Employers Are Looking for Accounting Master's Grads

Matt Shelly
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A master of accounting degree adds value to your resume. A 2014 international survey of over 500 businesses by the Graduate Management Admission Council showed that 45 percent plan on hiring master's-level accountants in the next year. In a similar survey in 2013, only 36 percent indicated an intention to hire an accountant with a master of accounting degree. This strong increase indicates a general shift towards hiring more accountants with graduate degrees.

Although there are many ways to begin an accounting career, a solid foundation in higher education is highly valued by employers. Many college graduates are choosing to work on a master of accounting degree while seeking employment. Typical master of accounting degree programs take one year of full-time study to complete. Most universities offer comprehensive career services to help graduate students find the perfect position while finishing their graduate work. Services, such as resume critiques and interview practice, help students shine during the recruitment period, and career counselors help students find the accounting niche that will best meet their needs.

Employers look for graduate-level accountants to fill positions that require specific knowledge. Graduate students often choose to focus on a particular area and are highly qualified to begin work with minimal in-house training. Specialties, including taxation, auditing and consulting, form the backbone of most master of accounting programs and include hands on work to prepare students well for careers with both public accounting firms and private corporations. It is important that graduate accounting students select courses with their particular career goals in mind. In addition to specific accounting skills, graduate courses further develop students' general communication and analytic capabilities to prepare them for a corporate environment.

Accountants with master of accounting degrees earn higher salaries than those starting out with only an undergraduate degree. Those who pursue certification in addition to a graduate degree are prepared to secure the top starting positions with the highest salaries. Certification in either public accounting or management accounting requires the successful completion of an examination plus certain college credit requirements, which vary by region. A master's program provides certification candidates with a way to earn more credits towards certification, and universities and employers both frequently offer preparation or review programs for those choosing this route. Both graduate degrees and certification prove your value as an accountant helping your resume to rise to the top of the pile of applicants.

For the best employment opportunities, add a graduate degree to your accounting career preparation plan. Employers see the value in graduate degrees and are ready to pay more to accountants who are well-prepared to enter the workforce. A master of accounting program gives students time to pursue certification and to complete a thorough job search focused on their area of interest.

Photo courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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