Several master's programs in accountancy are available completely online. The 2-year programs allow accountants to specialize in areas including business accounting and taxation, and they provide the additional credits beyond a bachelor's degree that most states require for candidates seeking CPA certification. Prospective graduate students must have a bachelor's degree, which may need to be in a business or accounting discipline.
Programs are designed to accommodate working accountants and use distance learning technology to provide both real-time and asynchronous discussion of topics like auditing, management, leadership and international finance. Students may need a webcam for these online programs. While online master's degree programs fulfill the educational requirements for certification, certification exams are not available online.
Master of Accountancy
An online master's program in accountancy incorporates business classes, with coursework in finances, taxation and auditing. During these programs, students learn financial analysis, auditing processes, accounting techniques, tax laws and tax document preparation. Applicants to a master's program in accountancy typically must have a bachelor's degree; some schools may require that this degree is in a business or accounting field.
Information and Requirements
An online accountancy master's degree program takes around two years to complete and is available entirely online. These programs are often tailored for accounting professionals who want to continue their education while working.
Online students access courses through web-based educational servers that connect them to study aids, such as pre-recorded lectures, online libraries, presentations and links to off-site materials. Virtual classroom discussions may use webcams, message boards or online chat sessions.
Students must have a working computer and reliable internet access. To access materials and complete assignments, students may need programs or applications, such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and a PDF reader.
List of Common Accountancy Courses
Online master's degree classes in accountancy are often designed to be completed within a specific period of time and may include tests and examinations. Typical online accountancy courses include:
Students learn to analyze financial records from the perspective of an auditor. They study the methods and techniques used by auditors and their practical applications.
This course trains students in international financial standards and study differences between domestic and international financial practices and problems. They also identify accounting in different countries and pick out factors that contribute to and illustrate the differences.
This course allows students to examine the principles of business taxation. They learn to make ethical taxation decisions by learning the types of deductions are allowed and gain experience organizing a business' financial statements for accounting and taxation purposes.
Relationship Management and Leadership
Students learn to create effective relationships by creating positive individual and group influences. The course focuses on creating leadership and management relationships.
Career options open to graduates with a master's degree in accountancy include accounting, auditing, financial analysis and loan officers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for accountants and auditors was expected to grow around 11% between 2014 and 2024, while the need for loan officers would increase by only eight percent (www.bls.gov).
The BLS stated that the median annual salary for accountants and auditors in 2015 was $67,190. During that same time period, financial analysts made a median salary of $80,310, while loan officers made $63,430 a year.
Continuing Education Information
A number of doctoral programs and post-master's certificates are available in accountancy and accounting, most designed for individuals pursuing an academic career at a university. Professional certifications are available as well, including certified management accountants or certified public accountants. Accountants must have employment experience before they can take certification exams.
Many schools offer a fully online Master of Accountancy program students can complete mostly at their own pace. During the program, students participate in virtual discussions, watch pre-recorded lectures, download study notes, and complete assignments through a school server.