a combination of lectures, case studies, seminar classes, and project works. It is a 12-24-month program, and students have to complete 30 to 36 credits to qualify for their degree. The program focuses on explaining the role of accounting and financial management and applying technical and financial accounting skills in an organization.

It describes both qualitative and quantitative business methods and applies methods that are relevant to the workplace. Apart from that, it also gives a brief overview of accounting information system concepts and auditing principles. Master in accounting is focused on advanced-level finance & accounting topics, methods, and theory. The common Coursework for a master in accounting are:

  1. Financial Accounting
  2. Accounting Theory and Application
  3. Auditing
  4. Taxation practices for accountants
  5. Accounting principle
  6. Applied Research
  7. Economics for Business
  8. Managerial Finance
  9. Professional Portfolio

Key Requirements for Masters in Accounting

Embarking on a Master's in Accounting journey requires meeting specific key requirements to ensure a successful academic pursuit and career advancement in the field of accounting. From educational prerequisites to essential skills, understanding the key requirements for enrolling in a Master's in Accounting program is crucial for aspiring accounting professionals. Let's delve into the fundamental criteria and qualifications needed to pursue a Master's in Accounting effectively.

1. Educational Prerequisites

For those considering a Master's in Accounting, having a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution is usually a must. While having a background in accounting is helpful, it's not always required. Degrees in fields like business or finance are also acceptable. Plus, completing courses in subjects like statistics, accounting principles, finance, and pre-calculus is often needed to meet program requirements.

2. Average Age

Average age differs according to the profile of the candidates. Freshly graduated candidates should not be older than 25, while people with job experience should preferably be older than 25. The ideal average age for an MS in Accounting is under 32.


Be prepared for the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), a common requirement for many programs. Most schools look for a score of around 500 or higher as part of the application process. To give yourself the best shot at success, it's advised to start studying at least three months before applying to graduate school. Proper preparation is key to achieving your desired GMAT score and securing admission to your desired program.

4. Minimum GPA

Many programs expect a GPA of around 3.0, though some competitive ones might ask for more. Having a solid GPA is crucial for getting into Masters in Accounting programs—it shows you're academically prepared for the journey ahead.

5. Coursework Requirements

Before enrolling on a Master's in Accounting program, it's important to note that certain core courses are usually required. These often cover topics like Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Intermediate Accounting I and II. If you haven't taken these courses yet, you may need to complete them as prerequisites before starting the program.

Key skills for Masters in Accounting

Mastering key skills is essential for success in the field of accounting, especially when pursuing a Master's in Accounting program. Here are some of the essential skills that aspiring accountants should focus on:

  • Technical Accounting Skills: Mastering the technical side of accounting is paramount for success in your Masters in Accounting program. From understanding financial statements to navigating regulatory standards and accounting software, a solid grasp of concepts like GAAP, financial reporting, tax software, and ERP systems is essential for accounting roles.
  • Analytical Skill: In Masters in Accounting, practical skills take center stage. Whether you're diving into a client's financial records to minimize their tax burden or poring over a massive database to uncover instances of financial misuse, the ability to analyze numbers and figures is key. These hands-on skills are the backbone of your degree, preparing you for real-world challenges and ensuring you're ready to tackle any financial puzzle that comes your way.
  • Organizational Skill: With mountains of financial information to manage, organizational skills are a must for your Masters in Accounting studies. From juggling deadlines to staying on top of tasks, effective organization ensures accuracy and efficiency in your coursework. Embracing tools like calendars and cloud-based software can streamline your workload and keep you on track.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Problem-solving is a constant challenge in accounting. As you pursue your Master's in Accounting, developing your problem-solving skills will prove invaluable. From predicting trends to finding innovative solutions, accountants must navigate complex financial challenges with creativity and precision.
  • Detail Oriented: In the world of accounting, being detail-oriented is crucial, especially when you're studying for your Masters in Accounting. As a future accounting professional, you'll be diving into massive databases, analyzing every tiny detail, and interpreting what it all means. It's all about focusing on those small details to ensure accuracy and precision in your work.
  • Information Technology: In today's digital age, staying on top of technology is crucial, especially in the field of accounting. Here are a few finance-related software programs that every accounting professional should have some basic knowledge about: 
    • MS Access
    • MS Excel
    • Quick Books
  • Interpersonal Communication: Communication skills play a major role in every profession. As an Accountant, you must communicate with clients, other departments, and your colleagues. This communication can be in person, via email, or over the phone, so your written and oral communication must be strong enough to present complex mathematical ideas in an accessible way.

Masters in Accounting: Specializations

Specializing in a specific area of accounting can enhance your expertise and career prospects in the field. Drawing insights from reputable sources, here are some common specializations available for Master's in Accounting programs:

1. Tax Accounting

Tax accounting is focused towards Tax related issues and covers tasks such as local, state and federal tax returns, preparing financial statements, annual tax provision calculation, and tax balance sheet. In this particular specialization, you will learn about the fundamentals of tax accounting, Tax law, tax process and control, federal taxation, business taxation, tax strategy, etc.

2. Forensic Accounting

Forensic Accounting is a mixture of accounting, Research or Investigation, and Law. It covers legal procedure, Investigation, and Law and provides insights on how to manage internal auditing, how to perform fraud examinations, and how to give expert statements. You will get insights into the legal system and learn about the fundamentals of forensic accounting, electronic crime, Insurance claims, Fraud, and bankruptcy.

3. Financial Accounting and Management Accounting

Financial accounting deals with analyzing financial data and accounting information for people who are not part of the organization, but are somehow connected to the organization, such as stockholders, suppliers, Banks, Creditors, and government agencies. In this particular specialization, you will get a detailed overview of financial accounting law, the local and international accounting standards and how to create a financial report for the organization.

4. Economics and Finance

In this specialization, you will learn about quantitative methodology, economic theory, and the international finance market. This specialization will help you can get a job of a financial adviser in banks or Investment firms.

5. Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

Focusing on the field of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), it aims to teach students the art of recognizing and controlling risks in businesses with the goal of refining decision-making actions and safeguarding values. The business students here are trained in techniques for assessing risks, strategies to lessen those risks, and ways to infuse risk management into the core business functions. 

Well, this is not it. Apart from these specializations, there is still a lot to explore and choose from such as financial Management, budget analysis, business management financial reporting, etc.

What are the Career Opportunities after Masters in Accounting?

Upon acquiring a Master's degree in Accounting, the professional horizon broadens significantly. Let's take a look at some typical career opportunities and their associated average salaries.

  1. Financial Analyst: Financial Analysts are professionals tasked with evaluating the monetary health of various enterprises, diving deep into data analysis, and delivering valuable insights that guide investment choices. In terms of earnings, financial analysts can expect an average salary of around $77,280.
  2. Forensic Accountant: Forensic Accountants are skilled professionals of the financial world. They utilize their auditing knowledge to uncover fraudulent operations and offer their specialist viewpoints in legal cases involving financial fraud. The pay for this challenging role is commendable, averaging approximately $80,066 annually.
  3. Managerial Accountant: The role of managerial accountants within corporate structures is significant. Their expertise lies in crafting internal financial reports and making informed company decisions. They further exhibit proficiency in cost evaluation, developing budgets, forecasting financial trends, and ameliorating business processes. Their services command an average compensation of approximately $83,240.
  4. Auditor: Auditors play an indispensable role by validating the correctness of financial statements and ensuring regulatory compliance. Across various facets of our economy, from government to private establishments, these professionals critically evaluate financial soundness and adherence to set guidelines, earning an average salary of $59,244.
  5. Financial Manager: Financial managers are key players in the business landscape. Their role involves running organizations' financial functions smoothly on a daily basis, offering sound financial counsel to clients, and overseeing financial planning strategy. On average, they earn a salary of approximately $97,605 per annum.

Here is a table with common accounting specializations and their corresponding average salaries:

Role Average Salary (USD)
Financial Analyst $ 77,280
Forensic Accountant $ 80,066
Managerial Accountant $ 83,240
Auditor $ 59,244
Financial Manager $ 97,605

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts one of the fastest job growths over the next decade for the profession of accounting. It has predicted that accountants and auditors will be required in the market by a margin of 10.7% from 2014 to 2024. The only requirements for accounting professionals are to master their skills and be well versed in their field of work.

 Masters in Accounting vs. MBA: A Comparative Overview

When considering advanced degrees in the field of business and finance, individuals often weigh the differences between pursuing a Master's in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration (MBA). These two programs offer distinct educational paths, each tailored to specific career goals and aspirations. To help prospective students make informed decisions about their academic pursuits, let's explore the key differences between these two sought-after degrees.

Master's in Accounting MBA in Accounting
Specialized in accounting theories and practical skills Provides a broad overview of business management
Typically completed in 12 to 16 months Generally a 2-year program
Primarily focused on accounting coursework Includes coursework in marketing, economics, and more
Offers specialization in accounting fields Offers a broader skill set with accounting as a focus
Prepares students for roles in accounting Offers diverse career opportunities in various industries

Top Institutions for Masters in Accounting

US News ranked the following institutions as having the top 10 accounting graduate programs in the country based on factors such as recruiter assessment, mean starting salary, employment rates, and student selectivity.

Rank University
1 University of Texas--Austin (McCombs)
2 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Gies)
4 Brigham Young University (Marriott)
5 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor (Ross)
6 University of Chicago (Booth)
7 Indiana University (Kelley)
8 Stanford University
9 University of Southern California (Marshall)
10 Boston College (Carroll)
Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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