What Jobs Can You Get With an MBA in Accounting?

What Jobs Can You Get With an MBA in Accounting?

What jobs can you get with an MBA in Accounting?
What jobs can you get with an MBA in Accounting?

An MBA student needs to consider the return on investment when choosing an area of concentration. General MBA courses can help develop your business skills but selecting the right concentration may boost your career prospects. A traditional or online MBA with a concentration in accounting is a smart bet for the future thanks to the consistent demand for accounting professionals who have a well-rounded understanding of the business landscape.

The average salary for an accountant in the United States in 2018 was $70,500, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With an MBA concentration in accounting, however, you can pursue financial management positions with salaries exceeding $120,000. The BLS estimates that demand for accounting positions will grow about 10% between 2016 and 2026. As you consider an MBA with a concentration in accounting from St. Bonaventure University, it is a good idea to understand the types of jobs you can land with this degree.


A traditional route for accountants is to work for an auditing firm. Major firms like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers along with local and regional firms regularly recruit for MBA holders specializing in accounting to conduct external audits. While an accounting bachelor’s degree is commonly listed as the minimum degree, auditors often hold master’s degrees in accounting or MBAs because they bring well-developed skills to the workplace. You can use your MBA in accounting to move up the ranks from an auditing job to a project or departmental management position.

The work of an auditor is critical to the financial health of a company. Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman notes that an auditor’s primary responsibility is to ensure that a client’s financial documents comply with internal policies, ethical standards, and legal requirements. To achieve this goal, an auditor reviews all available financial documents to find errors or incongruities. An auditing firm conducts interviews with staff members and management to evaluate a company’s accounting practices. Auditors also test internal accounting procedures, use external analytical tools, and synthesize the results into evaluations of clients’ financial practices. An MBA with a concentration in accounting provides the analytical tools and training on ethical standards necessary to become an auditor.

Financial Manager

Accounting graduates can also look into financial management careers once they receive their MBAs. The term financial manager covers multiple job types that focus on improving financial outcomes for companies. According to the BLS, financial managers earned an average salary of $127,990 in 2018 with top salaries exceeding $200,000. The BLS highlights a few examples of financial management positions that are ideal for MBAs with accounting concentrations.

A credit manager evaluates credit lines offered by a company to determine compliance with internal standards including credit and rating limits. Credit managers may also be tasked with overseeing collections on accounts past their due dates. A risk management position is ideal for accounting professionals who want an external-facing position. In risk management, you are tasked with looking at the stock market, currency exchange rates, and market developments to develop protections against losses. Companies also hire staff members with MBAs in accounting to work as insurance managers. In this capacity, you can help your employer find insurance policies that offset financial losses due to lawsuits, recalls, and larger economic changes.

Chief Financial Officer

An accounting professional with extensive experience and growing responsibilities may qualify for chief financial officer (CFO) positions. The CFO of a company is important because they are responsible for constantly evaluating the bottom line. A company relies on the CFO and their staff to track revenues and expenses, accurately file public paperwork, and find tax benefits to improve its financial health. Entrepreneur published an article from Mary Ellen Biery in 2015 that outlined a CFO’s responsibilities.

The primary responsibility of a CFO is maintain a company’s books by overseeing a staff of accountants, controllers, and other financial staff. The CFO may also pursue outside auditing or financial management services to fill in competency gaps. CFOs are also responsible for complying with legal requirements and company standards with every financial decision. From internal controls to tax documentation, a company’s CFO is successful when their work integrates seamlessly with every department’s day-to-day functions.

A CFO is responsible for informing the chief executive officer, the chief operating officer, board members, and shareholders about the company’s financial status. This information may be communicated during executive sessions, board meetings, or annual shareholder events. CFOs also need to develop financial staff members to assume increased responsibilities over time. A successful CFO goes beyond the basics with their direct reports by holding regular reviews of training programs, developing new learning opportunities, and identifying promising professionals who can move up the ladder with guidance. With an MBA in accounting, you can get started down the road to an executive position.

Public Service

An alternative to the private sector is available to anyone interested in keeping tabs on how taxes are collected and spent. Accountants are ideally positioned to serve as controllers or comptrollers for local governments. These public positions may be elected like the New York City Comptroller or appointed like the San Francisco City Controller. No matter the preferred name, the officeholder is responsible for overseeing city payments, conducting audits, and providing financial reports to the public. City controllers and comptrollers require a combination of accounting knowledge, business acumen, and leadership skills made possible by an MBA with a concentration in accounting.

Additional service opportunities await civic-minded MBAs interested in using their accounting skills for the public good. State revenue departments employ accountants to conduct audits and develop financial management systems required by law. City, county, and state departments look for number crunchers to maintain data integrity in departmental finances. An online MBA with a concentration in accounting from St. Bonaventure University covers topics like financial statement analysis and advanced cost accounting invaluable in the public sphere.