Accounting jobs are projected to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026 according to the US News and World Report and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.) The BLS anticipates that 140,300 new accounting and auditing jobs will emerge by 2026. An accounting career is sought after by both students and professionals.
You can begin a career as an accountant with a bachelor’s degree in accounting or an associate degree. The latter acts as a stepping stone since one can work as a junior accountant in the beginning. You can proceed to work as an accountant when you have obtained your bachelor’s degree. Opting for an MBA with a concentration in accounting will give your career a healthy boost.
An online MBA with a concentration in accounting will offer you an exceptional business management background along with the accounting knowledge. This will help you grow into well-paid upper-level management and executive positions.
An MBA degree leads to jobs for multiple industries. An accounting MBA specialization can lead to lucrative career prospects in public, private and government sectors.
What Accountants Do
Accountants prepare and examine financial records and ensure that taxes are paid on time. They review the financial processes and ensure effective organizational performance. Tax season is the busiest time for them.
Top job opportunities for MBAs with an accounting concentration
The job opportunities for an MBA with an accounting concentration fall under two broad categories: business management careers and accounting careers.
1. Business Management Careers
Typical job titles include Management Analyst, Financial Manager, Business Consultant, Revenue Manager, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Business Development Manager and Technical Account Manager.
The BLS shows that jobs for professionals who consult, offer advice and provide analysis of business operations will see a 14% growth by 2024.
2. Accounting Careers
Typical job titles include Accountant, Financial Analyst, Financial Planner, Auditing Manager, Tax Manager, Tax Consultant, Budget Analyst, Tax, Fraud Examiner and International Accountant.
Accountants in these areas conduct a financial analysis for nonprofit and for-profit organizations. They require skills like budget management, analysis forecasting, and auditing financial statements.
The BLS reports that employment opportunities for accountants and auditors are likely to grow by 11% from 2014 to 2024. Let's explore some of the most common categories of accountants.
General accounting roles
Public accountants carry out a wide range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. They can work with enterprises, governments, and individuals. Their work includes preparing tax forms and balance sheet statements. Some specialize as forensic accountants. Their task comprises of investigating financial crimes like securities fraud and misappropriation, bankruptcy and contract disputes. They work with law enforcement agents and lawyers during such investigations.
Management accountants include cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants. Their work includes recording and analyzing the financial data, budgeting and performance assessment. They also assist organizations to plan the cost of operating a business.
Government accountants work for the federal, state, and local governments. They help in the collection of the government revenues.
Accountants who work as internal auditors investigate misappropriation of the enterprise’s funds. They focus on boosting processes for identifying and eliminating waste and fraud.
These accountants work like internal auditors, but they work for an external agency.
The median annual salary for accountants was $69,350 in May 2017. The median salary breakdown by industries was as follows:
• Finance and insurance…………………………………………………………,……$74,140
• Management of companies and enterprises……..…………………..…………..$72,160
• Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services…………….$69,410
More Information About Common MBA Accounting Jobs
Here is some more detailed information about some common jobs for graduates of MBA accounting programs.
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.
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.
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.