August 25, 2016
Now more than ever, it's a great time to get a master's in accounting and enter this surprisingly diverse profession.
Today's accountants do much more than count money and balance the books. They help solve white collar crime. They are key players in U.S. healthcare reform. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employs them by the thousands. Accountants are Chief Financial Officers of Fortune 500 companies, comptrollers, and international merger and acquisition experts. They are small (or any size, for that matter) business owners who need the sharp and well-rounded book-keeping skills taught by seasoned faculty. They teach at nearly every college and university.
At their core, accountants are problem solvers, critical thinkers, excellent communicators; objective, methodical, and resourceful. One thing they all have in common is the knowledge that a master's in accounting provides a substantial extra edge in this not-so-conventional career.
Master's degrees in accounting, like those offered at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), are designed for those looking to get ahead as a CPA, corporate accountant, auditor, fraud examiner, financial analyst and so much more. It can be the boost you need to a higher-level position in banking, taxation, insurance or any company with a financial division. With an advanced accounting degree, you'll gain superior analytical skills, deepen your knowledge of accounting principles and learn the latest technology.
Importantly, an MS in Accounting is an important step toward certification as a public accountant (CPA). The CPA exam is the most well-known designation in the accounting profession. While intense, it's worth it. After passing the exam, accountants are able to file reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, making them appreciably more marketable to potential employers.
There is simply no downside to getting your master's degree in accounting. One of the key reasons MS accounting graduates are such attractive new hires is that they enter a job ready roll up their sleeves and get to work.
Committing to a career direction is often a milestone decision in a person's life. You want to be sure your investment in an advanced degree is worth the time, money and energy. Gut instinct is one of your most reliable advisors, but you can assess your own ambition to lead, salary and title goals and a job's flexibility to help you determine if a profession like accounting suits your personality and life's plan. Read on for the many directions an accounting career can take, who's choosing accounting and why, and what it looks like on a day-to-day basis.
SNHU's Master's in Accounting online can help you succeed in higher level accounting and financial management positions, and to prepare you to interact effectively with executive management. This comprehensive program that will deepen your understanding and skills in a range of essential areas, including:
The MS accounting degree from SNHU is ideal for a broad cross-section of students. Recent undergraduates learn alongside working professionals who are seeking professional advancement as well as career-switchers ready to begin again or follow a passion.
Meet one SNHU's MS accounting program student, Shanna Mosby. Mosby worked in the accounting field for over 25 years and obtained a good deal of success with an undergraduate degree in business administration - accounting, as well as an MBA in project management. However, she still wanted more from her career. "The only way to achieve that would be to go back to school and get the credits needed to sit for the CPA exam," said Mosby.
Her success in SNHU's MS accounting program is something she credits to her supportive family and the SNHU staff. "My advisor has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and has aided in every way possible," Mosby said. She will complete her master of accounting degree with the goal of enhancing her career opportunities, but she is also driven by showing her children the importance of finishing what you start and to strive for success in everything they do.
A master's in accounting will prepare you for various certification exams. Taking the exams necessary for certain specializations gives students seeking employment a distinct advantage and brings a lot of credibility to a job candidate.
Many public accounting firms will pay for a review courses for employees they believe in. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is the industry standard. In order to sit for this exam, most states require a total of 150 hours of coursework, which equates to five years of school. Having a master's in accounting reduces the supervised work requirement by up to two years, enabling you to become certified faster.
Other certifications - which also require a certain number of credit hours - include:
A master of accounting degree not only helps students meet the credit requirements for these exams, it familiarizes them with the material on these rigorous tests. None of these exams, of course, are mandatory, but they legitimate one's level of dedication to the trade and offer benefits many can't attain with just a bachelor's degree. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that accountants and auditors with professional certifications tend to be better positioned to succeed.*
In addition to financial success, an advanced degree in accounting can also help you realize a dream. That's what motivated Hassan Aden to enroll in SNHU's master's in accounting program. Aden was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. in May 2001 as a refugee. "I'm now an American citizen, living in Brockton, Massachusetts," said Aden. He and his wife have three young boys under the age of six.
His goal is to become Certified Public Accountant and one day, go back to Somalia to educate Somali people or hold public office to promote good governance and enhance financial institutions of Somalia. He is currently self-employed with nine employees. The online SNHU master's in accounting program enabled this busy dad and business owner to follow his heart.
SNHU doesn't believe in making applicants wait to start their next chapter, that's why acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for each of the five graduate terms. This lets you get started on your dreams sooner rather than later.
You can apply at any time and get a decision soon after submitting all required materials. Simply contact an admission counselor to begin. He or she will explore your financial options with you and walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts. Candidates must also submit a professional resume.
For those interested in further focusing his or her accounting aspirations, SNHU offers three concentrations within the master's in accounting program. Like the master's in accounting, each of these concentration programs help students meet the 150-credit-hour requirement needed to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam in most states, as well as the Certified Management Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner certification exams.
Christie Conticchio was unsure where her MS in Accounting from SNHU would take her. "There were so many various options," she said. "Do I go into taxes? Do I do the books for a company?" She surprised even herself when her accounting education combined with various work experience landed her in a governmental auditing position. Conticchio's degree is being put to use everyday, as she is responsible for providing a clear understanding of the financial statements she reviews. Next, she plans to pursue her CPA.
SNHU recently launched a new concentration focused on management accounting. The concentration is geared toward students interested in working in and leading the accounting division of a business, non-profit or government agency rather than as a CPA. Instead of preparing tax documents, management accountants more often work as controllers to manage an organization's books, including accounts payable and receivable, payroll and more. The concentration courses - Controllership, Government and Non-Profit Accounting and International Accounting - will help you prepare to manage an organization's accounting department and prepare financial statements for senior management. The concentration will also help you prepare to sit for the CMA exam, which is similar to the CPA certification.
Auditors examine financial records and statements to determine the accuracy and validity of information. They check for wrong-doing a fraud. Auditors ensure compliance with tax laws. They work with individuals, companies and government agencies. The demand is great for qualified auditors.
You can capitalize on this growing need by earning an online MS in Accounting with a concentration in Auditing from SNHU. This specialized degree can increase your chances of landing the auditing job you want by learning about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - the federal law that set new or expanded requirements for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms - and what steps companies must take to comply with these requirements. You'll also use the latest technologies to solve common auditing challenges.
With a master's in auditing online, you'll strengthen your ability to succeed in middle and senior management positions and improve your advancement potential by helping corporations meet the demand for greater transparency in financial reporting. You'll also be able to develop growth strategies based on the company's goals.
The master of accounting with a concentration in auditing is a minimum 36-credit degree program designed for accounting professionals and includes courses that meet the International Standards on Auditing.
Yet another direction to take with your accounting career is to investigate fraud. SNHU's online Master's of Science in Accounting online with a concentration in Forensic Accounting teaches you how forensic accounting principles can be applied in complex financial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies and contract disputes. You'll also discover how forensic accounting findings are used in court cases to prosecute white-collar criminals.
This 39-credit-minimum degree program is ideal for students with an undergraduate degree in business or accounting and can be completed in as few as 15 months, letting you enter the exciting world of forensic accounting faster. Graduates go on to evaluate, review and describe financial and business matters in a variety of settings, including accounting firms, insurance companies, law offices and governmental agencies.
SNHU's master's in forensic accounting online meets the 150-credit-hour requirement needed to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam in most states. The program also prepares you for Certified Management Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner certification exams.
Enhance your SNHU online master's in accounting with a concentration in taxation. This comprehensive program introduces you to key concepts, rules and practices in income taxation for individuals, corporations and partnerships, as well as excise tax on estates and goods.
Taught by professional accountants, the MS accounting taxation degree prepares you for a career as a highly skilled accountant. Through practical, interactive course work, you'll gain the analytical and technical skills public and private companies and municipal agencies require of new hires. Long, fulfilling, well-compensated careers as tax specialists are launched from this accredited, affordable online program. Whether you want to work for a public corporation, private firm or governmental agency, you'll gain the business acumen to make a notable impact to succeed in middle and senior management positions.
SNHU's master's in taxation not only helps you meet CPA exam requirements, you'll be prepared for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) professional certification exams.
Eligibility to sit for exams was one of the reasons Lin Zheng chose the SNHU MS in Accounting program. The CPA exam, Zheng said, would help her find a job quickly upon graduating. SNHU also offered her concentrations in fields she was interested in - auditing and taxation. Zheng had no prior background in accounting, but holds four academic degrees between her studies in the United States and her native China. Her ambition and energy recently landed her an internship at a well-known national non-profit organization. Here she will learn how accounting can be used in an altruistic setting.
Accounting is far more than credits and debits. It's also one of the most secure professions you can choose. Not only will there always be a need for accountants, new jobs requiring accounting skills are on the rise.
Contact an SNHU advisor to learn more about this fascinating career track. Don't think you can afford graduate school? Consider this: tuition rates for SNHU's online graduate degree programs are among the lowest in the nation, and a 30 percent tuition discount is available to active-duty servicemembers and their spouses.
Contact SNHU to learn more or to apply today.
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Timothy Woodward grew up in a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in film and writing in California and an MFA in Fiction from SNHU.