Job Options With an MBA in Accounting

Increasingly, business schools are offering specialized Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. And a 2017 Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) Corporate Recruiters Survey suggests that a specialized MBA may be a smart choice.

For those who love numbers, for example, a Master of Business Administration in accounting can pave the way to positions with higher salaries than for those with a general MBA.

La Salle University offers an MBA in accounting that students can earn in as few as 14 months. Specialized coursework helps students prepare for careers in auditing, financial reporting, public or corporate accounting, and more. This program also helps students fulfill some of the education requirements for Certified Public Accounting (CPA) licensure.

Can an MBA in Accounting Improve Job Prospects?

Earning an MBA with a specialization can give graduates a competitive edge. According to the GMAC survey, nearly 90 percent of employers expect to hire MBAs. Those with specialized degrees, such as accounting, may receive higher starting salaries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reinforces the value of an MBA in accounting. Employment of accountants is expected to grow 10 percent through 2026, faster than the average across all occupations. BLS also reports that accounting is among business occupations in which having a master's can lead to higher pay. The top 10 percent of accountants earn more than $122,220 per year.

What Are Some Career Options for MBAs in Accounting?

When it comes to accounting, people often think of bookkeeping. But an MBA in accounting can lead to wide-ranging careers.

Forensic accounting might appeal to those who want to work with law enforcement to solve financial crimes. Securities fraud is one example. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, FBI agents in managerial positions can earn a base salary of $84,697 to $129,517 per year. Forensic accountants also work in litigation to calculate damages in insurance cases.

Additional careers for MBAs in accounting include:

Public Accountant: Public accountants may work for CPA firms or have their own businesses. Accountants are known for being busy at tax time. They may also, for example, audit a company's financial statements to provide the public with accurate information for investment purposes. According to Payscale data from June 2018, CPAs with MBAs in Accounting earn a median salary of $77,432.

Financial Controller: Financial controllers manage a company's accounting operations and financial reporting. Activities may include preparing budgets, producing financial reports, and ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations. According to PayScale, financial controllers earn a median annual salary of $79,935.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO): With a median salary of around $310,000 (, this position offers high earning potential. A company or organization's CFO ensures that a company's day-to-day financial records are solid and oversees the financing of the business and its enterprise risk. A CFO also ensures that senior management has the data they need for tactical and strategic decision-making.

Accounting Professor: Those who enjoy teaching might consider a career in higher education; an MBA can be the first step toward this goal, though a Ph.D. may be required. In addition to teaching various classes, accounting professors may advise students, conduct research and oversee internships. Based on a 2016 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) salary survey, accounting professors earn an average of $172,100 a year.

Accounting ranks in the top 10 business jobs, according to a U.S. News & World Report Best Business Jobs for 2017 list. High scores for future growth and work/life balance are contributing factors. Many employers prefer to hire accountants with advanced degrees. An MBA in accounting can increase job prospects, while also helping graduates meet the requirements for CPA certification.

Learn more about the La Salle online MBA in Accounting program.


GMAC: Does It Pay to Get a Specialized MBA Degree?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pay for Accountants and Auditors Chief Financial Officer Salaries

Houston Chronicle: Wages for an FBI Agent

PayScale: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Accounting & Finance Degree Average Salary Top Paying Accounting Jobs for 2016

AACSB: 2016-17 Global Salary Survey Report

U.S. News & World Report: Best Business Jobs

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