Hi. I have a degree, but would like to get a second degree in accounting.
There seems to be Masters of Accounting degrees and the general Bachelor's
degrees in business concentrating on accounting. Is the Master's degree
actually worth more than the Bachelor's degree? Because I was thinking of
getting the Master's, but I've never seen any accouting job listings asking
for the Master's degree. Do they even care or is it a fluff degree some
schools offer for "professionals"? Any opinions would be greatly
appreciated. Thank you.
*Most* Masters in accounting these days are offered as "tack-ons" to the
end of the Bachelors degree, in order to meet eligibility requirements
(more hours than a 4-year degree normally gets) to sit for the CPA exam.
If your first degree was not business related, you will probably have to
take what are called "stem classes" before enrolling in the courses
which actually count towards the Masters degree, which would make the
thing take almost as long as a second Bachelors, and probably cost a lot
I just finished my BBA in Accounting (and MIS). It is my second
Bachelors degree, and the first one, which I picked up in 1992, was
Employers want to know that you are eligible to sit for the CPA exam,
once you graduate, for a job in public accounting. Check with your state
board of accountancy:
(Click on "site map" and then "Boards of Accountancy")
There's also a chart here which offers a higher-level view of
requirements to sit for the exam, by state:
It doesn't break it down into XYZ number of accounting hours and ABC
number of other business hours, so get that from your state board.
After reviewing that information, THEN take a look at whether a Masters
or Bachelors is the more appealing route, and check with the
universities you are interested in, to see if they'd let you jump right
in, or make you take stem classes (if you are leaning towards the
masters accounting ("MACC") is a degree given mostly to immigrants who
need to get a US accounting degree to get a US job.
american students usually get an MBA degree, which
opens up many more doors than an MACC.
Not sure about the "mostly" above, but that would be believable. The MBA
would still likely be subject to stem courses, so it would put an
American student with a non-business undergrad in the same boat. If
someone (regardless of whether they are a foreign or American student)
just needs the hours to qualify, I'd say pick up the Macc or MPA or
whatever. Save the MBA for down the road when you have more experience
in the business world, and when an employer can pick up the tab (ideally).
Thank you so much for the information. I also have one of those MIS
degrees. But thanks to outsourcing, it's pretty useless. I was wondering
if accounting had the same problems in the public sector. I did not see
many "H1-B" type sponsorship notes in the job listings for accounting
compared to the horrible programmig jobs that are just litterd with them.
Are companies more worried about sending their financial information
MIS should have more use than just IT (which is what I was doing before
I returned to college). Anyhow... by "public sector" I assume you do NOT
mean governmental accounting-related jobs, but rather public
accounting.... public accounting in audit requires a good deal of face
time, which cannot really be done feasibly or affordably through
outsourcing, so it's not likely to be shipped overseas. It's not a
matter of companies not wanting their financial information sent
overseas (it's publicly available if you're publicly traded) so much as
the nature of the work performed. Can't do an inventory
count/obvservation from China :)
On the other hand, anything compliance/form related CAN be shipped
overseas. That's what happened with IT, and is what bites into tax a bit
now, too. Auditing, though, I think is safe.
I see. Thank you Holly. I guess I have to be careful about what area of
accounting I should study. Do you recommend that I should avoid studying
corporate taxation? I thought one of the safety nets for accountants is
doing personal and corporate taxes as a sidejob. But do you recommend
concentrating on audits instead? Your knowledge has helped me a great
As a side job to WHAT? There won't be time for that if you're working
for a firm. Study what you want to do, because you'll be doing a LOT of
it, from the git-go. An undergraduate degree will expose you to more
aspects of accounting than a graduate degree of any kind. There's
governmental/not-for-profit, audit, tax, managerial and forensic, to
Then pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting, how do you get the initial
experience when you are near completing the major? With computer degrees
theses days, new graduates are left out in the cold if they do not have any
experience. Is there a similar sentiment with accountants that do not have
the initial 1-2 years of experience?
It helps to have experience but it's not critical. Many CPA firms and
accounting depts. hire new graduates without experience. But if you're
concerned about that look into internships, part-time/temp work or something
like the VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).
Thank you all. Very good advice for someone just changing fields. So I can
study accounting and volunteer for the experience. Does the volunteer
experience count if you want to get a CPA? I google CPA and it says getting
an accounting degree would satisfy the educational hours needed, but to
become a CPA, you need accounting experience assisting a CPA. So I have to
assist a CPA to get these hours and there is no other way to fulfill the
CPA hours requirement?
Not assist. That word does not work. You have to do the work under
the supervision of a licensed CPA. (The idea is as an employee, but I
understand employee loans have been worked out.) Once upon a time it
meant a complete audit, maybe spreading the tasks over several audits
but still the equivalent of a complete audit. I understand they have
lightened up on that a bit with the substitution of some amount of
review & comp work for audit work. But you still have to do the work
under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA who has a license
authorizing him to do sign an audit report. (I mention this as
California has a two class license system.) The original concept was
of that of the Master - Apprentice.
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