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MBA in Accounting Versus a Master of Accounting: Know Your Options for Gaining Business, Accounting, or CPA Skills

Those interested in a business career or accounting career can gain in-demand business, accounting, and financial expertise through one of two Emporia State University programs — depending on their goals.

The online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with Accounting Concentration is an excellent asset for professionals to enhance leadership skills, gain essential business knowledge and acquire advanced accounting expertise to advance their business and accounting management career. This program is accredited by AACSB and is available 100% online, using accelerated 7-week courses taught by highly esteemed faculty members with years of professional experience.

The online Master of Accountancy program is designed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)-preparation program. Students gain the necessary skills and experience to be a CPA through the program’s 15 required hours of accounting courses.

Understanding the Difference Between a CPA and an MBA

A Certified Public Account (CPA) license is a professional designation that requires passing the rigorous CPA exam and fulfilling specific education and experience requirements. CPAs are authorized to perform various accounting services, including auditing, tax preparation, and financial reporting. They work for individuals, businesses, and government entities. Obtaining a CPA license demonstrates a high level of expertise in accounting and provides professionals with enhanced credibility and opportunities for advancement in the accounting field.

A Master of Business Administration is a graduate-level degree that provides a broad understanding of business and management principles. Emporia State University’s MBA with a Concentration in Accounting does not serve as a CPA preparation degree. However, it provides a core business leadership foundation with subjects including financial management, managerial economics, information systems, marketing, and business strategy. Earning this degree signals to employers that candidates have developed a deep understanding of business and management issues, strong leadership skills, and finely tuned critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities. It can open doors to career advancement and higher salaries in finance, consulting, and general management.

Emporia State University’s Master of Accountancy online program does, however, prepare graduates for the CPA exam. Students in this program gain expertise in accounting, tax systems, audits, and more. The program is specifically designed to meet the 150-hour requirement needed to sit for the CPA exam.

Is There a Difference in Earnings?

Comparing CPA versus MBA salaries, there are a few factors to consider. On average, CPAs tend to earn 10% more than non-CPA accounting professionals. In the case of an MBA, earning potential depends on factors such as the institution attended and career choices. As professionals gain experience and practice business management skills, earning potential can increase. Specializing in accounting can increase earning potential further. Those with an MBA in accounting typically enter financial analyst roles, where they are well compensated for providing valuable insights that help businesses and clients make informed investment decisions.

Still, both CPAs and MBA graduates with accounting skills can be confident that their career options are lucrative and well paying.

Become an Accountant or a Corporate Financial Professional

While Emporia State University’s online MBA in Accounting is not a CPA-prep program, it is particularly valuable for those who plan to pursue a career that requires both business and accounting skills. Graduates are prepared to manage financial professionals or make corporate financial decisions. The program provides a powerful combination of comprehensive business knowledge and more accounting-focused courses than other similar MBA programs. Coursework is driven by case studies, allowing students to apply what they learn immediately in their current positions.

The curriculum for the MBA with Accounting Concentration provide students with relevant tools and insights to competently navigate areas of financial management and reporting. Students will study advanced accounting topics such as accounting theory, advanced accounting issues, taxation implications for various types of corporations and fiduciary entities, and tax planning. A choice of electives allows students to home in on areas of specific career interest, including business analytics, accounting information systems, and income taxation of corporations.

Graduates will be able to integrate all aspects of the MBA program studies for a comprehensive understanding of the managerial role in policy formulation and strategic development. This knowledge can make graduates ideal candidates for roles including financial manager, revenue manager, budget analyst and auditing manager.

The Master of Accountancy online program is ideal for those hoping to pass the CPA exam or become accountants, Auditors, CPAs. This program focuses on technical accounting skills — including cost behavior, activity-based costing, budgeting, pricing, cost management, and capital investment.

Prepare to Pass the CPA Exam and Reach Higher Levels of Organizational Authority

Becoming a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) involves fulfilling education, experience, and exam requirements, commonly known as the “Three Es.” Aspiring CPA candidates must pass the challenging and esteemed Uniform CPA Examination (CPA Exam) to qualify for a CPA license, the only license available for accounting professionals. The exam contains four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). Given the importance of precision and expertise in accounting, passing each section assures employers that the CPA is highly qualified and can confidently perform the full range of accounting responsibilities.

Students can use the Master of Accountancy program to fulfill the 150-hour requirement to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination and become a licensed CPA. According to the American Institute of CPAs, to obtain a licensed CPA, every jurisdiction that grants licenses mandates a bachelor’s degree plus a minimum of 150 credit hours of coursework. The number of accounting-specific courses required to sit for the exam is specified by each jurisdiction.

Those interested in pursuing a career in the challenging and rewarding fields of business or accounting should consider either an MBA with an Accounting Concentration or a Master of Accounting as an academic gateway, depending on their goals.

Learn more about Emporia State University’s Master of Business Administration with Accounting Concentration online program and Master of Accountancy online program.

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