At the bachelor's degree level, accounting is typically offered as a concentration option within a broader business program, while at the master's level, accounting may be offered within a business program or solely as an accounting program. Undergraduate programs in accounting typically have few prerequisites other than a high school diploma or GED. Some accounting master's degree programs require students to have an undergraduate degree in accounting or finance. A bachelor's degree program takes 4 years to complete and a master's degree program takes 2 years to complete. Commonly found online, master's degree programs also might offer specializations in areas like taxation or auditing. Certification is available through the Banking Administration Institute. To become a Certified Bank Auditor (CBA), students must pass an exam, as well as meet education and experience requirements.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Certified bank auditors monitor and track, or audit, the financial standings of banks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), prospective auditors often enroll in a accounting bachelor's degree program. These undergraduate programs cover internal and external accounting practices, as well as auditing, financial management, accounting information systems, and financial statements. Bachelor's degree programs in accounting are often found within the business school of a college or university. High school students may want to take additional math classes or courses specific to accounting or finance to prepare for this program.
Accounting students typically take several business courses, in addition to their general education and core accounting classes. Statistics, marketing, and business practices are common business courses in this program. Accounting-specific courses often cover:
- Income taxes
- Business ethics
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Master's Degrees in Accounting
At the graduate level, accounting degrees are available as Master of Science in Accounting, Master of Accounting, and Master of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting programs. They are typically one- or two-year programs that teach advanced accounting skills, as well as provide courses in business leadership and communications.
Some schools that offer accounting master's degrees are more flexible about the major, but require students to have completed specific coursework in math, statistics, or accounting fundamentals. Specific application materials vary by school, but may include an interview, essay, letters of reference, and a resume of related work experience.
The coursework in an accounting master's degree program typically focuses on the different areas of accounting, including taxation, auditing, managerial accounting, and assurance. Many programs also include business management, law, and finance. Prospective bank auditors may take classes in:
- Banking regulations
- Advanced auditing
- Accounting information systems
- Assurance services
- Fraud examination
- Forensic accounting
Though there are no statistics available specific to bank auditors, accountants and auditors in general held around 1.2 million jobs in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The field is expected to increase by 11% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports that the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $67,190 as of May 2015.
Graduates of an accounting bachelor's degree program may become Certified Bank Auditors through the Banking Administration Institute. After earning the degree and completing experience requirements, students must pass a four-part, multiple-choice that covers auditing, banking regulations, business principles, and accounting. After professionals become certified, they can put the CBA mark on their resume, proving their knowledge in the field and potentially improving job opportunities.
Once professionals become CBAs, they must complete 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every year. There are many different seminars, courses, and events that qualify as CPE to choose from.
While students may not find a specific program in bank auditing, students in a Bachelors of Science in Accounting program will learn some of the basics of internal and external auditing. Those with a related degree may go on to earn a Master of Science in Accounting, Master of Accounting, or Master of Business Administration.