Students and professionals who want to enjoy strong job demand in their work as well as a good salary may think about getting a master’s in accounting. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that employment for all business and financial occupations, including accounting, will see an increase of 10% by 2026, which is faster than average compared to other occupations.
With a master’s degree in accounting, you will be able to enjoy many benefits, including these:
#1 Robust Job Demand
Employment for accountants and auditors is expected to increase in the coming years. BLS states there will be an increase in job demand of 10% through 2026, faster than average than for all occupations. Globalization, a stronger economy and a more complex regulatory and tax environment will lead to better demand for auditors and accountants.
Generally, employment growth for accountants is going to be tied to how healthy the US economy is. The last quarter saw GDP growth above 4% and unemployment under 4%. This portends well for the economy as a whole and should lead to more accountants and other business management professionals being hired.
As the economy continues to expand, more accountants and auditors will be required to prepare/examine financial records. Also, as more companies are growing and going public, there will be more need for public accountants to handle all of the financial documentation that is required by the SEC.
The increased rate of globalization of business could lead to more demand for accountants as there will be more services needed regarding international trade and international mergers and acquisitions. See also highest paying careers in accounting to get.
#2 Strong and Rising Salaries
Professionals with a master’s degree in accounting can expect to earn a good salary. BLS reports the median salary for accountants is $69,300, with the top 10% earning more than $122,000 per year. It is likely that people that earn that much have a master’s degree in the field as well as many years of experience.
Median salaries for accountants and auditors in various industries are:
- Finance and insurance: $74,100
- Management of companies and enterprises: $72,100
- Accounting and tax preparation: $69,400
- Government: $67,100
Also, Payscale.com reports the following salaries for workers who have a master’s in accounting:
- Senior accountant: $65,300
- Staff accountant: $50,400
- Accountant: $52,900
- Financial controller: $81,245
- Accounting manager: 477,200
- CPA: $60,100
- Corporate controller: $98,300
- Financial analyst: $62,900
- CFO: $125,900
- Senior financial analyst: $77,600
- Senior auditor: $65,400
- Tax manager: $95,300
- Assistant controller: $80,400
- Auditor: $55,400
- Senior tax accountant: $69,400
- Finance manager: $91,700
- Senior internal auditor: $74,600
Payscale.com reports that if you become a CPA, you can expect an average salary of $63,600. The range is between $45,000 and $100,000.
#3 Different Master’s Programs Offered
- Master of Science: This Accounting master’s degree program generally is suited for the professional with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and wants to work in public accounting.
- Master of Accounting: This master of accounting degree is generally made for the undergraduate who earned a degree in a different field; it also can be suitable for someone without a bachelor’s in accounting who has worked in accounting for several years. Graduates of this program can opt for either public or corporate accounting.
#4 Have a Job Offer Before Graduation
The accounting major leads all other fields of study in the number of students who were offered full time jobs in their field before they graduated, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Many major accounting firms are in need of accountants and auditors these days, and will offer a job before you graduate. Some of these firms may offer to cover the tuition of your master’s degree.
#5 Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
One of the best things about getting a master’s degree in accounting is that you can become a CPA. To qualify to sit for the CPA examination, you need to have 150 hours of accounting education. This is more than a mere bachelor’s degree. It is common for accountants to earn their master’s degree in accounting so that they have enough education to earn their CPA. Once you have your master’s degree, you can sign up to take the CPA exam, which consists of these sections:
- Audit and attestation: Ensures that you are able to do audits, consider evidence and be able to clearly document the entire auditing process.
- Financial accounting and reporting: Examines knowledge of governmental and nonprofit accounting, and also your ability to read and create financial statements.
- Regulations: Focuses on business law as it is relevant to CPAs, and tests your ethics
- Business environment and concepts: Deals with corporate oversight and how well you can work with IT systems
Having your CPA is important for your public accounting career; any accountant who wishes to file a report with the SEC must be a CPA. It also can help your management accounting career to be a CPA. Some of the other advantages of being a CPA are:
- Advance your career. There are certain jobs that only a CPA can do. For example, jobs in technical accounting require you to have a deep knowledge of US GAAP and FASB. CPAs move past the basic functions of accounting and do in depth analysis of financial statements and accounting reports. Many with their CPA eventually become director of accounting; controller, VP of accounting and finance or CFO.
- Increased business acumen. You will become much more knowledgeable about general business practices as well as total quality management, contract law and economics.
- More credibility. Accountants understand that becoming a CPA is tough. In addition to the education requirements and passing the exam, you also usually need to have at least two years of work experience under a CPA.
- Accountants and Auditors. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-6
- Accountant Salary. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Accounting_(MAcc)/Salary/Page-3
- NACE Salary Survey. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.naceweb.org/uploadedfiles/naceweb/research/salary_survey/reports/ss_execsummary_sept2012.pdf