What an Online MBA Accounting Degree Could Do For You

Tablet and paperwork on an accountant's desk

Leading a business demands a balance of big picture thinking and attention to detail, and that's where the MBA Accounting program at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) comes in. Whether you're the CEO of a local company or an ambitious employee climbing the corporate ladder, if you're making strategic business decisions, you want to have all the tools on hand to get it right. After all, it's not just your own fate at stake but the wellbeing of your customers and workers too.

The accounting concentration within SNHU's MBA program is a good choice both for company founders and managers, and also for number crunchers who want to move into management jobs. For executives and senior-level leaders, the program helps develop solid accounting skills in a way that supports strategic thinking. For people already in the accounting profession, it lets them broaden their focus and rise to higher leadership positions.

Dr. Bruce Stetar, executive director of graduate business programs at SNHU's College of Online and Continuing Education, said the value of the degree is reflected in its popularity with students. "Our MBA program continues to be one of the largest and most popular degree programs offered by SNHU because it is providing students today with the skills they will need tomorrow," he said.

Broad and Deep Knowledge

The MBA Accounting program combines a thorough education in the building blocks of a successful business with a deep dive into finance.

The general MBA includes:

  • Big-picture thinking to identify potential areas for business growth and manage internal resources.
  • Personnel management, including team-building, finding employees' strengths, managing conflict and developing a creative culture.
  • Marketing and strategy, with an eye toward finding market opportunities and strategically taking advantage of them.
  • Business ethics, including the need for diversity and cultural awareness, as well as sustainable practices, corporate governance and civic mindedness.
  • Investment decision-making, growth, mergers and the impact of government regulation on business.
  • Operations management, including the use of key performance indicators and the role of technology in improving productivity.

The accounting concentration provides:

  • A firm grounding in accounting theory and practice, including assets and liabilities and methods for measurement and reporting.
  • An understanding of ways of structuring a business, including partnerships, S corporations and standard corporate forms.
  • The skills to manage shareholder equity, tax issues, pensions, leases and other financial responsibilities.

A Take-Away for the Real World

As you move between the courses within the program, you'll have a chance to apply what you're learning to a major project of your own devising, adding in pieces related to marketing, financing and personnel as you take those courses. This could be the concept for reworking a system within your current company or a business plan for a new venture. "This provides students with an environment in which they can actually apply what they learn in the classroom every day - while they are still in the program learning - and to see how all of the various business areas and disciplines come together holistically to produce successful business ideas," Stetar said.

To ensure that the MBA Accounting program leads to a career path with plenty of opportunities, SNHU instructors design each course with input from a team of business leaders to foster the specific qualities that they want to see in their workforces. The value that program graduates bring to a company is much more than just understanding accounting methods or spreadsheets. It's about seeing how all the parts of an organization work together and being able to make them function better.

Finding Time to Learn

Because the SNHU MBA Accounting program is available entirely online, it's a good choice for people with busy lives. Classes can be whenever you have the time, whether that's late at night or in whichever spare moments you can find throughout the day.

Francesse Dorval '15 said that's one reason she decided to pursue her degree at the university. Dorval was working as a government accountant in Boston, and while she loved the field, she dreamed about going back to school so she could advance further in her career. "Between being a super mom, a wife and a full-time worker I never found the time and motivation to make that decision," she said.

When a friend told her that SNHU was a great place for a person who wants an advanced degree but doesn't have time to sit in a classroom, she applied right away. Dorval credits her success in the program to her own hard work, but also to instructors who supported and encouraged her as she worked on projects and case studies, and advised her on potential paths to successful careers in business. She said her advisor also helped her keep moving her education forward.

"She's always available to help me resolve some issues, whether it is academic or not," Dorval said. "As she always said to me, 'Francesse, I am there to help you succeed.'"

Ready, Set, Startup

Of course, the definition of success is different for everyone. You may hope to advance within your current organization or switch paths to another company and climb the corporate ladder there. In either case, there are obvious advantages to having an MBA. The degree can be equally useful if your definition of success is starting a brand new business.

Whether you're on your own or working as a member of a team of founders, the MBA Accounting program offers a way to look at the broad picture before spending the enormous amounts of time and energy that a startup demands. Understanding the process of financing a business and building a customer base can help you take advantages of opportunities and avoid pitfalls in the early stages of getting your company off the ground.

Making it Happen

So, whether you're looking for a leg up on your career or are ready to jump into something brand new, a degree from the SNHU MBA Accounting program can provide the tools to help you succeed. The program offers five graduate terms each year, with admission decisions made on a rolling basis year-round. When you're ready to apply, an admission counselor can help you explore your financial options and complete the application process.

Learning the ropes of business management, with a focus on managing money, will make you an invaluable employee at companies in all sectors of the economy, wherever you are. It will also give you the confidence that you're able to make savvy decisions, whether it's as a manager of a company division or as the founder of your own business. The business world is complicated, but that's exactly why having a combination of financial skills and strategic thinking is more important than ever before.

Find out more about how you can take advantage of the opportunities that are out there right now. Contact an SNHU admission advisor to learn what you can do with an accounting MBA.

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