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Why Earn an Accounting MBA + 5 Online Options


Earning an MBA in accounting will open doors to a multitude of exciting career prospects that will pay you very well for years to come.

The economy is growing, and the tax and regulatory environment is growing more complex each year. For companies to continue to grow and prosper, they rely on skilled accountants and auditors  to prepare and examine their financial records. And, as more companies are going public in a growing economy, there is sure to be more need for public accountants to handle the complex legal financial documents that are required.

Regulatory complexity also has grown in the financial sector since the last recession. This fact will likely continue to increase the demand for accounting services.

Earning an accounting MBA will increase your marketability and put you in line for very well compensated accounting jobs.

Why Earn an Accounting MBA?

An accounting MBA is a very good degree to earn for people who are interested in top level accounting and finance positions in companies in all industries.

Earning this MBA will provide you with vital skills in budget control and planning, auditing, measuring and evaluating the financial strength of a company, and also how to properly report and document the finances of the company.

Also, many students decide to earn their MBA in accounting so that they can eventually sit for the Certified Public Accountant examination. The CPA exam protects the interests of the public by ensuring that only the most qualified accountants become CPAs, which is the only licensed qualificatin in the field.

The CPA exam takes a total of 14 hours, and is extremely rigorous. A good MBA in accounting program can prepare you for this examination. CPAs earn a higher salary than regular accountants, so getting your MBA and CPA designation are good ways to ensure a prosperous career.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into a quality MBA in accounting program, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. You also should have two or three years of accounting work experience.

Exact admission requirements will vary depending upon the university, but you should expect to need the following:

  • All college transcripts
  • 75 GPA or higher
  • Updated resume
  • Three professor/supervisor recommendations
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official results from the GMAT or GRE examination may be required

Curriculum and Courses

All MBA programs will have the same set of core courses that all students are required to take. These classes will be in accounting, finance, marketing, law and ethics, management and leadership, and quality management, among others.

An accounting MBA program will further require you to take several advanced accounting classes. At Rutgers University, accounting MBA students are required to take these classes:

  • Auditing Concepts
  • Income Taxation
  • Intermediate Accounting I
  • Intermediate Accounting II
  • Managerial and Cost Accounting

Also, you will be required to take several electives; at Rutgers, you can choose from these accounting related courses:

  • Accounting for the Digital Age
  • Advanced Accounting Research
  • Advanced Auditing and Accounting Information Systems
  • Advanced Financial Accounting
  • Corporate Income Taxation

This program also requires that students complete a capstone project that allows you to practice the accounting concepts you have learned in a real world business application.

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Career Outcomes and Job Titles

People who earn their MBA in accounting usually transition into accounting and finance management positions in all types of companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Some of the potential job titles you may see with an MBA in accounting include the following:

  • Certified public accountant
  • Senior accountant
  • Auditor
  • Forensic accountant
  • Financial manager
  • Personal financial planner
  • Controller
  • Budget analyst
  • Cost accountant
  • Tax planner
  • Accounts receivable director

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that the majority of accountants work in these general industries:

  • Accounting services for companies: 26%
  • Government agencies: 8%
  • Financial and insurance companies: 8%
  • Company and enterprise management: 7%
  • Manufacturing companies: 6%

Job & Salary Outlook

The job outlook for accountants and auditors generally is strong. BLS states that job growth in these roles will increase by 11% by 2024, which is faster than average when compared to all other US professions.

Experts believe that there will be more demand for accountants and auditors as the US economy grows stronger. Accountants and auditors who have a professional designation, such as CPA, will have the best career prospects.

Scholarships and Grants

There are many online MBA program scholarships available today with a focus on accounting. There also are many scholarships and grants available for students with a strong record of accomplishments in college and in accounting. Keep in mind that some of these are general scholarships and grants, meaning that you can use them at any accredited university. Others are only available for a particular university.

Some of these include the following:

  • American Institute of CPAs: The AICPA has several scholarships available each year for MBA accounting students, including the John L. Carey Scholarship Award; the Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students; and the Two Year Transfer Scholarship Award.
  • University of Colorado – Denver: This university offers numerous scholarships for accounting students at the master’s level: the Ernst & Young Scholarship; the Marjorie Gerhart Smith Scholarship; and the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Scholarship.
  • Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA): This is an organization that specializes in promoting women in accounting and finance careers. It offers several scholarships to accounting students, with the goal of decreasing barriers to women in the accounting and financial professions. The organization offers both undergraduate and graduate level scholarships for accounting and finance students who are women.
  • National Association of Black Accountants (NABA): This association encourages people of color to enter the accounting profession. They offer several scholarships each year to deserved accounting students at the bachelor’s and master’s level. Amounts range from $1500 to $5000.

Additional Resources

For students and professionals who are considering a career in accounting, below are additional accounting resources:

  • The American Accounting Association: Founded in 1916, it features the largest community of accountants in US academia.
  • National Society of Accountants: Provides national accounting industry leadership, and helps members achieve success in the field.
  • Young CPA Resources: If you are a new or potential CPA, you may have questions about the test, how to do well on a job interview, and more. This resource offered by the AICPA can help.
  • AlliantGroup: Financial consulting firm with extensive resources for accountants and CPAs.