Need help with big decision...MS in Accounting?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by scotty, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. scotty

    scotty New Member

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    Hi folks!

    Been a long time since I last posted here. I am looking for advice and thought you people might have some insight to help me. Note that this inquiry does not pertain to a web-based program but rather a traditional B&M program. I hope this doesn't offend anyone here.

    My Opportunity:
    I was just accepted into the Master of Science in Accounting program at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a two-year program but it has a one-year option that I plan to select. You can read about it if you wish here--> Accounting - Stockholm Business School

    My Situation
    • I live in Stockholm, so my decision is not about moving overseas or anything.
    • The program is tuition free; my only costs would be lost wages from giving up my full-time job.
    • I am a teacher; I have spent the past seven years teaching business administration, entrepreneurship, economics, and leadership courses to 17-19-year-old high-school students who go on to elite business schools in Europe (LSE, Imperial, Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, etc).
    • Before teaching, I was a network administrator for a few years.
    • Before my IT work, I was a land surveyor, and before that I managed a small family business.
    • Aside from what is mentioned above, I have no real business experience. I certainly have no accounting experience.
    • I want to transition out of teaching and into a more business-oriented field. Accounting attracts me because I have always been interested in the numbers side of business. Entrepreneurship is my real passion, and I envision myself becoming a consultant for startups and helping them with their budgeting and accounting.
    • I have a BS in management from the Stockholm University Business School already. It taught me loads, but I feel accounting is a hard skill that is in greater demand than leadership skills, which are much more abstract.

    And now, the kicker...
    • I am 49 years old and will be 50 by the time I finish the one-year program.

    So my question to you all is this: Is it worth it?

    Would I be wasting my time? Will nobody be interested in me at that point, despite those academic credentials? Is my lack of experience a deal-breaker? I don't expect you to understand the Swedish job market, but I know that ageism is a real problem here. Still, I see plenty of people changing careers at 50 over here, but usually they are leaving jobs and starting their own businesses in areas where they have years of experience.
  2. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

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    I worked full-time in accounting for about six years before I decided to give it up and become self-employed. I found it to be painfully boring, soulless, and not personally rewarding in the least. Your experience may be different, of course. If you like staring at a computer all day, running a calculator, and working with spreadsheets, then it just might be worth pursuing. If, however, you think there's got to be more to life than that (like I do), then maybe another path would be a better choice.
  3. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Member

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    I'd say worth it. Accounting covers a lot of different things and involves some vastly different types of jobs, from what some, such as AV8R, would call soul-killing grinds in front of computers (which some people like, e.g., my wife, who doesn't like corporate politics a bit and is introverted and simply loved being a programmer/analyst for a major corporation and doing nothing but write lines of code every day), to people like a former student in the accounting department where I teach, who did "audits" for a Big Four which primarily involved flying round the country and interviewing medical and scientific researchers to determine whether or not their research truly had intrinsic value, to a family member, who does government audits, primarily small towns, to a friend, who does accounting for a corporation, to another friend, who took his accounting degree and became an FBI agent, to others I know, in public accounting, for whom the technical aspects of accounting are secondary and who is in essence a sales exec in charge of keeping clients happy and building the client base. Pretty much whatever interests you can be fashioned out of a career in accounting, unless it's something like pottery.
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Active Member

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    It depends what you want to do with it. I completed a MSc in Accounting and Finance and am also a teacher (University). This new degree opened the door for more teaching and course development opportunities. I live in Canada, people my age with careers in Accounting and Finance make more than 150K a year without a Master's degree but jut a CFA or CPA, there is very little interest in accounting and finance professionals to do masters or doctorates as the payoff is negative and even less interest in teaching as these positions are not as lucrative.

    In few words, I don't think you would have problems getting teaching work with an Accounting degree but I would recommend a MS in Accounting and Finance. The reason for the last one is that you have more flexibility as many jobs are in finance but prefer accounting background as well.

    I am also in IT, I also use my degree to sell programming service in computational finance. I get enough work without much advertising as not many computer scientist specialize in Accounting and Finance. Many companies just need spread sheet programming to calculate risk for credit analysis, investment, etc and accountants or finance people are not so strong at this.
  5. edowave

    edowave Active Member

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    I have absolutely no idea what the job market for accountants are in Stockholm, and yes, age discrimination is a problem almost everywhere.

    However, you are going to turn 50 no matter what. The question is, do you want to be 50 years old with a masters in accounting, or 50 years old without one?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2016
  6. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Member

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    I do not know the research, but I do no think age discrimination should be a problem in corporate accounting. A good accountant is like wine .... It takes many years and many different roles to become a solid accountant.
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Active Member

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    HR Business Partner
    Syracuse, NY
    Age discrimination is typically not a problem in hiring corporate accountants. When people want an experienced accountant they generally accept that they may be getting someone in their 50's or even 60's. As a recruiter I placed many older accountants without a problem.

    Two things:

    1. That's not really applicable to the OP. The OP isn't going to hit the accounting job market as an older and experienced professional. He's going to be hitting the job market as an older and inexperienced professional looking to break into a new field.

    2. That's also not true. You don't need 20 years and a diverse background to be a "solid accountant." Accountants, like many professionals, generally fall into two camps; Specialist and Generalist. If you are a Corporate Tax Accountant then you focus your work on that. Showing up with experience in an unrelated area isn't likely to impress a hiring manager for a specialized field. We have six accounting managers at our company. Three are under forty (two under 35). The other three are over 55. 100% of them are "solid accountants." They are also all specialists. The Corporate Tax Accounting Manager has worked in Corporate Tax since graduating from college. The audit manager has been an auditor since graduating from college etc. Our CAO built a career solely on cost accounting (though he now oversees other areas).

    All of that said career transitions are generally easier when you are coming from a related field. If one is teaching business to students then very few people would view that person as completely brand new to the business field. I, personally, thoroughly enjoyed taking accounting in high school. I had two teachers; one was a retired CPA and the other was a tenured computer teacher who refused to update her knowledge beyond punch cards. Take a guess which one taught the class with passion and managed to get us engaged in the subject.

    If the ultimate desire is to work with entrepreneurs and help them get their startups off the ground I think that is a case that can absolutely be made with relative ease. Experience working with young people would likely help immensely. Many universities have business incubator programs to help students launch startups. Maybe this university does as well? That year could be a good opportunity to not only learn more about accounting but also to maybe make connections in the entrepreneur community at that school and potentially find a way to bridge the prior experience with the new learning to make something really great.

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