Online Master of Accounting and Financial Management (MAFM) programs are scarce. Some allow students to complete the program entirely through online study, while others combine on-campus, face-to-face classes/meetings with online work. These programs are open to students with bachelor's degrees, preferably in accounting. Students who do not have an adequate accounting education may be required to take some prerequisite courses.
An MAFM program offers advanced knowledge and training in accounting and finance and usually consists of 36-42 credit hours. Most programs require a capstone project. Completion of this program may qualify graduates to take the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, but requirements vary by state.
Online accounting programs generally utilize interactive, web-based systems to manage course content. Most of these systems feature a message board-style environment that allows for communication between students and professors. Some programs include hybrid courses that require some face-to-face meetings combined with an online component for posting assignments and grades.
Most advanced degree programs in accounting include some finance-related courses. MAFM programs focus on a wide range of financial issues and often feature courses in strategic financial management, auditing, financial accounting and financial reporting.
Strategic Financial Management
By examining applied problems and case studies, students in this course learn about various aspects of financial management in organizations. Areas of focus include capital investment decisions, financial performance metrics and corporate ethics.
This course covers standard practices of auditing and attestation. Computer-assisted auditing techniques and ethical responsibilities are other areas of emphasis.
This wide-ranging course offers a study of accounting theory from a strategic viewpoint. Critical thinking skills are sharpened by applying accounting concepts and principles in corporate settings.
The proper measurement and reporting of assets and liabilities are the main focus areas of this course. Stockholder equity, income taxes and statements of financial position are also examined.
Career Information for Graduates
Students who complete an online MAFM program will be prepared for a variety of positions in accounting, auditing and financial management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates employment for accountants and auditors to increase by 11% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).
The BLS projects employment of financial managers to grow by 7% during the same period. As of May 2015, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $75,280 for accountants and auditors nationwide, with financial managers earning an average annual salary of $134,330.
While an advanced degree is not required to achieve CPA status, most accountants and auditors choose to obtain certification for career advancement. Many financial managers work in accounting departments, so they often attain CPA credentials as well. Financial managers sometimes pursue other certifications such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation.
Online Master of Accounting and Financial Management programs teach students skills related to auditing, accounting, and financial management. CPA certification is available which may help with career advancement.