Master’s in Accounting Degree | See What to Expect in 2018

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Defining a masters in act

Today’s Master of Science in Accounting degree is designed to provide graduate students with knowledge and tools that can prepare them to excel in the accounting field. From its innovative program design and advanced curriculum to its emphasis on certified public accountant (CPA) exam preparation and flexible online learning options, the New England College (NEC) master’s in accounting degree program is multifaceted.

Forward-Thinking Program Design

The Master of Accounting program at NEC is geared toward preparing accounting students for a rewarding future. The graduate program is designed to equip students with practical knowledge around essential accounting theories and principles while encouraging them to apply standard business practices and adopt innovative tools.

Students focus on mastering the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) framework, which helps prepare them for a promising career in accounting. In this program, students become adept at key skills, such as decision modeling and solution implementation, risk analysis and strategy assessment, and quantitative and qualitative measurement. Students are also exposed to topics in financial reporting and accounting research, strategic thinking and data analysis, and legal and ethical requirements of the accounting world.

In this Master of Science in Accounting program, students can also explore the latest accounting tools and processes while gaining insight into evolving client demands and current trends in the industry. After all, the industry is always changing. Technology has advanced the accounting world substantially and continues to initiate changes around automation, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.

As Ryan Hauber writes for Forbes, “By leveraging technology, CPAs can make an impact on what’s going to happen next year and not just react to what has happened this year. This change in focus will be the differentiator, with less emphasis on compliance support and more value in decision support.” Indeed, businesses are increasingly seeking paperless accounting to improve convenience, fixed fees to add value, and specialized accounting services to meet specific needs. As students complete their Master of Science in Accounting degree, they are better positioned to meet these unique, evolving demands and learn how to exceed the expectations of today’s accounting clients.

Advanced Curriculum

The Master of Science in Accounting degree features an undoubtedly rigorous curriculum. Depending on students’ undergraduate studies, they may need to complete up to three prerequisites before beginning core Master of Science in Accounting courses. Prerequisites may include Business Statistics, which can help students become familiar with the applying statistics in a business context and assessing risk; Financial Accounting, which includes the basics of financial statements and essential accounting concepts; and Managerial Accounting, which centers on assessing business performance from an accounting perspective.

Upon completing the prerequisites, enrolled students can begin the core Master of Science in Accounting coursework. The master’s in accounting program spans 40 credit hours and includes 10 essential classes that cover topics ranging from advanced accounting and auditing to ethical standards and accounting law.

International Accounting

This class studies the international accounting issues that virtually all businesses encounter. It also analyzes auditing procedures, financial reporting concepts, tax and exchange models, legal and ethical issues, and accounting systems for international firms.

Government and Nonprofit Reporting
This course introduces issues related to government and nonprofit accounting and finances, including budgeting, capital, endowments, trustee activities, and revenues and expenditures. It also explores financial reporting and disclosure for nonprofits.

Auditing and Attestation

This class concentrates on the basics of the auditing process and takes into consideration the needs of the typical CPA firm and its clients’ internal processes. It also covers planning and training, auditing various types of organizations, and enterprise risk management.

Intermediate Accounting
This course focuses on high-level accounting topics and offers a complete picture of financial statements. Students can learn about everything from cash flow statements and balance sheets to income statements and ratio analysis while exploring the basics of financial reporting.

Cost Accounting

This class centers on processes and tools for reporting performance-related data to a company’s stakeholders. It focuses on performance improvement and organizational planning while emphasizing budgeting and activity-based costing.

Federal Taxation

This course delves into federal taxation as it applies to individuals and corporations. It examines tax laws and how they impact private, public, and nonprofit entities and stresses developing effective business strategies around tax needs.

Performance and Ethical Standards of the Audit Professional

This class covers the ethical standards for accountants and the related obligations to which professionals in this field must adhere. It also explores key topics such as corporate responsibility, voluntary compliance, and organizational leadership for accounting and auditing professionals.

Accounting for Mergers and Acquisitions

This course analyzes the entire lifecycle of the merger and acquisition process, along with key accounting needs and strategies. It examines this process from conception to planning to post-merger procedures and also emphasizes continued financial evaluation.

Business Finance

This class offers an introduction to the essential methods of financial analysis and issues related to financial management and budgeting. It also analyzes how different types of corporate funds, including short-term, intermediate, and long-term sources, function in the business world.

Business Law

This course explores how the legal sphere applies to management-level decisions and strategies. It also examines business regulations, types of business organizations, litigation and related resolutions, the basics of contracts, and essential ethical issues in business.

Essential CPA Exam Preparation

One of the cornerstones of any modern Master of Science in Accounting program is effective preparation for the CPA examination. NEC structures its graduate curriculum and teaching methods around the theory and practice that students need to prepare for this challenging professional exam.

The Master of Accounting program centers on the core competency framework outlines by the AICPA. Since the AICPA framework focuses on both industry-specific and general business concepts, programs that adhere to it may equip students to transition seamlessly from the academic world to the professional sphere. A successful Master of Science in Accounting program emphasizes:
● Accounting Competencies: Students should gain a comprehensive understanding of key accounting concepts, including reporting, research, and risk analysis.
● Business Competencies: Aspiring accountants should master critical thinking, international perspectives, legal and regulatory issues, and resource management.
● Professional Competencies: Graduates should hone essential professional skills, including those related to problem-solving, decision-making, communication, project management, and leadership.

An advanced accounting degree program should also contribute to the 150-hour requirement that most states’ CPA licensing boards uphold. NEC’s 150-semester-hour graduate program structure could help graduates pursue a CPA or advanced employment in the accounting field.
Students not interested in becoming CPAs can also benefit immensely from this curriculum. The program is well-suited to those pursuing internal auditor (CIA), management accountant (CMA), or fraud examiner (CFE) certifications. Since the Master of Science in Accounting program incorporates a blend of theory and practice, students may be able to pursue a variety of roles upon graduation, including director of accounting, director of risk management, management consultant, and more.

Online Learning Opportunities

The opportunity to work toward a Master of Science in Accounting degree online allows students to complete coursework, discussions, and examinations more flexibly. Ambitious graduate students are able to access the structure, convenience, and advanced curriculum they need, regardless of their geographic location.

If students opt to pursue a master’s in accounting online, they can study, perform research, and submit coursework from home or the office as their schedules permit. As accounting or business professionals, students may be able to work and maintain professional pursuits while earning an advanced degree.

In an online master’s program, professors and colleagues are typically only an email or a chat away. NEC’s online Master of Science in Accounting program offers robust discussion platforms that encourage students to learn via dialogue and debate in addition to research and writing.

These frequent discussions may also offer online students opportunities for networking and building professional connections regardless of geographic boundaries. At the same time, the small classes can provide online students with a more intimate experience that allows for ample individual attention and a customized learning experience. Since enrolled students have access to their own personal enrollment advisor, student services advisor, and instructor, along with experienced faculty members and a knowledgeable technology team, students can easily seek support.

A master’s in accounting online could be the ideal stepping stone as you transition to the next stage of your career. Visit the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at New England College to learn more about the online Master of Science in Accounting degree and discover how this program could factor into your professional plans.

Sources:

Association of International Certified Professional Accountants: Core Competencies
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants: Licensure Requirements
Forbes