Masters in Accounting | Top Universities (2019)

Do terms like taxation, financial reporting or auditing interest you? Looking forward to a fulfilling career in Accountancy? A Masters in Accounting will help you explore the concepts of accountancy in depth. It is said that the employment rate of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from the year 2016 to 2026. Read more to know about top universities, program eligibility. skills required and the career prospects in this domain.

All About Accounting

The term accounting refers to the recording of financial transactions. It also comprises storing financial data, sorting the data, retrieving and summarizing the financial data along with presenting the results in different reports or analyses for an organization.

It is a field of study and a profession dedicated to people who carry out these tasks. It is the systematic and comprehensive recording of all sorts of financial data and transactions that pertains to a business.

These transactions are usually reported to oversight enterprises, tax regulators or tax collection professionals. The financial statements which talk about the operations of a company, the financial position, and the cash flow over a long time can be considered as the summary of thousands of transactions that happened in an organization.

Importance of Accounting

Accounting is fundamental to record financial transactions in a business. Without the accounting data, you cannot showcase the financial health of your business to the company stakeholders. Accounting plays an integral role in various aspects and plays a crucial role in preparing the compiled financial statements.

Planning future, investments, savings goals, analyze the financial data, debt control, and profitability are some of the few concepts that pertain to financial planning. You need to use your accounting skills every time you sit down and think about how to manage your money.

Accounting offers quantified information of financial nature to varied stakeholders who make use of this information to take the significant economic decision. These stakeholders comprise of investors, government officials, financiers, suppliers, regulators, etc. Business accounting helps in making several short terms and long term business decisions that help an enterprise to develop and stay ahead in competition in the market.

A business accounting system generates three significant statements:

Profit & Loss Account (Income Statement): The income statement talks about the net income that is generated or the net loss that is incurred by an organization during a particular accounting period.

Balance Sheet or Statement of financial position: This statement shows the economic area of a business on a particular date. The closing balance of different assets and liabilities are also reported in the balance sheet. The excess of the assets over the liabilities is the capital amount.

Cash Flow Statement: This shows how differences in the balance sheet and income statement can affect the cash and cash equivalents. Usually, the report indicates the cash inflows and outflows among operations, investments, and financial activities of an organization.

The term accounting refers to the recording of financial transactions. It also comprises storing financial data, sorting the data, retrieving and summarizing the financial data along with presenting the results in different reports or analyses for an organization. It is a field of study and a profession dedicated to people who carry out these tasks. It is the systematic and comprehensive recording of all sorts of financial data and transactions that pertains to a business.

These transactions are usually reported to oversight enterprises, tax regulators or tax collection professionals. The financial statements which talk about the operations of a company, the financial position, and the cash flow over a long time can be considered as the summary of thousands of transactions that happened in an organization.

Importance of Accounting

Accounting is fundamental to record financial transactions in a business. Without the accounting data, you cannot showcase the financial health of your business to the company stakeholders. Accounting plays an integral role in various aspects and plays a crucial role in preparing the compiled financial statements.

Planning future, investments, savings goals, analyze the financial data, debt control, and profitability are some of the few concepts that pertain to financial planning. You need to use your accounting skills every time you sit down and think about how to manage your money.

Accounting offers quantified information of financial nature to varied stakeholders who make use of this information to take the major economic decision. These stakeholders comprise of investors, government officials, financiers, suppliers, regulators, etc. Business accounting helps in making a number of short term and long term business decisions that help an enterprise to develop and stay ahead in competition in the market.

Different Branches of Accounting

The different branches of accounting are as follows

Financial accounting: Financial accounting talks about recording and categorizing business transactions. It also involves preparing and presenting financial statements which can be used by internal and external users in an organization. When financial statements are prepared, stringent compliance with generally accepted accounting principles or GAAP is usually practiced. Financial accounting essentially involves the processing of historical data.

Auditing: External auditing talks about analyzing financial statements by a body or an enterprise with the intention of putting forward opinion as to the fairness of presentation and compliance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Internal auditing concentrates on assessing the competence of a company’s internal control structure by testing the division of duties, policies and procedures, the degrees of authorization, and other controls that are imposed by the management.

Cost Accounting: Often regarded as the subset of management accounting, cost accounting talks about the recording, presentation, and analysis of all sorts of costs pertaining to a business. Cost accounting is very helpful in manufacturing businesses since they have the most complicated costing process. Cost accountants also analyze actual and standard costs to help managers in determining the future courses of action regarding the company’s operations.

Tax Accounting: Tax accounting helps clients follow set rules set that are imposed by the tax authorities. This includes tax planning and also the preparation of tax returns. Tax accounting also involves the determination of income tax and other sorts of taxes along with tax advisory services like minimizing taxes legally, evaluating the consequences of tax decisions, and other tax-related matters.

Managerial accounting: Managerial or management accounting stresses on offering information for use by the internal users and also the management. This branch trades with the needs of the management more than the strict compliance that has accepted accounting principles.

Fiduciary Accounting: Fiduciary accounting comprises handling the accounts managed by a professional entrusted with the supervision and management of the property. Examples of fiduciary accounting include trust accounting, receivership, and estate accounting.

Accounting Information Systems: Accounting information systems (AIS) talks about the development, installation, implementation, and monitoring of the accounting procedures and systems used in the accounting method. This also includes the employment of business forms, accounting personnel direction, and software management.

Forensic accounting: Forensic accounting usually comprises of court and litigation cases, fraud investigation, resolution of claims and dispute, and certain other areas which involve legal matters. This is one of the popular trends in accounting today.

Role of an Accountant

In different types of businesses, an accountant works on financial duties that are related to the collection, accuracy, recording, analysis, and presentation of an organization or a company’s financial operations. The job role may comprise primarily financial data collection, along with data entry and report generation.

Middle to larger-scale companies may utilize an accountant as an adviser and also as a financial interpreter. These professionals may present the company’s financial data to people within the organization or even outside the organization.

Usually, the accountant can also deal with third parties or independent bodies like vendors, customers, and the management body of financial businesses. An accountant is also entrusted with the responsibility of summarising the current financial status by collecting information from the business, profit, and loss statement, prepare the balance sheet, along with other financial reports.

They are responsible for substantiating financial transactions by reviewing documents related to finance. They also maintain accounting controls by preparing and supporting policies and procedures.

Be it a small scale enterprise or a large scale organization; an accountant is expected to communicate effectively in updating the financial status of the organization. They are also supposed to achieve the specific performance parameters mentioned and also work with accuracy at the same time. The accounts of a business must have low error rates and also establish meaningful customer service goals.

Prerequisites for an MS in Accounting

The requirements for an MS in Accounting are as follows:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in accounting or other relevant fields and GMAT general scores
  • GRE and GMAT scores are usually required for MS in Accounting for countries like the US and Canada. Whereas, for other countries like UK, Australia, Sweden, Germany GRE, and GMAT scores are not mandatory
  • SOP (Statement of Purpose)LOR (Letter of Recommendation) (2-3)
  • Resume
  • Academic transcripts
  • Language proficiency tests like IELTS (6.5-7) and TOEFL (90+) are also required for admission
  • Some universities also prefer work experience. You need to check the university website for complete details

Value of an MS in Accounting

A master’s degree in accounting is worth the time. It can boost your profile and help you to get to a higher-level position in sectors like banking, taxation, insurance, or any business that has a financial division. You will have a profound understanding of the superior analytical skills, strengthen your knowledge of accounting principles and also learn the latest technology that can be used to carry out day to day function in the accounting domain.

It can also be an important step toward certification as a public accountant. Also, the job prospects and salary growth increases to a considerable extent as you opt for an MS in accounting.

Duration of an MS in Accounting

Masters in Accounting programs usually last one or two years. In either case, students are expected to complete 30 to 36 credit or semester hours in order to qualify for their degree.

Top universities for an MS in Accounting

US

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Texas-Austin
  • University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
  • The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross)
  • Stanford University
  • Brigham Young (Marriott School of Business)
  • The University of Southern California (Marshall
  • New York University (Stern)
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

UK

  • University of Bath
  • Loughborough University
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Exeter
  • London South Bank University

Australia

  • The University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales
  • The University of Sydney
  • Monash University
  • Australian National University (ANU)
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Adelaide
  • University of Western Australia

Canada

  • Centennial college
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Seneca College
  • University of Lethbridge
  • Concordia University, Montreal
  • Queen’s University
  • Brock University

Sweden

  • Uppsala University
  • Stockholm School of Economics
  • University of Karlstad
  • Lund University
  • University of Gothenburg

New Zealand

  • Massey Business School
  • The University of Waikato
  • University of Auckland Business School
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • AUT Business School

Singapore

  • James Cook University
  • Singapore Management University

Courses under an MS in Accounting Program

The courses that fall under MS in Accounting program are as follows:

  • Financial Decision Making
  • Applied Statistics for Business Decisions
  • Financial Accounting
  • Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Auditing and Assurance
  • Federal Taxation
  • Contemporary Issues in Accounting
  • Computer-based Information Systems
  • Business Taxation

Difference between MS in Accounting, MS in Finance, MBA, CPA, CMA, and CA

CMA: Certified Management Accountant is a professional certification credential in the management accounting and financial management domain. The certification implies that the person possesses knowledge in the areas of financial planning, financial analysis, financial control, decision support, and professional ethics. It takes somewhat between 6 months to 3 years to complete the course.

CPA: Certified Public Accountant is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking countries. In the United States, CPA is a license which can offer accounting services to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state CPA certification is earned by exam.

Requirements for a CPA license may differ slightly from state to state, but you will need 150 hours of college credits (30 more than a regular bachelor’s degree) and two years of full-time work experience in order to sit for this certification exam.

A certified public accountant can become strategic business advisers and decision-makers. They act as consultants in businesses, which includes taxes and accounting. A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is considered as a financial advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other businesses plan and reach their financial goals.

MBA in Accounting: The Master of Business Administration in Accounting is the usual way to graduate-level business education for accountants. This program requires students to hold a bachelors degree in a related field and can complete the coursework.

Internships are required in this program when compares to the thesis that is required in a masters program. MBA is usually regarded as a practical, professional degree rather than a research degree, and It may take two years to complete an MBA in accounting.

MS in Accounting: The Master’s of Accounting is related to other specialized fields, like Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in Accounting or Master of Professional Accountancy. A specialized graduate degree in accounting comprises of a few courses that can provide a general perspective of the business environment. This will also focus much more narrowly on accounting.

Emphasis is also frequently available to yet further deepen specific areas of accounting knowledge, taxation, reporting, and tax assurance. These degrees will have a deeper and thorough knowledge of accounting practice and theory when compared to MBA counterparts that make them better suited to accountancy work and also get prepared to pursue doctoral coursework.

CA: Chartered accountant (CA) is an international accounting degree awarded to accounting professionals in many countries across the world, apart from the United States. In the United States, the CA designation is equivalent to a certified public accountant (CPA). Both the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Accountant (CA) are credentials which you earn through defined study and also by passing an examination.

The CPA credential is issued solely in the US, and the CA credential is administered and recognized worldwide. Usually, the CPA is easier than CA and takes maximum a year if you are dedicated. CA has three levels of examinations with three years of mandatory internship to be completed in between.

MS in Finance: A Master’s degree in finance is a postgraduate program that prepares graduates for careers in the field of finance. The degree is often known as Master of Finance or Master in Finance. The MSF program usually prepares graduates for careers in corporate finance, investment management, and investment banking.

The core curriculum comprises mainly on managerial finance, investment analysis, and corporate finance. These topics are generally then introduced by other fundamental coursework in economics, managerial accounting, and “quantitative methods.”

Skills required for an MS in Accountant

Key skills for accountants are as follows:

  • self-motivation
  • integrity
  • ability to reflect on one’s own work as well as the wider consequences of financial decisions
  • business acumen and interest
  • organizational skills and ability to manage deadlines
  • team working ability
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • proficiency in IT

Job Prospects of an MS in Accounting

Accounting has always been considered as a reliable professional, and nowadays, every small or large scale businesses require account professionals. According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, out of 565 employers across the world, approximately 45 percent plan to recruit master of accounting graduates this year.

In last year’s survey, only 36 percent of employers planned to hire business school graduates with this degree. This may be a path which is considered as worth pursuing, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of accountant and auditors to grow 10% in the year 2016 till the year 2026.

Earning potential of an MS in Accounting

The median salary for accountants was $68,150 annually in May 2016, which means that half of all accountants earned more than this amount and half earned less. The typical salary falls salary range for an MS in accounting falls between $52,000 to $135,000 yearly. An approximate estimation of yearly salaries for certain job roles are as follows:

  • Staff accountant: $50,500
  • Senior accountant: $66,200
  • Accountant: $51,300
  • Assistant controller: $86,200
  • Senior internal auditor: $74,400
  • Accounting manager: $78,000
  • Financial controller: $81,700
  • CPA: $60,800
  • Chief financial officer: $121,000

Job options for an MS in Accounting

Job options for MS in accounting are as follows:

  • Auditor
  • Information and Technology Accountant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Managerial Accountant
  • Corporate Controller
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Tax examiners and revenue agents
  • Actuary
  • Public accountant
  • Accounting professor

Highest Paying Jobs

One of the highest paying jobs in this domain is the job of a Chief Financial Officer. The average yearly salary of a chief financial officer (CFO) can vary based on certain factors in different businesses. Usually, the median compensation for a CFO in the US in the year 2019 was $371,548 per year, according to Salary.com.

The responsibilities of a CFO varies depending on the company. But there are a few key areas in which CFO’s should be skilled at, which include financial management, business strategy, performance and also risk management.

CFO’s are considered to be good cross-functional leaders, and they help a company make informed financial and business decisions. They usually implement revenue strategies, assess any potential financial risks, and also look for opportunities that can benefit the organization.

Average Salary: $321,645 (per year)

Other high paid accounting jobs include Forensic accountant, Accounting Professor, Information Technology Accountant, Corporate Controller, and Environment Accountant.

Top-paying companies for Accountants

Some of the top-paying companies for an MS in Accounting are as follows:

  • Deloitte
  • PriceWaterhouse Coopers
  • Ernst & Young
  • KPMG
  • Grant Thornton LLP
  • BDO USA LLP
  • Crowe Horwath LLP
  • RSM US LLP
  • Moss Adams LLP
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP help managers in determining the future courses of action regarding the company’s operations.