Your Complete Guide to

Master’s in Accounting

Online Masters Degree
on February 13, 2024

Why We Love It

  • Excellent Salary
  • Serious Growth Potential
  • Different Career Options
  • Lots of Industry Options

* The Why We Love It section is solely based on the opinion of's Editorial Team. Any salary & growth research or estimates should be referenced further at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at for your specific desired career.

What is a Masters in Accounting?

Accounting is the language of business. The measurement, processing, and communication of financial data are one of the most crucial aspects of any company or corporation. Management, investors, creditors, suppliers, and regulators each must have access to particular economic results of a business, and accountants make this possible.

While the accounting system used today dates all the way back to medieval Europe, today it is made easier (and more complex) by accounting professionals and organizations.

MAcc stands for Master of Accountancy, a graduate degree for professionals who plan to work in the most sought-after accounting jobs. A MAcc could prepare you to take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (CPA Exam) and provide you with a strong knowledge of business principles and accounting applications.

This could be your first step toward a career in public accounting, corporate accounting, or consulting.

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What Can You Do With a Master of Accountancy?

A CPA helps a couple plan for their children’s financial future after they have passed.  An IRS auditor ensures a corporation is paying its fair share of taxes.

A CFO helps a company to become more profitable by playing to its strengths and addressing its weaknesses.  These are all potential futures for someone with an MAcc.  A Master of Accountancy could teach you the language of business to help you ensure financial security for people, organizations, and ultimately yourself.

These are only a few examples.  The possibilities are endless.  You get to choose what you’ll do, and you don’t have to know what that is right now.  A MAcc could give you the tools you need to do a wide variety of jobs, so you’re not committing to a career before you even finish your degree.

Best Programs for Master of Accountancy

Here’s the best part: We’re going to give you the secrets to finding the best programs for adults, programs that could help you get your MAcc degree faster and with as few headaches as possible.

We know planning for college can be confusing, and is dedicated to helping you find the right path for you so that you can complete your degree and start your new career as soon as possible.

Why We Love a MAcc

  1. Excellent salary: MAcc holders are well-paid and can sometimes command a better salary based on their degree alone. Those with a degree in Accounting are equipped with an expert skill set in fields like auditing, taxation, and financial reporting. And luckily, these are some of the most sought-after skills across corporations as well as accounting firms.
  2. Serious growth potential:  Accountants will always be in demand, with plenty of room for advancement. The fact that a master’s in accounting degree can unlock potential career growth and that this growth comes with higher job security and earning potential makes the time and money investment worth it.
  3. Career options:  A MAcc could be your gateway to a wide variety of career paths, not limited to the field of education. Additionally, professionals with a MAcc degree find great opportunities in many other areas as well, such as consulting, investment banking as well as corporate finance positions. This means more opportunities, flexibility to decide which field to take, and being able to explore with few risks.

Online vs. Traditional Campus MAcc Programs

Most people who think about going back to school and getting their MAcc never even get started. Not only are there various entrance hurdles like exams and application fees, but it’s also tough to make school work around your schedule.

Especially if you’re someone with a lot of family and professional commitments, this can be a break or make a decision, considering the tough and competitive job market. Managing family with work is already pretty challenging to add another full-fledged commitment.

That’s not entirely true these days.

With adult-friendly schools, there is really no reason not to go back to school anymore.

What makes a school adult-friendly?  Here are a few key attributes:

  • Adult-friendly schools are totally online.  Online learning is best for busy adults, who have to balance their ongoing education with work, kids, and everything else that comes with being a grownup.  Enrolling in an online MBA program comes with the convenience of being able to manage both professional and personal commitments. It allows you to adjust your academic timetable to suit your way of life, instead of having to do it the other way.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer accelerated programs, with ongoing enrollment.  What’s better than getting your MBA in two years?  Getting it in fourteen months.  And with ongoing enrollment, students do not need to stick to the traditional semesters to jump onto their academic journey. More and more universities offer monthly enrollment options. This means the students can begin their studies as per their schedule and preferences.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer more support than traditional schools.  This includes but is not limited to, career services, making it easier for you to begin your new career.  Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that why you’re going back to school? Online MBA programs come with plenty of resources and support services. These include career guidance and job placement assistance, helping students not just start their professional journey but also succeed in their careers.

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Admissions Requirements for Master of Accountancy

So what do you need to go to grad school?  You need to take the GRE or another entrance exam, right?

Again, not entirely true anymore.

You might be surprised to learn that many adult-friendly schools do not require GRE or entrance exams.  Online MAcc programs generally require only a bachelor’s degree to get started, and there are no application fees to worry about.  You start when you’re ready.

Master of Accountancy Curriculum

A MAcc program will expose you to key aspects of professional accounting, reporting, analytics, tax law, and ethics.  These are important areas of knowledge for any professional working in public accounting, corporate accounting, or consulting.

Furthermore, MAcc programs often offer students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences, such as internships or final projects, which allow them to develop practical skills and gain valuable industry knowledge.

This could prepare you to pursue your Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), or another certification.

What Courses Will I Take in My MAcc Program?

Because professional accounting is a challenging endeavor that requires a broad spectrum of knowledge and financial acumen, the core curriculum of an MAcc program will include a healthy mix of courses designed to build and develop your knowledge and skills in these crucial areas.

Examples include:

  1. Financial Accounting: This would cover income statements, balance sheets, cash flow, and retained earnings, all critical components of a business’s financial information.
  2. Audit Analytics: Analyzing complete sets of data, identifying anomalies, and providing audit evidence are important skills if you want to work as an auditor.
  3. Ethics for Accounting Professionals: Principles such as integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and professional competence are crucial components of the accountant’s Code of Ethics.
  4. Professional Communications: This is designed to strengthen your communication skills, helping you to convey complex financial information in more relatable terms that anyone can understand.
  5. International Accounting: The global business environment of the 21st century often requires specific accounting standards that are relevant both in the US and abroad.
  6. Tax Research: Reading and understanding tax authority is an essential skill for any financial professional.
  7. Data Visualization: This would likely involve interacting with data to find the best way to understand and present data available to you.

Specializations and Concentrations

You could find that a different, related degree is a better fit for your career of choice.  Other master’s degrees in accounting include:

  • Master of Science (MS) in Accounting (MSA): This may simply be a MAcc under a different name, but there could be other differences depending on your school.
  • Master of Professional Accounting (MPA): This is more geared toward accounting for a business or corporation as opposed to serving individuals.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting: Whereas a MAcc might be more specifically suited to a career in accounting, an MBA could give you a broader business skillset useful to other jobs.

Master of Accountancy Program Length

Most MAcc degrees require between 30 and 36 credits to graduate. Normally, a Master of Accountancy program takes one to two years to complete.  An accelerated plan, however, could take less time.  This is where adult-friendly schools really shine.  They know their students have jobs, kids, and other obligations that make a traditional school schedule unrealistic.

MAcc programs that are available online and cater to adult learners are designed to meet the needs of working professionals. These programs provide accelerated paths to earning the degree, flexible scheduling options, and additional support services to help students balance their studies with their personal and professional responsibilities.

The best adult-friendly schools make the process as convenient as possible, and they could get you into the workforce as fast as possible because they know that’s what adults want.

Choosing the Right University or College MAcc Program

Choosing the right school for you can be exciting, but it can also be a hassle.  Tuition costs, application fees, accreditation, enrollment windows, and entrance exams are just some of the variables to consider.

That’s why we created the Smartplan. We want to help people go back to school, to make college more accessible and affordable for everyone.  With our Smartplan, we make it easy for you to start on your path towards your MAcc.  Here are just some of the benefits of your Smartplan:

  • No application fees
  • Accredited colleges and universities
  • No entrance exams or testing
  • Faculty and professors who understand adults
  • Discounts and scholarships available
  • Open enrollment dates

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Best Jobs for Those With a Master of Accountancy

What can you do with a MAcc?  What kind of salary can you expect?  Here are some common careers for MAcc holders, with salary data estimates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA):  You probably know that a CPA is often hired for tax preparation, estate planning, forensic accounting, and a host of other services.  You could make anywhere from $47,970 to $128,970 per year.
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO):  Companies need someone to analyze their financial strengths and weaknesses, track cash flow, and plan for their financial future.  You could make anywhere from $77,040 to well over $208,000 per year.
  • Senior Auditor:  An external auditor looks for errors and/or fraud, while an internal auditor manages risk.  You could make anywhere from $47,970 to $128,970 per year.
  • IRS Auditor:  The government needs people to determine how much tax is owed and to collect that tax.  You could make anywhere from $35,260 to $102,840 per year.
  • Corporate Controller or Financial Manager:  This is someone who creates financial reports, directs investment activities, and plans for the long-term financial goals of their corporation or organization. You could make anywhere from $77,040 to well over $208,000 per year.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite careers, but this degree does provide you with broad skills to work in a variety of positions, as MAcc holders are usually in high demand across many industries.

No matter what career path you want to pursue in accounting and finance, be it tax accountant, financial analyst, forensic accountant, or corporate controller, an MAcc degree can provide you with fundamental knowledge, practical skills, and specialized expertise to help you excel in your desired fields.

Best of all, you could work for a company to gain experience and then go into business for yourself! These are just some of the endless possibilities you can choose from.

Cost and Tuition

Cost and tuition vary from school to school, and you’ll want to speak with each of your prospective schools directly. Fortunately, online schools are generally more affordable than their in-person counterparts. Many colleges that cater to adult learners understand the financial challenges these students face, especially during uncertain economic times and rising inflation.

To ensure that higher education remains affordable and accessible, these colleges offer various financial aid options like scholarships, grants, and loans. Additionally, some colleges provide personalized financial aid resources and support services to help students navigate the complex process of funding their education. You’ll definitely want to speak to a few schools, and can help you with that.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Do I need to know what job I want before I start an MBA program?

A: No!  A MAcc program could prepare you for a wide variety of careers.  You certainly don’t need to know what job you want today.

Q: Will I make more money with a MAcc?

A: That depends on a variety of factors.  But as you can see above in the “Best Jobs for Those With a Master of Business Administration” section, your MBA could mean excellent earning potential.

Q: How long will I be in school?

A: That could depend on you, your current job, and any other obligations you might have.  A MAcc program could take anywhere from one to four years, but our Smartplan is designed to help you find the right degree for you, so you can finish as quickly as possible!

How to save time and money

Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your Master’s in Accounting degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:

Create Your Free SmartPlan

There are many ways to make college affordable and accessible.

That’s why we created a helpful tool called SmartPlan.

It’s free, and helps you find potential ways to save and tons of information about each school you’re considering

Think of it as your “college blueprint”, to help you instantly craft a path to your degree:

  • Which Colleges Match Your Needs
  • Ways You Could Save Time & Money
  • Free Courses You Could Take for Credit
  • Valuable Data and Insights on Each College
  • Detailed Steps You Should Take!

See what’s possible for you and generate a free plan within just a few minutes

Create My SmartPlan

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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