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What Is an MBA in Accounting?

Does tax season come to mind when you think about accounting? It may be time to take another look. The accounting profession includes diverse career paths across the business sector.

La Salle University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in accounting that emphasizes real-world applications. Students can earn their degree in as few as 14 months while fulfilling some of the educational requirements for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the widely recognized CPA certification improves one’s job prospects.

What Does Coursework Emphasize?

A traditional MBA builds a broad foundation in accounting, finance, business analytics and marketing. A specialization in accounting adds to that foundation to prepare students for diverse accounting careers, such as in public or corporate accounting, auditing and financial reporting.

At La Salle, for example, coursework emphasizes topics that include:

  • Current accounting topics, such as privacy and security, disaster recovery, anti-fraud and audit resources.
  • Advanced managerial accounting, with a focus on commonly used cost accounting methods, performance management tools and decision-making techniques.

In addition, students take courses in leadership development, information technology, analysis of financial statements and socially responsible decision-making.

Why Earn an MBA in Accounting?

From job security to work-life balance, here are a few advantages of an MBA in accounting:

#1 Job Growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports robust job growth for accountants. Jobs are expected to grow from 1,332,700 in 2014 to 1,475,100 in 2024. That’s an increase of 11 percent, much faster than the average.

#2 Higher Salaries

According to a Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) survey, 25 percent of employers tend to offer higher salaries to MBA graduates with specialized degrees, including accounting.

#3 Career Advancement

An MBA in accounting can lead to high-level careers, such as Chief Financial Officer. BLS reports a median annual wage for chief executives of $181,210, with the top 10 percent earning more than $208,000.

# 4 Job Satisfaction

Accounting ranks in the top ten in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Business Jobs for 2017. Quality of life and job security are two contributing factors. An MBA in accounting can also lead to a career as a Financial Manager, also among the top ten Best Business Jobs. Salary is one reason. BLS reports a median annual wage of $121,750, and more than $208,000 at the top.

Where Do Accountants Work?

Preparing annual tax returns is a common accounting role. But an MBA in accounting can lead to varied careers in diverse environments.

Graduates with an MBA in accounting may initially look to careers in public accounting to meet an experience requirement for CPA licensing. Accountants also work in healthcare organizations and at universities, in law enforcement and at large insurance companies. In fact, accountants work in almost every industry imaginable, including in the following roles:

  • Public accountants, who provide accounting services to corporations, governments, nonprofit organizations and individuals.
  • Management accountants, who prepare internal financial and performance information to manage and run the business or organization.
  • Government accountants, who work for federal, state and local agencies or businesses and organizations that do business with governments.

For those with an analytical mind, an aptitude for mathematics, and an eye for accuracy, accounting may be an excellent career choice. A bachelor’s degree can open the door to an accounting career. However, an MBA in accounting may provide a competitive edge in the job market and lead to higher pay.

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


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Accountants and Auditors

GMAC: 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report

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

NASBA: What Is the Uniform CPA Examination?

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