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Online Master’s Degree in Accounting

Accountants are needed in every form of business conducted today. In addition to preparing and examining the financial records of a company, organization, or small business, they must ensure that the records are accurate, and in most cases, help ensure that taxes are prepared and paid on time. Beyond these tasks, accountants are vital for companies to be able to assess their financial standings, and report the information to higher level managers or executives. Because the field is so broad, the numbers of online master’s degrees in accounting are almost limitless. In most cases, an online masters degree in accounting can be completed in two to three years; however, some accelerated programs can be completed in less than two years, but do require a substantial increase in work flow. Another important consideration when selecting an online masters degree in accounting is ensuring the program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business(AACSB), or a similar business accrediting body.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Accounting

Master’s degrees in accounting are designed to provide students with a mastery of all principles required in the field. Rather than focusing on the practice of accounting skills, master’s-level students seek to understand the way modern accounting principles impact the overall success of a business, organization, or corporation. Many accounting master’s degree holders seek management positions within an organization, which requires that they not only record and analyze financial information for the organization they work for, but also report the information to other business managers. Together they develop plans for the cost of doing business, and manage the assets of the company. Some classes you might see in a master’s-level accounting program include:

  • Financial Planning for Accounting Professionals
  • Business Law, Business Ethics, and Public Accounting
  • Current Issues in Accounting
  • Professional Research for Accountants
  • Global Financial Reporting and Analysis

Lastly, one of the most important parts of completing an online master’s degree in accounting is completing the final thesis, or capstone project. In most cases, students must complete a capstone project that allows the student to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in a real-world setting. Professionals already working in the field can demonstrate this being done at their current workplace, or can develop their own unique project like implementing a business plan.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Accounting

While entry-level positions in accounting can usually be obtained with only a bachelor’s degree, accountants possessing a master’s degree in the field can gain entry to management positions, or may have an advantage when it comes to gaining a position with a prestigious or large firm. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions within the field is expected to grow by 16% through the year 2020. Despite the growth, job competition within the field will be immense, which makes individuals holding a master’s degree in accounting more valuable to employees.

In addition to earning an accredited masters degree in accounting, every accountant hoping to file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by law. Combining a CPA with an online masters degree in accounting can also increase an individual’s job prospects in certain situations. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other requirements within the state where you work. According to the BLS, as of 2012, 46 states and the District of Columbia required CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college course work. This is 30 more hours than a typical four-year bachelor’s degree, which also makes an online masters degree in accounting an attractive option for someone hoping to earn their CPA.

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