Why Consider an MBA in Accounting?

Are you interested in pursuing a lucrative, challenging, recession-resistant and stimulating career? If you have organizational and mathematical aptitudes, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting can open career doors for you in personal, corporate and forensic accounting across economic sectors.

The online MBA with an Accounting Concentration program from Eastern Washington University (EWU) focuses on essential skills in financial statement analysis, advanced cost accounting, global accounting and more. Students learn to analyze and manage costs, identify opportunities for business process improvement and measure performance with techniques applicable across a broad spectrum of industries.

The curriculum of traditional MBA and accounting specialization courses enables graduates to provide accounting expertise to their employers while facilitating collaboration between business departments. Graduates are prepared to hit the ground running in roles that may include accountant, CPA, controller, budget analyst and financial manager.

Job Outlook and Compensation

Professionals with an MBA in accounting earn an average salary of $93,000 a year as of July 2021, according to PayScale. With experience, they may work in positions such as financial controller or chief financial officer.

Graduates who complete EWU’s online Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) or the dual MBA and MPAcc will be better prepared for advanced accounting roles.

According to Accounting Today, entry-level CPAs on the high end earn about $68,500 at large firms. At the junior level, that figure rises to $88,000, and at the 4- to 6-year senior level, it rises to $110,000. Managers and directors with seven years of experience typically earn up to $150,000 or more.

Globalization, a growing economy and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to continue pushing strong demand for accountants and auditors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, an employment change of 61,700 new jobs is expected between the years 2019 and 2029.

What Is a CPA and What Is Required to Attain Certification?

Certified public accountants provide expertise and guidance in financial and taxation matters to both individual and business clients. In addition, they may perform audits, investigate fraud or conduct business valuations, among other functions.

The extensive training required to achieve certification and the higher code of ethics of a CPA place them in higher standing than an accountant in the esteem of clients. CPAs with additional business school training are also highly valuable as strategic business advisors and decision-makers within corporate structures because they have strong business acumen and leadership capabilities with high-level accounting skills.

The path to certification as a CPA requires graduate-level accounting coursework. The MBA with an Accounting concentration program enables students with an undergraduate background in accounting to maximize their educational investment by getting the courses needed to sit for the CPA exam.

Certified public accountants are typically required to complete 150 semester hours of postsecondary training. Graduate-level programs offer the technical competence and soft skills required of a CPA, including:

  • mastery of federal, state and local regulations
  • understanding of accounting software and technologies
  • sophisticated approaches to auditing now in use
  • communication and presentation skills

Once the educational threshold is passed, an accountant can begin sitting for the four different certification exams, which they must pass within 18 months. Following the achievement of the designation, CPAs must maintain certification by meeting continued educational requirements.

Other Roles in Accounting

EWU’s post-graduate degree program provides the educational foundation necessary to find success in various roles in diverse industries throughout your career. Here is just a short sampling of the opportunities in this field with median salary ranges for MBA graduates:

Controller: Median Salary Range of $187,840 – $262,167

Develops and leads an organization’s accounting operations, including systems, procedures and policies. The controller is in charge of all analysis and reporting for a business’ financial information. In addition, they are responsible for the overall strategy and direction for a company.

Finance Manager: Median Salary Range of $116,041 – $123,300

These professionals oversee corporate financial departments, including financial analysts and accountants. This role provides strategies for increasing profits and revenues and insights into improving financial practices.

Auditing Manager: Median Salary Range of $113,027 – $150,130

Audit financial and accounting data within a business and provide leadership in the development and administration of audit policies and procedures.

Chief Financial Officer: Median Salary Range of $300,100 – $501,100

CFOs assess the state of finances within a company and ensure the organization’s sound financial decisions. They drive financial strategies and work closely with the C-suite to forecast financial needs.

The Key to a Future in Accounting Leadership

An MBA program trains accounting professionals in the language of business. Graduates of an MBA in accounting are uniquely able to close communication gaps between finance and other functions in order to become the strongest players at the intersection of accounting and business leadership.

Learn more about Eastern Washington University’s online MBA with an Accounting Concentration program.


AccountingToday: How Much Do Accountants Really Earn?

American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants: 150 Hour Requirement for Obtaining a CPA License

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Accountants and Auditors

OnlineMBA: MBA in Accounting Salary and Career Outlook

PayScale: MBA Accounting & Finance Degree

Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Professional Accountants: MBA to CPA: A Recipe for Success

Auditing Manager
Finance Manager with a Master’s Degree or MBA

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