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What Is a Master of Accountancy?

The accounting profession has several academic routes to a challenging and rewarding career. Many professionals in the field of accounting choose to advance their careers by earning a Master of Accountancy degree (MAcc) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Accounting concentration. Emporia State University offers both options in an accelerated, online format that students can complete in as few as 12 months.

What Is the Difference Between a Master of Accountancy and an MBA in Accounting?

Accounting is the core area of study in a Master of Accountancy program, which commonly provides a limited, but tight focus on accounting roles including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), internal and external auditors, and government accountants. Because the program focuses exclusively on accounting, students are able to explore more topical areas within the field and gain deep expertise that is in scarce supply. The job outlook for CPAs and other accounting specialists is strong, with 10 percent projected growth from 2016-2026, faster than the average for all industries.

Many MAcc candidates choose the degree, in part, to help themselves prepare for the CPA exam. The Emporia State Master of Accountancy (MAcc) Online meets the 150-hour requirement to sit for the test.

Coursework in this program includes accounting theory within the context of policy setting and financial reporting regulation, advanced management accounting issues — including cost behavior, activity-based costing, budgeting, pricing, cost management, capital investment, and inventory management — and the linkages between information systems and accounting practice.

The program also includes 15 hours of required electives, including accounting courses in income taxation of corporations and not-for-profit accounting, as well as non-accounting electives in subjects including IT project management and business analytics.

The MBA with an Accounting concentration option is designed for candidates who desire broad-based business management training with versatile accounting skill sets suitable to diverse roles in many organizations.

A high-level business curriculum, such as that in the MBA with Accounting Concentration Online at Emporia State, comprises core courses in marketing, finance, economics, and operations that prepare students for diverse roles in business. These skills are necessary to perform competently in management and executive-level positions and are sought by corporations, smaller companies, and startups.

Some candidates choose the accounting-focused MBA to expand their business and accounting knowledge while accumulating the required credits to sit for the CPA exam. Career changers who would like to work in accounting often choose a specialized MBA over completing more undergraduate work.

Professional Qualifications

MAcc degree programs do not typically require professional work experience. Accomplishments in the field and clearly articulated career goals are not usually strong factors in admissions decisions. MBA programs usually do emphasize professional experience as part of the admissions process. Emporia State does recognize professional experience in its MAcc admissions process by granting a GMAT waiver to applicants with three or more years of significant leadership and management experience.

Prerequisite Expertise

Most MBA programs do not test for prerequisite accounting knowledge or require specific coursework in accounting to have been completed as an admissions requirement. Often, MAcc programs have varying levels of accounting knowledge expectations for candidates. Both types of programs typically require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

In any accounting profession, continuing education is the key to becoming more knowledgeable and marketable. If you are certain that you want to pursue a career in accounting and you would like to use your time in post-graduate education to build broad and deep expertise in this field, a Master of Accountancy may be the right option to meet your objectives.

Learn more about Emporia State University’s online Master of Accountancy program.


U.S. BLS: Occupational Outlook for Accountants and Auditors How to Become an Accountant

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