A future accountant might pursue an advanced degree in the discipline to meet the academic hourly requirements for a certified public accountant (CPA) license and choose to specialize an MBA in Accounting for a variety of reasons. Besides the 150 credit hours of accounting and business course work that is required to get a CPA license, students must also pass a comprehensive exam covering major accounting principles and activities.
The exam consists of four sections, and students who know that they need extra training on a particular subject can specialize in that area during their graduate degree studies. Also, students who have particular career aspirations within the accounting discipline would likely choose to specialize their MBA in Accounting degree if the option was available to them. Here are some popular concentration areas for students who want to specialize their MBA in Accounting degree.
The financial accounting specialization emphasizes the monitoring and analysis of a company’s financial transactions. It includes the study of the proper way to document those transactions according to national generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and international financial reporting standards (IFRS). Students who participate in a program that specializes in this area of accounting learn about the main elements of financial statements like those pertaining to profit and loss, cash flows, the balance sheet and equity changes. Some course topics that would be included in this specialization are financial statement analysis, financial accounting theory and accounting information systems.
Industry employs both internal and external auditors to help ensure that companies’ financial reporting mechanisms meet appropriate standards. An auditing specialization in the accounting field focuses on the processes and methods used to analyze financial statements, records and activities. Auditing is so important to the accounting career field that it is assigned an entire section on the CPA exam, according to Accounting Verse. Companies assign accountants with the requisite knowledge to conduct internal audits of their financial processes before they get audited by external, third party organizations.
While correct reporting of financial information is important to avoid legal penalties and improve transparency among investors, many accountants do much more than compile financial statements to meet external reporting requirements. Business professionals who specialize in managerial accounting analyze financial data and translate it into useful information that can be used for strategic decision making. Some course topics that belong to this accounting specialization area are budgeting and forecasting, decision making in accounting and cost accounting.
The increase in white collar, financial based crimes has made the specialization of forensic accounting very popular within industry, government and academia. Forensic accounting involves the investigation of financial data, processes and practices in support of litigation actions. Accountants who are trained in this specialty use investigative skills and accounting knowledge to uncover money laundering schemes, securities fraud and misappropriation of assets. Forensic accountants work closely with legal teams and government agencies, and they are frequently called upon to testify as expert witnesses for cases that come to trial. Course topics associated with this specialization include fraud examination, accounting IS controls and processes and analysis of U.S. GAAP and IFRS.
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Specializing in an area of accounting gives students expertise that can be very valuable when competing for jobs with peers who obtained only general accounting knowledge. Additionally, a student who decides to specialize an MBA in Accounting degree program typically prepares themselves to gain other specialized certifications like those of Certified Management Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor.