MBA in Accounting & Information Systems: Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Students interested in learning about advanced accounting and information systems can pursue separate master's programs in information systems or accounting or apply to a dual degree program that combines both disciplines.

Essential Information

A master's program in accounting and information systems introduces students to technical and financial management coursework. The program prepares students for the CPA licensing examination.

As an alternative, students might consider a Master of Business Administration in Information Systems program or a Master of Business Administration in Accounting program, which emphasizes advanced programming and accounting principles, respectively. Lasting up to two years, each of these programs might feature online learning opportunities and flexible scheduling options. The MBA in Accounting program also prepares students for the CPA exams.

A bachelor's degree is required for admission into a master's degree and MBA program in accounting and information systems. While technical and financial majors might be recommended, students with a degree in another field could take a few extra courses to gain a fundamental understanding in these areas. Applicants should also have basic knowledge of calculus and statistics. Other programs might require experience in a business field or an academic background in technology or business.

Master's Degree in Accounting and Information Systems

The specialized field of accounting and information systems isn't usually offered as a concentration in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. However, some schools offer the blended areas within Master of Science or proprietary master's degree programs, while others offer dual degree programs that award both an MBA and a Master of Science in Accounting and Information Systems.

Commonly, master's degree programs in accounting and information systems combine courses in financial management and accounting topics with technical classes in information systems management. Some common course topics include:

  • Financial accounting and auditing
  • Taxation
  • Fraud investigation and ethics
  • Technology analysis and systems security
  • Database design and administration
  • Web-based applications and computer networking

Master of Business Administration in Information Systems

MBA programs in an information systems specialization contain core business management training and elective or concentration courses in information technology. Standard business courses in an MBA program include accounting, management strategies, marketing and human resources topics. Some schools might only require elective courses that students can apply directly to their career goals. Courses specific to information systems might include:

  • System implementation
  • Information technology management
  • E-commerce
  • Supply chain technology
  • IT resource planning
  • Advanced programming and Internet application development

Master of Business Administration in Accounting

Like MBA programs in information systems, accounting concentrations within an MBA program incorporates core business knowledge with an elective focus on finance and accounting principles. Additionally, accounting concentrations offer classes that cover required topics for the CPA exams, such as taxation, auditing and cost accounting. Some elective course subjects could include:

  • Nonprofit and corporate accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Accounting technology
  • Taxation
  • Internal and external auditing
  • International accounting

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a master's degree program in accounting and information systems program can prepare for careers in consulting firms, information systems departments, and public accounting offices. Some job options include:

  • Fraud and tax examiners
  • Technical or financial consultant
  • Financial analysts
  • Information systems managers
  • Computer systems analysts

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS states that employment as a computer and information systems manager could require a bachelor's degree, though an MBA in Information Systems is a standard preference among employers. Jobs for IT managers are expected to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, the BLS maintains. The BLS additionally reports that the median salary for this type of manager as of May 2018 was $142,530 per year.

The number of accountants and auditors in the U.S. was expected to increase 6% from 2018 to 2028, per the BLS. In accounting, employers prefer to hire qualified professionals with CPA licensure. Accountants work in nearly every industry, including business, government, nonprofit and academia. As of May 2018, the median yearly salary for accountants and auditors was $70,500 according to the BLS.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Students who complete sufficient coursework to meet state requirements can qualify to earn a CPA license through the state. Exact requirements vary, though many states mandate some graduate level accounting courses. The CPA credential is required for professionals who file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additionally, individuals could choose to continue their education by pursuing a doctoral degree in either specialty or a combined accounting and information systems program. Students who want a career in research and education should acquire a Ph.D.

Managers can demonstrate their supervisory skills through education. However, if they choose to portray their understanding of technology, they could opt to earn voluntary certification, through industry standards organizations or technology hardware and software vendors. Credentials could help IT managers provide evidence of their expertise in specific technologies, such as networking, programming, data security or information management.

There are many options for students interested in obtaining a master's degree with an emphasis in information systems, accounting or a blend of both. The programs are usually one to two years in length and can help students obtain their CPA license.

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