Professional auditors ensure that financial practices conform to accepted standards in both the public and private sectors. Students interested in graduate-level study of auditing can find it offered as a concentration in many Master of Accountancy or Master of Professional Accountancy degree programs. In these programs, students take courses in topics such as taxation, economics and accounting systems. They may also be required to supplement traditional coursework with hands-on internships or independent study. In total, programs can take one to two years, depending on whether students study full- or part-time and which practical experience option they choose.
In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree, sometimes with a minimum GPA, and have taken courses in business in accounting. Schools may also consider previous work experience and GRE or GMAT scores in the admissions process.
Master's Degree in Accounting
Master's degree programs in accounting are designed to develop students' analytical and problem-solving skills in the fields of taxation and finance. Courses in an auditing concentration also include the following:
- Business laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- Quality and assurance
- Information systems auditing
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates with a Master of Accountancy in Auditing perform financial quality assurance for businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. Auditors may work for an organization as its own internal auditor, or they may work for a company that audits the records of other companies as external auditors. Some of the most popular careers in financial auditing include:
- Control accounting specialist
- Senior analyst
- Financial advisor
- Certified public accountant
- Accounting manager
- Certified internal auditor
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of accountants and auditors will increase by 11% during the 2014-2024 decade. The median salary earned by these professionals was $67,190 in 2015.
Graduates of a Master of Accountancy degree program are prepared to take the exam to earn the Certified Internal Auditor designation (www.theiia.org). Students who hold master's degrees are also qualified to take the Uniform CPA Examination in any state, which leads to licensure as a Certified Public Accountant (www.aicpa.org).
In summary, a master's degree in accounting can provide aspiring auditors with the necessary financial knowledge and problem-solving skills necessary for a high-level career in the field and further certification or licensure.