Accounting MBA vs. CPA: Which is Right for You?

by A Guest Author

Accounting MBA or CPA?Which will it be:  accounting MBA or CPA? For many decades, this was the question that plagued business-minded individuals looking to advance their career, garner an executive-level position and demand a competitive salary. If you're a recent graduate or an established professional looking to take your career to the next level, you might be confused about which of these degrees is right for you.

The good news is there is a stark difference between the two; whether an individual should earn an online accounting MBA versus a CPA is really dependent on his or her ultimate goal. Here are several questions to ask yourself about your current situation and future goals to help you make the final decision with confidence:

Do You Have the Time?

Ultimately, earning either your accounting MBA or certified public accounting degree are both labor-intensive paths, but it's the time you put into each that differs. On average, it can take anywhere from 10 months to five years to complete an accounting MBA, depending on your academic status.

Conversely, the majority of states require CPA candidates possess at least 150 hours of work experience on top of schooling before the individual can even take the certification exam. Many states also require CPAs to attend continuing education classes to remain current, which is another expense to keep in mind, especially if your employer won't pay for the courses.

What are Your Ultimate Career Goals?

In the corporate world, accounting MBAs and CPAs work closely together, but their job descriptions and responsibilities are very different. Ultimately, if your aspirations are to secure a management position (in finance or otherwise), consider the MBA. If your heart's desire is to become a controller, financial analyst or even open up your own accounting firm one day, earning your CPA is a sensible decision.

It's All About the Skills

A major difference between the two concentrations is the curriculum. On the whole, CPAs learn what are considered “quantifiable” skills, including those relating to finance and accounting.

You'll touch briefly on the management courses encountered by individuals earning an accounting MBA. On the other hand, an accounting MBA will learn several of the same “quantifiable” skills, but on top of this, he or she will also attend courses dealing with human resources, management skills, strategic thinking, information technology and even effective team-building.

If you're after a more well-rounded education, consider an accounting MBA instead.

Career Goals vs. Monetary Gains

Once again, your industry of choice plays a huge factor in your ultimate decision. For instance, you're working for a public accounting firm and interested in securing a coveted management-level position.

Your practical self automatically assumes MBA; but in this instance, you've made the imprudent choice.

In many instances, the three magical letters “CPA” will get your further than an MBA, but don't assume your higher title will mean big bucks. In general, if you're interested in living comfortably, an accounting or any type of MBA is the better choice.

Why Earning an Accounting MBA Could Ultimately Be the Right Choice

If you're interested in changing careers or thinking globally, earning your accounting MBA is the better choice.

The majority of accounting MBA programs are aware of the burgeoning and growing world economy; they are training their candidates to meet the needs of their globally-minded potential employers. Also, in order to expand your horizons and remain competitive in a new career, an MBA will generally get you further in the world of finance (or otherwise) than a CPA.

From retired military personnel to a financial planner looking to become a business manager; established professionals are learning the benefits of earning their accounting MBA.

Making The Decision...

So you've sufficiently weighed the pros and cons; in the end you decided that earning your accounting MBA is the correct path, but how do you fit spending time in the classroom into your already hectic schedule? If you cannot imagine sitting behind a desk or making the long commute to campus, consider earning your MBA in Accounting online. An innovate, online academic program allows you the flexibility to attend classes on your schedule without having to sacrifice your career.

About the Author:  Jason Boles is a guest blogger and currently earning his MBA online. Jason hopes to advance in his current industry or even start his own business with the skills gained through his accounting MBA courses.

This post was written by A Guest Author

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Louis October 16, 2012 at 1:53 am

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