An online MBA for CPA program may help you build on your CPA credential and jumpstart the next phase of your career. Accounting MBAs are designed to explore the theory and practice of corporate and managerial accounting, including financial reporting, taxation, employee benefits, and more. Some programs may even cover areas like fraud management and forensic accounting.
You probably won’t find any official CPA to MBA bridge programs for accountants. However, you may find plenty of potential MBA programs aimed at those with an accounting background. Whether you have already earned your CPA certification or not, you may be able to find a program that’s well-suited to the career stage you’re currently in. Keep reading, or fill out our form to get matched with potential schools . . . for free!
CPA vs MBA
A CPA credential is a license, requiring candidates to pass a national exam and meet other requirements. One such requirement is completing 150 semester hours of college coursework. In fact, some students may pursue a master’s degree in order to meet the 150-hour requirement.
An MBA for accountants, on the other hand, is a business-oriented graduate degree that is separate from CPA licensure. While earning a master’s is not required to become a CPA, some students may pursue this degree either before or after they earn CPA licensure. Most states also require CPAs to take continuing education to maintain their license.
So the answer to the MBA vs CPA debate is that there really is no debate! Depending on your goals, you could potentially earn one credential, both, or neither.
What Are Some Paths to Pursuing an MBA for Accountants?
Accountants (or future accountants) may decide to pursue an MBA at varying career stages. Perhaps one of these paths sounds like the road you’re headed down:
- CPA to MBA. You are a CPA, having earned a bachelor’s degree and completed the requisite coursework for CPA licensure. Now, you’re hoping to pursue an MBA for CPA program, to potentially grow your knowledge of accounting and find new opportunities. You may be particularly interested in an online MBA for accountants, so you can potentially prep for your new goals while continuing to work as a CPA.
- MBA to CPA. You have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or something else, but you are not yet a CPA. You still need to pursue additional coursework to qualify for potential CPA licensure, and you’re seeking an MBA program that may help you prepare. Hint: you may want to check out potential CPA and MBA combination programs, or “CPA plus MBA” programs.
- MBA to…Address Unknown. You have a bachelor’s in accounting or a related field, but you’re not interested in becoming (or remaining) a Certified Public Accountant. You’re looking for an MBA program that may help you pursue accounting-related careers other than CPA.
Finding the MBA for accountants that’s perfect for you may require a little research, since programs are often aimed at a specific student profile. For instance, some programs may be great for those with little to no accounting experience, whereas others are designed for candidates who want to build on a hefty background in accounting. Our list of potential programs, at the bottom of this article, may be a good starting point.
MBA vs. MACC: What’s the Difference?
An MBA is a Master of Business Administration, in this case with a concentration in accounting. An MBA for accountants usually focuses on the management of accounting for business organizations. Students explore concepts that are important to corporations, like cash flow, cost accounting, employee benefits, and more.
An MACC or MAC program, on the other hand, is a Master of Accountancy. This kind of program may focus less on the business management angle, and more on the technical side of accounting. There may be increased emphasis on skill areas like information assurance, advanced auditing, and tax research. These programs may even include a research in accounting component.
Keep in mind that both kinds of masters programs for accountants may share overlapping knowledge areas. It’s best to check out a few online accounting masters programs in search of an ideal fit.
10 MBA for CPA Programs That May Help You Boost Your Career
Program: Online MBA in Economic Crime and Fraud Management
For those hoping to take an accounting background in a different direction, Utica College offers an MBA with a focus on preventing financial crime. The program covers business strategy and leadership concepts, while also uncovering the fundamentals of fraud management and financial forensics. Candidates who have already earned CPA licensure may prepare to pursue CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics) certification. However, the knowledge covered in this program may be perfect for fields like banking, telecommunications, insurance, and more.
Program: Online MBA in Advanced Accounting
Established in 1914, Colorado Christian University is a leader in both online and traditional education. Those hoping to pursue an MBA in a more flexible format may be thrilled to discover CCU’s online MBA. The program is designed for business students who wish to pursue CPA licensure. It covers areas like accounting ethics, advanced auditing, tax accounting, and more.
Program: Online MBA Accounting
Based near Chicago but offering extensive online programming, Benedictine University has been helping students prepare for their career goals since 1887. Their online MBA Accounting program may be perfect for those hoping to pursue careers either in business or as CPAs. Learn managerial and financial accounting, reporting, taxation, and much more.
Program: MBA – Accounting
Students at Regent may choose from an on-campus or online MBA program with a concentration in accounting. The program focuses on accounting basics for businesses, like financial reporting, resource allocation, capital investment and much more. Candidates may also take electives in other business administration topics, like corporate ethics, marketing, and managerial economics.
Program: MBA in Accounting
Salem International University is located in Salem, West Virginia, but offers online learning as a potential avenue. The MBA at Salem is designed to be earned in 12 months of full-time study. Consisting of 36 credits, it includes curriculum in areas like business law, accounting function, ethics, and much more. One goal of the program is to help students understand business events, like acquisitions and mergers, from an accounting perspective.
Program: Online M.B.A., Accounting Concentration
Saint Leo University has been educating students since 1889. Their online MBA in accounting program may allow students to earn their degree in a flexible format, in as little as one year. Candidates study many aspects of business and accounting, including accounting for government, not-for-profit and health care organizations. Courses take place in eight-week terms, and enrollees may choose from one of six start times.
Program: Online MBA Program with Accounting Concentration
Offered through UMass Lowell's Manning School of Business, UMassOnline’s MBA program may be the perfect choice for those seeking flexibility. Students learn through case studies, experiential learning, and other methods. For those who have already taken undergraduate courses in areas like financial accounting and other prerequisites, the program is 30 credits long. However, students who don’t have the necessary background may pursue this MBA as a 42-credit program.
Program: Online MBA in Accounting
Though St. Bonaventure University is based in New York and has been educating students since 1858, they are also a leader in online education. Their AACSB-accredited online MBA in Accounting is aimed at businesses professionals who want to hone their knowledge of areas like cost accounting and taxation, while strengthening their leadership potential. It may be the perfect path for those not seeking a traditional CPA career.
Program: Online MBA in Accounting
Liberty University is a Christian school with a wide variety of online programs. The online MBA in Accounting may help students prepare for leadership roles in business, while focusing on key accounting principles. A core business curriculum covers topics like marketing, operations management, managerial finance, and more. This program is 45 credits, up to half of which may be transferred, if you’re eligible.
Program: Online Master of Business Administration – Accounting
Colorado Technical University has been offering career-focused programs since 1965. Their flexible online MBA in accounting program may be perfect for those hoping to delve into new accounting responsibilities in a business, public, or nonprofit environment. The program covers business management theory, plus accounting principles like auditing, taxation, regulatory policy, and much more.
Take the Leap! Find the Perfect MBA for Accountants.
Attention, numbers nerds! Whether you’re looking for online MBA accounting CPA preparatory programs or a program that can help you turn your current CPA career into something different, you’ll need to do your homework to find the MBA for CPA program that’s the perfect fit. Besides exploring the schools and programs above, don’t forget to fill out the form at the top of the page. We’ll help match you with sponsored programs that may suit your talents and interests.