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What is an MBA in Accounting?

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Ready to advance your accounting career or hone your accounting skills, but don’t want another bachelor’s degree? Consider an MBA in accounting.

Here you will find the information you need when considering an MBA in Accounting. We cover what the degree is, who should apply, costs and learning formats, skills learned, and what to look for in an Accounting MBA program.

We also discuss the return on investment and potential flexibility of the different on-campus and online options.

Wondering what to expect in business school? A typical Accounting MBA program includes general business courses, along with accounting-focused instruction, to create a general management-level educational experience.

The programming of MBA programs is often flexible to meet the needs of learners in full-time jobs. Evening, weekend, online, and hybrid options exist for on-campus and distance learning. Depending on the program, online courses can be asynchronous, synchronous, or both.

Applicants for the Accounting MBA generally do not need management experience or even an undergraduate degree in accounting. Admission requirements typically include a bachelor’s degree in any field and at least two years of business experience.

Accounting is a Master of Business Administration concentration area that emphasizes accounting skills at the managerial level, including:

  • Audit
  • Business Taxation
  • Capital budgeting
  • Financial report
  • Public accounting

Graduates can move into positions such as chief accountant and chief financial officer.

An MBA concentration in Accounting delves into taxation and financial reporting. Accounting MBA students are interested in careers as financial managers, certified public accountants (CPAs), management analysts, and personal financial advisors.

SEE: Which MBA should I get?

Are you hesitating between an on-campus MBA and an online MBA in accounting? Studying online offers flexibility and can be more affordable. However, interaction and networking is virtual and distance learning requires self-discipline.

MBAs traditionally take two years of full-time study, and costs can be high.

However, some colleges offer self-paced online programs, allowing you to take courses on your schedule and budget.

Employers may cover some or all of your program tuition and fees if earning an MBA in Accounting benefits their business.

For a top-notch online MBA program, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1,300 per credit or on average between $4,500 and $47,000 per year. On-campus MBAs can cost anywhere from $14,000 to over $100,000 per year.

Elective in an MBA program in Accounting

Accounting MBA programs include core MBA courses such as business ethics, finance, managerial communication, organizational leadership, and marketing. Expect to take these courses in your first year.

The second year offers opportunities to complete MBA internships and capstone projects. You’ll also focus on accounting electives, which prepare you to take the CPA exam and explore accounting specializations.

Electives may include:

  • Audit
  • Federal taxation and corporate strategy
  • Analysis of financial statements and reporting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Tax strategy for businesses

Technical skills you will learn

  • Budgeting
  • Data analysis
  • Financial planning
  • industry technology
  • Reconciliation of pay statements
  • Taxation

Interpersonal skills you will learn

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • To concentrate
  • Performance under pressure
  • Problem recognition and resolution
  • Reliability

An MBA in accounting can lead to management and executive positions in accounting, a CPA license, or success in your own business. Flexible programs can fit your lifestyle and teach skills that hiring managers value.

  • Return on investment: PayScale data from June 2022 lists the average salary for an MBA in accounting and finance at $97,000 per year. Chief accounting officers earn an average of $75,982 and chief financial officers $140,445.
  • Expertise: you will acquire sought-after accounting skills such as auditing, taxation and financial advice.
  • Flexibility: Part-time or online studies allow you to work, meet other obligations and participate in internships.
  • General training: You will gain valuable business knowledge in finance, leadership, management and marketing.

What To Expect In An Accounting MBA Program

In general, MBA course loads can be rigorous. An accounting concentration requires the ability to perform detailed data analysis.

If studying full-time on campus seems overwhelming, consider taking classes part-time or through a distance learning program that allows you to work at your own pace.

Managing project deadlines and reading loads can be difficult for some. Finding time to study and complete internships can be difficult for others.

Online studies, in particular, push the organizational and time management skills of some students to the limit. Networking can be daunting, especially for introverts. Remote learning means interaction is via video conferencing, which doesn’t work for everyone.

Making a list of your strengths and potential pain points can help you find an accounting MBA program you will succeed in.

What to Look for When Choosing an Accounting MBA Program

Quality Accounting MBA programs hold accreditation and offer resources for students. Other things to consider are the cost, location, and length of the program.


Make sure the programs you are interested in hold both school-wide and program-wide accreditation, which means meeting established standards for high-quality teaching.

You can confirm business school accreditation on campus and online at the accrediting bodies’ websites.


Even if you study online, the location of the school is important. Programs may require intensive on-campus tuition and tuition may vary by location.

If you’re considering taking the CPA exam, check your state’s rules to see if the program meets educational requirements.

University resources

If you are interested in career services, an alumni network, internship placement assistance, and MBA scholarship opportunities, make sure the school offers them.

Online programs must provide access to remote library resources, guidance and academic advice.

Program duration

Full-time accounting MBA programs typically take two years, but part-time study can add about a year to the timeline. Press? Accelerated MBA programs last 12 to 18 months.


Accounting MBAs can come with high costs, but there are ways to reduce them. Consider including attending a public university versus a private college, studying remotely to minimize travel and parking costs, and applying for grants and scholarships.