Students of bachelor's programs will study core accounting and finance courses, along with general education and business administration subjects. The master's programs introduce advanced accounting information systems courses and encourage students to gain practical experience. These programs typically can be completed in 1-2 years. The educational prerequisites vary according to the program level. For an undergraduate level programs, students will need their GED or high school diploma along with ACT or SAT scores. For a master's degree, students will need to have completed a bachelor's degree and may also need to submit GMAT scores and have professional experience.
Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting Information Systems Program Overview
One option for a formal education in AIS is a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting Information Systems program. It includes informative lectures and class discussions that give students a comprehensive overview of the basic principles of accounting and finance. Students also receive extensive technical training and practice in modern technologies and information systems used in accounting.
The curriculum in this BBA program combines general educational requirements in the humanities, arts and social sciences with introductory and advanced courses covering essential topics in accounting information systems. Course topics may include the following:
- Statistical analysis
- Accounting principles
- Accounting information systems
- Finance management theories
- Data communication in business
Master of Science in Accounting Information Systems Program Overview
A Master of Science in Accounting Information Systems is considered the terminal degree in this field. Students continue study of fundamental topics learned at the undergraduate level, while studying new and advanced topic in accounting information systems. Programs take a practical, hands-on approach to application of learned principles. Lectures and coursework reinforce the necessary knowledge and skills needed for the aspiring professional. The goal of a master's degree program is to help students acquire additional education in accounting information systems and prepare them for managerial positions in the industry. Some programs also prepare students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.
Graduate degree programs in AIS allow for focused, in-depth study specifically in the area of accounting and information technology systems. The master's program might involve practical experience along with courses in a variety of topics, such as:
- Advanced accounting information systems
- Accounting database design
- Corporate taxation
- Ethical issues in accounting
- Advanced IT auditing
- IT acquisitions
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in accounting information systems have the basic skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a number of career paths in business, accounting, sales or education. Some possible career paths are:
- Financial auditor
- Accounting systems coordinator
- Tax systems manager
- Quality assurance manager
- Financial systems analyst
- Certified public accountant
There are many certification options relevant for graduates of an AIS bachelor's degree program, including the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP). The CPA designation is required for accountants who file reports or documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Requirements to become a CPA vary by state but typically include a bachelor's degree, work experience and passing an exam. The CITP is for current CPAs who work specifically in information systems and technology.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an increased emphasis on financial accountability after recent corporate scandals and crises will contribute to a projected 11% growth in employment for all accountants and auditors from 2014-2024. The annual median salary for all accountants and auditors, including those focusing on AIS, is $67,190 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
To enter the field of accounting information systems, students should first pursue a bachelor's or master's level degree in a related accounting or finance field. These programs will prepare students to pursue professional certification upon graduation.