Why Should I Earn an MBA in Accounting?

Accounting, like every other field, rewards those who have earned higher degrees and mastered the details of the profession. Those who earn an MBA in accounting combine top-notch accounting and business skills, opening the door to leadership, a variety of career opportunities, and better jobs with higher pay.

Accounting is almost always an in-demand profession. No matter what type of business or industry, an organization needs experts to maintain proper financial records and reports. It’s the lifeblood of every organization.

Those who enter an MBA with a concentration in accounting program graduate with a combination of business and accounting skills that gives them an edge on the competition for the best jobs.

Leadership Skills

An MBA can offer students the type of leadership skills needed to excel in the profession. This is especially true of those who want to work with other organizational leaders on matters involving strategy and long-range financial planning.

While a bachelor’s degree can get you into the profession, fewer accounting firms are hiring those without a master’s degree as tax laws increasing in complexity and the business world becomes more global in nature, according to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Scott Moore, Director of Student and Professional Pathways for AICPA, wrote on the AICPA website that an MBA “has a broader business focus that helps later in your career when you are involved in strategic initiatives, management, and in the C-level suite where technical skills are not as important as leadership, management, and vision.”

Most MBA programs in accounting also prepare graduates for the Certified Public Accountant exam. However, it’s important to check the regulations for the state where you plan on becoming a CPA as the rules in every state differ and change frequently.

Career Paths

MBA graduates who specialize in accounting can earn jobs in a wide variety of industries and positions. Some of those include the following:

  • Financial Accounting. Financial accountants prepare reports on business activities, including the reporting of cash flow, balance sheets and income statements. If the company is public, these reports are submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Comptroller. This is one of the top jobs in the accounting field. Comptrollers ensure the accuracy of financial records and compliance with government regulatory standards. They oversee internal and external financial reports and audits. They make recommendations to executives on accounting processes needed.
  • Business Valuation. Accountants in this field handle the valuation of businesses in merger and acquisition deals. They may also work for wealthy individuals on estate planning.
  • Managerial Accounting. In this highly sought area, accountants use financial data to work with an organization’s executives in making data-driven strategic decisions.

Better Pay

Those who earn a master’s degree make annual starting salaries that are 10% to 20% higher than accountants without a graduate degree, according to the AICPA.

According to numbers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants made a mean annual salary of $77,920 in May 2017. The top 10% earned more than $122,000.

In Illinois, the mean annual salary was higher than the national average at $80,050. The top 10% earned almost $125,000.

Accounting is a growing, stable profession. For those who want to work in higher positions within accounting, an MBA with a concentration in accounting could pave the way to where your career to go.

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