Question regarding accounting education/work..

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by multipass, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. multipass

    multipass Guest

    This is probably a bit offtopic for this message board, however, I do not frequent or know of any other forums to discuss my issue so i chose this board.

    basically, i graduated with a BS in business and am considering the accounting field. it is not something difficult for me since i like numbers and like to analyze. what im looking to do is get a job in the accounting field ( i already found a positions at a firm that does accounting, tax, bookkeeping, irs, etc. services) and then do one of the following to further my education in the field:

    1) get an AA in accounting and further down the road get an MBA in accounting/finance

    2) go back to my univ. to get a bs in accounting and much further down the road get an MBA in accounting/finance

    3) strictly get an MBA in accounting/finance

    4) do nothing since i will learn most of the work through experience

    Also, I am not considering the MS in accounting since i would have far less coursework to fulfill with a BS in accounting. This applies to the MB Taxation as well. No CPA license consideration either since i am looking to stay within a business environment and move up within.

    So accounting professionals, which do you think is the way to go for my current situation?

    background: i am in my very early 20s, no payments of any kind, but want to get working with possibilities of advancement in the future.

    serious answers please, by qualified individuals. thanks!
  2. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Your logic doesn't really make sense to me. Let's see, you want to get into accounting but you don't want to get the CPA cert? Your reasoning behind this is that you want to stay in the business environment and move up from within?

    Okay, a little advice. The CPA cert could very well be the most powerful business credential you could possibly have, aside from a business degree from a top of the line business school. Having the CPA cert will only help you to move up in the business environment. I can't think of any possible reason why being a CPA would EVER be a hindrance to you. Many job advanced business job descriptions require the CPA cert, even if its not sitting around crunching numbers all day long.

    You may want to check out the Master of Accountancy program through Florida Atlantic University. You don't have to be an accounting undergrad major to be admitted and the school is AACSB accredited.
  3. multipass

    multipass Guest

    i did not mean that a CPA license is not worth it. i also did not mean that it hinder my growth at all. i was just thinking that the path i would like to take, a MBA and not a MS in accounting, it would be difficult for me to do well on the CPA exam. furthermore, many people i know in the business field that do accounting work have an MBA in accounting and lots of experience(no cpa license).

    i understand a CPA license is a valuable thing but i would also need an MS in accounting to be able to pass the exam (since they usually cover the topics on the exam). i was hoping for an alternative way, basically, a combination of an MBA in accounting coupled with experience in accounting to move up rather than becoming a CPA. do you think that it is bad reasoning? sorry its a bit messy, im in a hurry.

  4. blaketots

    blaketots New Member

    I don't think you will find that getting a BS in Accounting will take you any less time than getting a MAcc. Most Master's programs in accounting are only 30 credits (10 classes).

    Getting a CPA is something that EVERY accountant should consider. I have been an accountant for 7 years and do not have my CPA license. I have had two small children during that time and owned my own business. I now work as a "full-time" adjunct instructor teaching accounting. While I do not need a CPA to teach, it is something that I'm currently pursuing. I am anxiously awaiting my score as we speak. As an accountant, I've always felt "incomplete", because of my lack of CPA credential. It has haunted me year after year.

    My best advice would be for you to get a Master's degree in Accounting and then sit for the CPA exam. An MBA gives one a broad business background and that is great. However, a Master's program in Accounting will also include around 4 courses in general business as well. If you wanted to go into management, marketing, etc., I'd say go for an MBA. Since you know that you want to pursue accounting, you should really consider being more specialized.

    You will notice that I have an MBA rather than a MAcc, this is because I TEACH and wanted to open up the option of teaching general business courses in addition to accounting courses. I would not be able to do that with the MAcc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2005
  5. multipass

    multipass Guest

    thank you for the reply.

    i did not finish in accounting as an undergraduate, so yes, it would take longer to finish a master in accounting than going back to finish a BS in accounting. there are about 18-25 extra prerequisite units that i would need to take before i could even begin the core classes of an MS in accounting.

    i should have said that my initial goal was to advance in the accounting field in order to gain a position as a financial analyst within the decade. having experience with numbers and what not along with an MBA in accounting/finance, i would be able to obtain such a position. the reason i say this is because several of my relatives have taken this route. i have tried to obtain a position as a financial analyst yet no company will hire someone without financial or accounting experience. this is why i feel that a cpa would not be required for what i want to do.

    if i were to put some time into accounting education, i would either consider an AA in accounting with an MBA in accounting/finance, or just the latter. i think i have made my own decision and i think it is best for me to pursue an MBA.
  6. w_parker

    w_parker New Member

    It will be difficult, but not impossible, to move up through the management levels in accounting without a CPA license. Also, many CPA's also branch into many other areas, to include financial analyists. Good luck on whichever path you choose, and if you decide to pursue an MBA you may want to look into schools that will allow you to concentrate in accounting. Lastly, look into your state board of accountancy and see what the requirements are in your state to sit for the exam and licensing requirements. You can also look around the AICPA's website, they also offer student memberships.

    William Parker

    BS Accounting, Upper Iowa University--2004
    MBA, Morehead State University--current student
  7. multipass

    multipass Guest

    thanks a bunch for the information.

    i plan to go for a MBA in accounting and finance. i have checked the requirements for the CPA license. through my undergrad. and potential grad. work, i would be able to sit for the exam. however, regardless of the unit requirement for accounting, i would be quite unprepared since i would not have the knowledge taught by the accounting courses, ie. in a MS in accounting program, that prepares you specifically for the CPA exam.
  8. mrbean72

    mrbean72 New Member

    Go for the CPA


    I am a Canadian Chartered Accountant (CA), which is roughly equivalent to the US CPA, and I work in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada at a Big 4 firm. In the near future, I plan to write the IQEX reciprocity exam for Canadian CAs to earn the US CPA designation.

    I have to agree with the other people here that obtaining the CPA designation is the best career move for anyone in the US who is serious about pursuing a career in accounting and finance. Now that I have my CA designation, I have received numerous calls from executive search firms wanting to interview me for leadership positions in accounting and finance. Those opportunities were not available to me when I just had my business degree (which was heavily weighted toward accounting) and several years progressive experience in the accounting field. Based on what I have read about MBA degrees, unless you get a MBA from Harvard or Stanford, your career prospects don't necessarily improve either.

    You had mentioned that you would feel unprepared about sitting for the CPA exam without a MS in accounting. I am not convinced that you could earn a MS in accounting and just walk into the exam centre and ace the CPA. The CPA exam is a unique testing instrument that requires lots of self-study geared to addressing your own strengths and weaknesses. Once you qualify to sit for the CPA exam, you can take a CPA prep course from Kaplan, design a study plan, and study on your own to pass the CPA. Regardless of your previous educational background, you will have to study on your own to pass the CPA.

    Since you are young with few commitments, now is the best time to get your CPA. I'm sure that blaketots will tell you that it's more difficult trying to get your CPA when you're older with more commitments.

    If you're absolutely deadset against getting your CPA, I would still encourage you to get some sort of accounting designation to separate yourself from the many people who work in accounting and don't have a designation. A few possibilities:

    Certified Management Accountant (CMA):

    - more suited to internal accountants
    - bachelors degree in any field accepted for admission

    Certified Financial Manager (CFM):

    - get advanced standing if you already have the CMA
    - mainly deals with corporate finance

    Certified Internal Auditors (CIA):

    - bachelors degree in any field accepted for admission
    - mainly deals with how to audit internal controls of an organization and improve internal controls as part of a comprehensive risk management strategy
    - hot area right now with Sarbanes-Oxley

    Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE):

    - bachelors degree in any field accepted for admission
    - mainly deals with preventing and detecting financial fraud
    - another growing area

    Good luck! Accounting and finance people have excellent career prospects!

    Michael Weedon, CA
  9. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Re: Go for the CPA

    It should be said that some (all?) of those certifications have an experience requirement.
  10. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    The CMA route is a good one. I passed the exam in '83 and found it has pretty good acceptance in business accounting circles. Lots of CFO's and controllers, accounting managers have this. I've never had a problem getting interviews with this credential and as a young man always received nice compliments on passing the exam.

    Were I you, I'd maybe do the CMA first, then do an MBA, perhaps with an accounting concentration, in case you feel the need to sit for CPA in the future. The reason I recommend the CMA first is that it's kind of like a Mini-MBA and will set you up well for MBA coursework. The experience can be gained later to receive the certificate after you've passed the exam. I thought the CMA was fun and practical...when I looked at taking the CPA with all the FASBEEs and income tax my eyes glazed over.

    Also if you ever wanted to join an accounting firm in the future and not take the CPA exam, you might look at becoming an enrolled agent.

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