MBA Accounting Grads are Migrating To Financial Planning Careers

John Krautzel
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Increasing numbers of MBA accounting grads are choosing to work as financial planners. Financial planning careers generally offer more flexible schedules, fewer total hours at work, less stress and higher pay than graduate-level accounting positions. This migration toward financial planning is creating a shortage of highly qualified applicants for top accounting positions.

Investment News reports that the number of accountants sitting for the Certified Financial Planner exam grew from 249 in 2010 to 427 in 2011. Other MBA accounting grads with CPA status are opting for Personal Financial Specialist certification, a designation offered only to CPAs through the American Institute of CPAs. Both certifications require aptitude in personal financial planning. With more middle-class Americans seeking financial planning help and an aging population looking to optimize investment returns, there are plenty of opportunities for newcomers to the field. With an overall conservative and trustworthy image, accountants are a first choice for novices seeking financial planning services.

The loss of a portion of MBA accounting grads from the accounting field has led to a shortage in the industry. Both accounting firms and private companies seeking in-house accountants are seeing a decline in qualified applicants. MBA accounting grads are the ideal candidates for many accounting positions. MBA accounting programs include specialized accounting courses and real world experience to increase business savvy. Graduate-level accountants are ready to get right to work without much on-the-job training. With a growing number of MBA accounting grads leaving the accounting field, fewer are available to meet corporate needs, and positions take longer to fill. This is a boon to accountants looking for positions. With the right educational background and experience, MBA-level accountants are in a position to negotiate for better hours, benefits and salaries as they fill longstanding open positions.

Some MBA accounting grads are choosing to work in both accounting and financial planning. Many accounting firms are expanding their businesses to include financial planning services. This works well for businesses and individual clients who prefer the convenience of getting accounting and financial planning services from the same firm. Personal accountants already know the details of a client's financial position. Recommending investments and providing financial advice is a natural extension of their job. The American Institute of CPAs is boosting this trend by providing training in financial planning, access to a database of financial planning information and reduced-cost practice management help with an emphasis on financial planning.

Accountants interested in moving into financial planning careers should select graduate courses with their career goal in mind. Obtaining certification through the Certified Financial Planner exam or the Personal Financial Specialist program increases the chances of success. On the flip side, MBA accounting grads seeking top-level accounting positions are seeing less competition and more opportunities as long as this trend continues.


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