Graduates wondering what to do with a Master's in Accounting will find the highly versatile degree has many career options in the financial services sector. From small businesses to Big Four firms, organizations rely on accountants to record and retrieve detailed reports of their transactions to determine asset value. Picking the accountancy path is ideal for individuals who are structured, detail-oriented, responsible, client-centric, and skilled mathematicians. It's an excellent time to consider graduate school since the BLS predicts job growth at 11 percent overall for accountants. According to the AICPA, U.S. companies hire around 16,500 accountants with master's degrees each year. The following are five prestigious accountancy titles traditionally reserved for those with graduate education.
Certified Public Accountant
Certified Public Accountants told mid- and upper-level jobs preparing financial reports for individuals or corporations in adherence to GAAP standards. CPAs must complete masters training at accredited B-schools for the 150-hour licensing requirement. Their duties are wide-ranging, from auditing balance sheets and computing taxes to designing information systems and creating corporate financial strategies. Certified Public Accountants have a $1 million advantage over non-licensed professionals with average salaries from $90,200 to $191,750.
Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors hold perhaps the fastest-growing accounting job projected to add 73,900 positions by 2024 for a 30 percent increase. Personal financial advisors are typically master's-level consultants who guide individuals and couples to smart decisions for managing their wealth. Important duties include recommending investments, asking questions about potential market risks, setting up retirement plans, monitoring portfolio performance, and trading stocks or bonds for better profit. Personal financial advisors receive an average salary of $123,100 yearly.
Forensic accountants are master's-level investigative sleuths who follow the money trail to document evidence of financial crimes. Many hold the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation to trace violations like fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion. Their responsibilities include analyzing vast financial data, pinpointing suspected criminal activity, drafting detailed reports of their findings, contacting law enforcement personnel, and potentially testifying in court. Forensic accountants bring home yearly compensation between $84,370 and $155,000.
Corporate controllers are senior managers heading up accountancy departments to oversee the apt production of compliant financial reports. Businesses usually hire CPAs who have a master's education and 7+ years of experience to supervise accountants. Other tasks include protecting company assets, conducting financial forecasts, creating reporting procedures, directing audits, advising executives on cost analysis, coordinating investments, and maintaining internal controls. Corporate controllers report a median annual wage of $183,842.
Chief Financial Officer
Top-level accountants could become Chief Financial Officers, senior executives sitting on the board who manage the company's financial planning, record-keeping, and risk management. CFOs are scrutinized spokespeople given the tough task of cutting expenses while sparking increased revenue. Their advanced duties include shaping the business' financial mindset, passing policies that tighten operations, complying with SEC laws, communicating value to shareholders, and handling pricing execution. Chief Financial Officers cash in an average yearly income of $308,549.
Job opportunities are virtually endless for accountancy graduates who've finished 150 hours at business schools, especially competitive ones with AACSB accreditation. You'll need a bachelor's degree, good grades, a high GMAT, and prerequisite courses like financial statement analysis for admission. But putting the effort in for a Master's in Accounting degree unlocks even more in-demand careers like managerial accountant, compliance officer, information systems accountant, and anti-money laundering specialist.