An accelerated master's degree in accounting is a shortened pathway for those seeking to enter or advance in the accounting field. While there are a wide variety of specialization and school specific programs, there are several elements in the admission and course catalog which can be common across a range of institutions.
What Do I Need to Enroll in an Accelerated Master's in Accounting?
Generally, schools may require degree seekers to currently hold or be close to obtaining a bachelors in accounting. For those changing careers, a minimum number of accounting credits with acceptable GPA will need to be demonstrated on your transcripts. Some schools may allow work experience to replace select credits; this is decided according to each school's policy. The GMAT is sometimes required but may be waived in some cases.
Commonly Required Classes for an Accelerated Master's in Accounting
Though each degree program has unique paths, offered classes, and potential specialization, there are some classes that often appear. Below are a few examples you might encounter in an accelerated master's accounting program.
Ethics and Compliance
Courses focusing on ethics and compliance tend to center around practices and the application of policy in a way that upholds the industry standards as well as local, state, and federal regulatory concerns. As a graduate level class, this may be more detail-focused than lower level equivalents. Students might be presented with real world examples to dissect and debate. Completion of this course may prepare degree seekers for an eventual advanced role in an accounting department.
Finding and Resolving Accounting Issues
This type of class often goes beyond the comprehension of financial statements and ramifications into identifying any issues present within the statements, creating solutions, and reconciling all documentation. This advanced class might look at cases where reconciliation may be problematic based on the situation type. This may include but not be limited to files relating to company mergers, splits, or business partnerships.
Courses relating to what constitutes fraud are covered in undergraduate degree programs. Classes of this type at the graduate level often look at methods to both identify and prevent fraud within an accounting department or firm. Degree seekers might be lead through real world cases related to embezzlement, falsified financial reports, or under-the-table deals. This will then be used to create protocols and procedures designed to prevent instances like those found in the course studies.
Diverging from the more general courses on tax law found in undergrad work, graduate level classes might look at the laws and practices related to reporting, payment, and dissolution of various corporate structures. Also covered may be account reconciliation within a corporate structure's tax records. Read-world research scenarios could be included.
This type of course is generally said to cover what the textbooks don't. That often means a seminar based class with workshops presented by those in the field. These workshops may cover current challenges faced by accounting professionals, particularly in leadership positions. Seminars may include practical examples for which students are challenged to find solutions.
Government and Nonprofit Accounting
Courses focused on the unique practices and compliance issues related to nonprofit or government based accounting are offered and many times required. These classes might cover topics from how to maintain nonprofit statutes to qualifying purchases to tax exempt qualification and financial reconciliations. Taken in connection with other nonprofit or government focused courses, this can prepare students to work in the public financial sector.
With the expansion of commerce and business connections stretching well beyond the bounds of the US, many programs require a course in international accounting. International accounting may cover topics such as global competition, compiling and reconciling financials from oversea subsidiaries, and a plethora of issues facing accountants in organizations with an international presence. This course type often requires a residency or internship in which students could examine decisions and processes within an approved organization as well as observe how international regulations apply.
While each program is unique, many will have typical admittance requirements and common core classes. For those with a current bachelor's degree in accounting, obtaining your master's in the field may take as little as one year.