Earning a Master’s degree in Accounting opens up all kinds of exciting career opportunities. It typically takes about a year to earn such a degree, and the work tends to be very intense. A lot is crammed into a short period of time, so it’s important to focus on your courses and to devote plenty of time to your studies. To better prepare for your program, learn about the most important courses that you’re likely to take.

Resource: Top 30 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs

Five crucial courses to complete while pursuing a Master’s in Accounting degree include:

1. Financial Accounting

This type of course takes an in-depth look at various aspects of financial accounting, including the use of accounting models, measurement processes, accounting cycles, financial statements and other data sources. It prepares students to properly interpret various types of financial statements, as different organizations rely on different types. In most cases, students work together as groups to learn crucial aspects of financial accounting, including how to distinguish between and account for current and long-term liabilities.

2. Auditing and Assurance

As the name of the course implies, it revolves primarily around auditing. Most courses of this type examine the practices and principles of both internal and external auditing, as knowledge of both will come in handy across many accounting careers. Topics that are covered may include systems evaluation, risk assessment, forensic accounting and transaction testing. Students are also usually brought up to speed about the legal contexts in which auditing typically occurs, and they learn about contemporary auditing issues as well.

3. Business Taxation

While working toward your master’s in accounting degree, you’re sure to take courses related to business taxation. This type of course examines how taxes affect an organization’s overall financial situation and usually covers common tax planning practices for businesses. Courses of this nature also usually look at how taxes affect different types of businesses, including C corporations, LLCs and partnerships. Many times, these courses look at how various activities affect an organization’s tax situation, including mergers and acquisitions, formation, operation, liquidation and termination. Depending on your career goals, you might elect to take additional courses regarding these very complex topics.

4. Financial Analysis

You will most likely take at least a few financial analysis courses while working toward your master’s degree in accounting. These courses examine how organizations use financial information to develop strategies and to make decisions regarding the direction of their business. A variety of techniques are examined, including trend analysis, common sizing and ratio analysis. You will learn how to take financial data and use it to evaluation the operating performance of various types of businesses as well.

5. Corporate Financial Planning

If you plan to work with corporations instead of individuals, you will likely take several corporate financial planning courses while working toward your master’s in account degree. Courses of this kind teach students how to read and use corporate financial statements based off of various accounting methods. You will learn how to read and understand complex transactions, including how they affect an organization’s overall financial situation. Along the way, these courses explore how companies use financial statements to make risk management decisions. In most cases, they also cover financial reporting and corporate governance issues as well as legal issues regarding corporate financial planning.

Regardless of which program you enroll in, you can expect your Master’s in Accounting degree program to be a very intense experience. The courses outlined above are just examples of the topics that will be covered; they may vary depending on the direction in which you’d like your career to go.

Additional Resource: Top 10 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs