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Masters in Accounting Degree Requirements

Masters in Accounting Degree Requirements

The Masters in Accounting (MAcc) degree at its most basic is a program that provides the educational requirements for someone who has completed a bachelor's degree to qualify for the Certified Public Accountant examination. Every state requires 150 credit hours of collegiate study, which is roughly thirty credit hours more than is required for a baccalaureate. There is also much to know about accounting before taking that exam, which the MAcc is designed to review as well. Students who did not major in accounting can enroll in a MAcc program, but they will need to meet some academic prerequisites in math, knowledge of accounting tools (software and otherwise) and in the foundations of finance. Many Master of Accounting programs offer a package of prerequisite courses to be completed before commencing the graduate portion of the degree.

Masters in Accounting Basics

These programs are thirty to fifty credit hour commitments, depending on the school. Those that are meant for CPA qualification only can be completed in one year of intensive study, with or without an undergraduate major in accounting - provided the prerequisites are out of the way. Often the academic and credit hour requirements are on a sliding scale: the required courses are based on what has been completed - or is lacking - in undergraduate study. At the graduate level an accounting degree is going to have a substantial number of courses that are business oriented, so schools expect students to have some academic background in business principles and procedures. Typical prerequisite courses are microeconomics or macroeconomics, and an introductory course in finance. Some schools have math requirements that include one college level course in algebra and one in calculus. These courses have more to do with preparing accounting reports than basic accounting practices.

Masters in Accounting Graduate Level Requirements

Some schools expect applicants to have completed or be enrolled in additional basic courses in accounting, auditing, and managerial accounting. Others fold those courses into the graduate curriculum and the course of study expands accordingly. Most MAcc curricula are going to include courses in finance, the preparation of financial statements, one or more courses in auditing, tax accounting, business and accounting law, and ethical issues that surround business and accounting.

There are also courses in accounting specialization contained in most MAcc programs. The auditing courses are one example; most graduate accounting degrees offer courses in forensic accounting, enterprise accounting, working in a global environment, and regulatory or compliance reporting. There are also courses in data management that are critical to advanced accounting today. Classes in management control systems, enterprise management systems, tax research, and financial analysis all are centered on the use of data and the software programs that allow accountants to assemble coherent reports and analyses.

Courses in valuation and performance management are often included for accountants wishing to advance to senior roles in a corporate structure. A good MAcc program may have courses in entrepreneurial finance - that is, finance structures for developing companies. These degrees often bear titles of Master of Accounting & Finance or Master of Accounting Management, and they carry the student well beyond completion of a CPA exam into areas of financial management. Many schools offer a basic MAcc degree and then provide options that allow for specialization in one area of financial management or another. The Master of Accounting can open career paths in several directions, many of them divergent from the established field of public accounting that is the starting point for many accounting professionals.

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