As the brainchild of a former CEO, Capella University has become one of the most well respected online educational institutions for adult learning. Capella today offers 136 specialized areas of study, including an online MBA in accounting. Capella\’s online master\’s of business administration in accounting pairs general business courses such as Applied Managerial Statistics, Leading for Results, and Leading Teams with specialized accounting courses such as Budget Planning and Control, Accounting Information for Decision Making, and Advanced Accounting. All students in the MBA accounting online program are also required to take an accounting capstone course in their final quarter to tie all of their new skills and knowledge together.
An online MBA in accounting is a rigorous two-year graduate program that equips students for top-level jobs at some of the nation’s most prestigious accounting firms, corporations and financial institutions. People who choose this MBA program will take specialized courses in budget planning and control, auditing, measuring and evaluating the financial status of a company or organization, as well as appropriate means of reporting and documenting accounting work. They also typically must complete a capstone project that requires them to apply what they learn to a real-world situation. In an online program, all courses can be accessed from the student’s home computer.
What Does an MBA in Accounting Cover?
An MBA in accounting is often a means of preparing individuals to become certified professional accountants and leaders in other areas of business and finance. Most MBA programs in accounting are two year but some can be accelerated to be completed in less time or stretched out to accommodate working adults. Students typically must complete 59 to 72 credits to finish the program, depending on which specialization they choose. Newly enrolled students in an online MBA accounting program often must take introductory or foundational courses in organizational leadership, management and ethics. They later advance into core courses that focus exclusively on accounting, centering on areas such as planning and control, taxation and sales, and exchanges of property. In addition, students also must complete specialization and elective courses that focus on areas such as auditing, international accounting, financial reporting in capital markets and accounting information systems. The cornerstone of any good MBA program is an accounting research project, an opportunity for students to make discoveries and push the profession forward.
Students enrolled in online accounting MBA programs will be able to complete their courses from the comfort of their own homes, without the hassle of commuting through traffic to classes at a traditional, brick-and-mortar school. And with the wide availability of accredited online MBA accounting programs, you can trust that you are getting a quality education from some of the top accounting professors in the country who not only hold terminal degrees in their field, but also have years of practical work experience to draw from when assembling lectures and assigning projects. Many online MBA accounting programs require students to complete an internship before they graduate or at least offer the option to participate in one for credit. These are valuable opportunities to get the industry experience you need to land an accounting job after you graduate.
Getting Into an Accounting MBA Program
To gain admittance into an accounting MBA program, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, typically with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, though some schools may allow lower ones. Applicants are expected to possess at least basic knowledge of accounting principles. Those who did not receive their bachelor’s degree in business or another related field are required to show accounting competency by successfully passing classes such as:
- Managerial Accounting
- Financial Accounting
- Intermediate Accounting
- Introduction to Taxes
- Introduction to Information Processing
These classes can either be taken before applying for an accounting MBA program or during the first term, depending on the particular school’s guidelines. In addition, some schools require that applicants submit their GMAT scores even if there is no minimum for admission. Most schools will also require letters of recommendation and essays.
Why Should I Get an AACSB Accredited Accounting MBA?
Not all online MBA in accounting programs are created equal. It is important that you choose one accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) to ensure that you are enrolling in a quality program that is readily accepted in the job market. The AASCB is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to advancing quality management education and serves as an accreditor for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting.
Who Should Pursue an Accounting MBA?
The types of people who should consider enrolling in an online accounting MBA program are those who already hold an undergraduate degree and are working in the accounting field. The MBA in accounting online will pave the way for them to move up in their current profession and some MBA programs prefer applicants who have one to two years of experience. Some master’s programs are developed with career changers in mind who wish to transition into accounting from a different field of business or a field completely outside business. You may also wish to choose the accounting specialization when pursuing your MBA because most MBAs are considered generalist in nature and the accounting specialization concentrates your studies on the area you wish to pursue upon graduation. Earning an online MBA accounting degree will equip you with essential skills needed in the business world and make you more marketable to employers. Through a comprehensive selection of courses, you will learn advanced principles of accounting and taxation in complex financial systems to directly apply in positions of accounting management. You will also study auditing and apply class instruction to discover ways of identifying and preventing fraud, embezzlement and financial mismanagement in an organization. An online accounting MBA degree will require you to take elective courses, such as international accounting, which also improve your marketability.
What Jobs Can an Online Accounting MBA Get Me?
- Chief Financial Officer: The goal of this profession is to manage the overall financial risks of a company. CFOs oversee the gathering and groundwork of financial statements and reports, improve and pursue business ventures and observe mergers and acquisitions. A CFO constructs strategies for in-house growth while efficiently controlling the revenue of a corporation. Working alongside a company’s CEO, they put together plans that can maximize the profit margin for a company. CFOs should possess sound managerial skills, strong work ethics and ability to work within a team.
- Auditor: An auditor is expected to go through all of the finances of a company, individual, agency or organization to make certain that they follow tax laws and regulations. Using accounting practices, whether it is record keeping or internal controls, auditors must perform accurately. Auditors take their time to ensure that no mistakes have been made on their end or on the part of the entity they are evaluating. Other duties include estimating assets, examining tax returns, determining tax liability and preparing clean reports of audit results.
- Bookkeeper: Bookkeepers maintain records of financial transactions, verifying and tracking the details. All of this work is organized in journals and/or computer files that can later be accessed. From receipts and invoices, to check stubs and computer printouts, a bookkeeper is responsible for ensuring this information is safeguarded. Further duties include using such tools as a computer or calculator to track information into ledgers. Balancing accounts is another job task, followed by calculating the wages of employees.
Top Earning Industries for Jobs
- Information Technology Services: $97,985-$175,392
- Financial Services: $97,497-$160,334
- Government: $43,615-$61,179
- Accounting/Auditing Firm: $46,745-$60,288
- Construction: $13.72-$20.03 Hourly Rate
- Manufacturing and Distribution: $13.73-$18.57 Hourly Rate
How Do I Find Online Accounting MBA Programs?
You can now search for an accredited online accounting MBA through our schools database. Once there, you’ll be able to search, sort, and compare online MBA programs.
Another good place to find online accounting MBA schools is the AACSB website. If you rest your cursor over the “accreditation” tab, you can then click on “accredited institutions” to browse a complete list of such schools. You even have the option to search schools that hold both business and accounting accreditation through the AACSB. Take a look at these options and investigate which offer all or some of their classes online. MacQuil.com has also compiled a handy top 10 list of online MBA programs that could be useful as a starting point for investigating which of these online programs offer a specialization in accounting. For rankings, check out:
- U.S. News & World Report
- Bloomberg Businessweek
- Financial Times
- The Economist
You can also check out the Web college rankings at the Online Education Database. While the site lists schools rather than individual programs, it’s still a good resource for identifying potential online MBA programs in accounting.
- U.S. News & World Report Best Accounting Programs
- American Accounting Association
- National Association of State Boards of Accountancy