The accounting profession has several academic routes to a challenging and rewarding career. Many working professionals choose to advance their careers by earning a Master of Accounting degree (M.Acc.) or a Master of Business Administration in Accounting (MBA).
The Choice Is Based on Three Factors:
Career Objectives: The MBA option is for candidates who want to become well-rounded business professionals, with versatile accounting skill sets suitable to diverse roles in many organizations. Accounting professionals who choose the corporate training of an MBA often choose this path in order to learn the language of business, close communication gaps between finance and other areas of leadership, and become stronger players in areas of business strategy. Some candidates choose the MBA to expand their business and accounting knowledge while accumulating the required credits to sit for the CPA exam. Professionals who want to change careers and work in accounting often choose a specialized MBA instead of completing more undergraduate work. An MBA enhances a career changer’s professional profile and earnings potential.
Accounting is the core area of study in MAcc programs, many of which offer few business courses outside of accounting. The MAcc programs provide a tight focus on accounting roles, including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), internal and external auditors, and government accountants. Many MAcc candidates choose the degree to help themselves prepare for the CPA exam.
Professional Qualifications: MAcc degree programs do not typically require professional work experience. Accomplishments in the field and clearly articulated career goals are not usually strong factors in admissions decisions. MBA programs usually do emphasize professional experience as part of the admissions process.
Prerequisite Expertise: Most MBA programs do not test for prerequisite accounting knowledge or previous accounting coursework as an admissions requirement. Often, MAcc programs have varying levels of accounting knowledge expectations for candidates. Both types of programs typically require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
A Broad Level MBA with a “Major”
Like a general MBA, an MBA in accounting is a professional graduate degree program that centers on business as the principal area of study. A high-level business curriculum is comprised of core courses in marketing, finance, economics and operations that prepare students for diverse roles in business. These skills are necessary to perform competently in management and executive-level positions and are sought by companies of all sizes. The broad MBA curriculum is just as vital for entrepreneurial-minded candidates who need well-rounded business skills.
The MBA in accounting adds a focused accounting addendum to the core business courses. Much of the coursework in accounting is similar to the MAcc, and programs vary, often in accordance with regional employment needs. The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi online MBA with a Concentration in Accounting includes four accounting concentration courses:
- Taxes & Business Strategy provides a framework to analyze how tax rules affect decision-making. Cases in tax planning reveal how changes in tax rules influence the behavior of various constituents in the broad business and regulatory environment.
- Advanced Auditing & Assurance Services covers fraud and operational auditing, assurance services for IT and e-commerce, auditor ethics, legal liability, and risk assessment.
- Forensic Accounting covers the concepts and skills in forensic accounting investigations, including the use of technological tools, witness interviewing techniques and report writing.
- Oil, Gas & Energy Accounting includes upstream oil and gas operations, successful efforts accounting, international operations, oil and gas taxation, and analysis of oil and gas financial statements.
In any accounting field, continuing education is the key to becoming more knowledgeable and marketable. Whether you are a candidate for an MBA or a MAcc, you can feel confident that either path can help you to enhance your career prospects.