Online programs cover the same course topics, and offer the same areas of concentrations that you find in traditional, campus-based environments. Sometimes, colleges are able to give students even more options through online platforms, since they are cheaper and simpler to deliver than classroom environments.
Online concentrations in accounting can help you prepare for specialized areas in the world of finance. You may want to go into forensic accounting, corporate finance, taxation, or work for non-profit, public or private sector agencies. Courses will balance foundational skills, such as principles in accounting, cost analysis, the difference between business and individual accounting, as well as specific topics, such as how financial regulations impact business.
Degree programs can range from 12 month programs, to slower-paced schedules that give you 2-3 years to complete. When you choose a program, be sure to ask if they have a focus on helping students take the CPA exam, and if they have relationships with employers.
Masters Degree in Finance Online
If you want to be qualified to work in the broader world of finance, earning your masters degree in this area can help propel you to higher levels in your organization. Those who have a bachelors in accounting degree, and then move into a finance-focused program, can help you work in more areas related to the numbers that determine success or failure. Financial leaders are needed in every industry. This type of program will likely help you learn portfolio management, investment analysis, financial risk management, and other common areas of finance. Courses may also cover theories and philosophy, since much of this industry is speculative and unpredictable.
Financial masters degrees can have different names, such as Master of Science in Banking and Financial Services Management, MBA in Finance, Master of Finance, and others named after specializations available in this field. Having your master's can enhance your professional opportunities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports that job candidates pursuing roles as financial managers who have their masters degree enjoy the best job prospects. Source.
Masters Degree in Forensics Accounting
Specializations in accounting can give you an advantage over those who are competing for roles in particular fields, such as forensics. If you have a forensic masters in accounting, you will most likely get more consideration than someone who has a broader degree, or just their bachelor’s. You can find campus and online forensics accounting degrees, no matter where you live in the US.
According to CNN Money, being a forensic accountant is one of the Best Jobs in America – Source. It also sounds like one of the coolest accounting jobs, since part of it lies in detective work you’ll be doing. Forensic accountants are needed sometimes to check for suspicious methods that give clues about criminal situations, such as bankruptcies, insurance fraud, messy divorces, and more.
Like accounting and finance degree programs, forensic accounting degrees can be completed in as little as one year through campus and online formats. When you look into these programs, be sure to ask if they help students prepare for the Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) Examination.
Accounting Masters Program Requirements
Although every school has their own prerequisite requirements for masters in accounting students, there are general guidelines that you should be aware of before you making any decisions. First, if you have an undergraduate degree in accounting already, then you can probably pursue most masters programs with proof of your grades, GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation (if necessary), and other basic application and personal identification materials.
If you do not satisfy the prerequisite course requirements, you will likely have to take foundation courses in accounting. This ensures that you have the basic concepts and knowledge necessary to succeed in higher level courses. You will likely take such course as: financial accounting, managerial economics, financial management, business law, and more.
Taking the GMAT
The GMAT exam is a prerequisite at many colleges and universities that offer master’s level accounting programs. According to information on their website, employers sometimes give applicants with high GMAT scores leverage over those who haven’t taken the test. However, you can still pursue a program that does not require the GMAT, and still take the test when you feel you are ready. There are study guides, practice exams, and other resources online that can help you prepare.
The GMAT test will consist of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. The test lasts a total of three and a half hours. The sections of questions will cover your ability to argue, reason, problem solve, your reading comprehension and sentence correction. When it’s time for you to take the test, you will search for centers that provide testing to students in your area. This is not something you can simply do at home.
Online Master’s in Accounting No GMAT
In many cases, you can find online master’s in accounting degrees that do not require the GMAT or GRE tests as prerequisites. These programs will likely use your current GPA, courses your took in undergrad, references, and other information to determine if you qualify for their program. If you are already working in the field of accounting or finance, you may not feel it is necessary to choose a program with this as a requirement. It may not impact your career or help you as much as someone without as much professional experience.
This is why it is essential that you speak with advisors at every school to learn how they help students with career services and networking in the accounting and financial sector. Even with an online program based at a college states away, you will want to know how they can help you succeed, whether your path includes the GMAT, GRE, or specialized degree path.