An Introduction to the Accounting Master's Degree

Degree programs in the area of business can be excellent options for upcoming students concerned with obtaining careers that can last a lifetime. Multiple specialty areas in business can be pursued by students enrolled in masters level degree programs, including those that focus on accounting.

The MA in Accounting online is a highly interactive degree program that can teach students skills relevant to financial management in business. Obtaining this degree can help you pursue careers in some of the leading business organizations in the company or even when pursuing your own independent business ventures throughout your career.

Our team of educational experts has put together this guide to assist you with learning more about this degree option and what is included within. As you read through this guide, you should consider whether or not this online program is the right choice for helping you achieve your goals.

Outline of the Accounting Master's Program

The field of accounting consists of many diverse topics related to the financial functioning of businesses varying in nature. When you enroll in an online MA in Accounting, you can choose to pursue a generalized route that include many diverse aspects of this field, or you can choose a specialty to help shift your focus to specific responsibilities. At the onset of your program, you might expect to take courses that can refresh you on topics you may have learned in undergraduate degree programs, or introduce you to topics in accounting that you have not yet covered in your educational experience.

Many online masters programs can take around 2 years to complete at full-time enrollment. There are programs available that offer both longer and shorter programs so that students with diverse needs can take advantage of their convenience. Once enrolled, you can begin taking classes that cover some of the most basic aspects of accounting, then move into more specific or career-focused aspects of professional accounting. A majority of the features included in this online program may be focused on accurate accounting methods, ethics, and federal standards for accounting professionals.

Online MA in Accounting programs may also require you to gain some experience in the field prior to graduating. This experience is typically set up by the student and approved by the school - then completed at various point throughout the program. The requirements for this experience can be different depending on the school you are enrolled in, so always check these requirements prior to enrolling. The combination of online learning and in-person experiences can help shape your expertise in the field prior to graduation. In order to enlighten you on some of the common concentrations of the MA in Accounting program, our team has provided you with some potential specialization options in the list below.

Auditing

Accounting positions in the field can provide a wide range of services to organization in need. Since students in accounting programs can learn so much about analyzing financial documents, positions available in auditing companies can be a great option to consider in your professional career. Choosing this specialization for your degree program can teach you skills relevant for reviewing documents for accuracy, becoming more knowledgeabout on the laws and regulations pertaining to accounting, and familiarizing yourself with the financial forms and documents used by organizations when maintaining their financial records.

Taxation

One of the most important functions of accounting professionals may be preparing documents for yearly tax reporting. There is a wide range of responsibility for accountants responsible for filing these documents, including ensuring that documents are accurate and reported on time. This degree specialization can assist you in finding careers for organizations responsible for turning in yearly financial documents, or even for companies responsible for implementing tax reviews.

Forensic Accounting

Unique degree specializations can also be a way to learn new skills and potentially obtain diverse careers in the field of accounting. One popular degree specialization for upcoming accounting professionals is forensic accounting. In this field, you can learn more about how accounting can be used during court proceedings, when gathering evidence, and methods for reviewing historical financial information for helpful information for law enforcement agencies. This degree specialization could be a great choice for individuals with existing experience in criminal justice or accounting fields.

Learning in the Online Setting

Conveniences provided by technology can be found in nearly all walks of life. Since the internet has grown into such a commodity for the U.S. economy, more and more sectors of the government and society are utilizing its features to make life easier for citizens. The educational systems throughout the country have also utilized some of these online functions in order to help higher education become more obtainable for students with varying lifestyles and time availabilities. If you were to do a search of some of the leading universities in the United States, you may find that online courses and degrees may be offered as a part of their regular offerings.

The online MA in Accounting can be a great resource for students that are currently working daily jobs or even for students that simply prefer more flexibility with their education. Online courses within this program have requirements that are considerate of diverse work schedules and often consist of flexible due dates that you can work around your schedule. All attendance requirements for these programs center around your needs, making online programs a great option for students with the desire to learn at their own pace.

Since this degree program may require a lot of interaction with accounting software and computational functions, the online setting could be the best possible option for students enrolled in it. During their courses, students can log in to view assignments, complete homework, and even communicate with others in the class. Some students prefer online classes to traditional classes because support from instructors and other students can be easily obtained through discussion boards and in-class discussion tools.

Example Courses

The courses you are responsible to take during your degree program can determine how you develop as a professional in the field. The online Master of Arts in Accounting program may consist of courses that can teach you specific skills in financial management, the policies surrounding your work in the field, and the management of accounting professionals in particular branches of business. These skills can help you obtain positions in the field and make positive differences in the organization you choose to work for. Most online degree programs may be responsible for following a certain set of guidelines regarding the courses they present to students. Since the online Master of Arts in Education can lead to licensure, students may also be required to engage in an internship requirement through an institution within their area prior to graduation. Read more into these example courses in order to gain a stronger grasp on what you responsibilities will be in the field.

Managerial Accounting

Students enrolled in accounting programs at the masters level can implement management concepts into their learning in order to potentially qualify for higher tier positions in their field. This course can provide students with the opportunity to learn more about financial decision making and accounting techniques that can contribute to business success from a management perspective. This course can also help students learn more about leading teams of accounting professionals, making relevant suggestions during different scenarios, and providing proper training for new employees in the field.

Financial Accounting and Reporting

At the masters level, students can learn advanced skills in business accounting and financial reporting. Those enrolled in this course can learn how to properly document various business transactions in to a wide array of financial forms and reports. This course may challenge students to scrutinize different financial records to ensure accuracy, as well as follow all federal regulations pertaining to the reporting of financial data.

Advanced Auditing

In this course, students can learn advanced techniques for conducting financial audits on a wide variety of financial documentation. Students enrolled in this course may also have the opportunity to exercise their skills within auditing through course assignments, as well as implement their learning during mock auditing experiences. The goal of this course is to provide students with skills that can assist them obtain and maintain high level auditing positions in the business field.

Career Opportunities with an Accounting MA

Accounting professionals can be valuable aspects of any organization. Businesses all over the U.S. count on financial professionals to ensure that their money is managed accurately, their income is reported annually, and that spending and costs are balanced in order to support financial success. Before you spend time and money on a higher degree program, you should always review the career availabilities and earnings for professionals in your field. Below this section, you can read information provided by our team of experts pertaining to actual salary averages for each of the positions listed. See if any of these options seems like a career you might be interested in pursuing.

  • Financial Managers: $125,080 on average per year (BLS).
  • Personal Financial Advisors: $90,640 on average per year (BLS).
  • Accountants and Auditors: $69,350 on average per year (BLS).

Professional Organizations to Know

At the onset of your career, you may be looking for ways to help you become more acclimated to the professional environment in your field. Organizations in the field of accounting can help support you at the beginning of your career, provide you with resources to help further your education, and introduce you to new programs and policies as they are released for use in the field. One of the best things that you can do for yourself during your career is give yourself access to constant supportive information to help better your career. In order to properly introduce you to some of the perks of becoming a part of this field, our team of experts has listed some of the most popular professional organizations below for you to consider. As you read through the available organizations for you to join, you should consider some of the advantages of being a part of a large group of professionals with similar concerns and interests and how these advantages can support success in your career.

The American Accounting Association

Professionals organizations for accounting professionals can be great supports for upcoming professionals in the field. The American Accounting Association is one of the leading agencies for students of accounting and professionals alike. Through this organization, you can network with other professional accountants in the field, participate in group meetings and presentations conducted throughout the year, and read about new topics that arise in your field. Being a part of this organization could be a great resource for you as you move into positions responsible for maintaining vital financial documentation.

The American Association of Finance and Accounting

Large scale organizations that focus generally on the field of finance can include professionals from a wider variety of positions that the accounting agencies currently available. If you were to join an organization such as the American Association of Finance and Accounting, you could have access to laws and regulations pertaining to the general field of finance, as well as professionals in many different levels of financial positions in businesses all over the country.

The Institute of Management Accountants

Specialized organizations that focus on different aspects of accounting can also be great options for students that have chosen a concentration for their degree program. If you were to choose a management specialization to accompany your accounting degree, organizations such as the Institute of Management Accountants could be your best choice for professional membership agencies. This agency can provide you with support and resources specific to management accountants in the U.S. Helpful tools, publications, and advice can be readily accessible through membership with this organization.