What is a Master of Science in Accounting?

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A Master of Science in Accounting degree program is designed to provide students with a quality, well-rounded education. These programs include general business education courses with specialized and advanced accounting courses. These programs help students prepare for professional credentials, such as the Certified Public Accountant exam, and professional careers, such as a personal financial advisor, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Degree Program Objectives

Master of Science in Accounting degree programs will help students to gain an advanced understanding of accounting information system, the accounting cycle steps and the application of GAAP in complex situations. Students will learn how to apply knowledge of accounting management processes to common and unique business situations. Students will be prepared to support managerial decision making with sound judgment, statistical skills and knowledge of risk management and corporate social responsibility. Graduates will know how to establish new accounting rules, change how financial statements are used and create customized reports.

Students will also learn standard graduate-level business skills related to business management, quality improvement, public speaking, constructive criticism, audience analysis and effective analysis techniques. Students will learn advanced accounting information systems knowledge and technical skills. This will help them leverage technology to analyze financial data, establish internal controls and monitor accounting transactions. These degree programs will most likely include classes on business composition, organizational communication and industry research. These programs will include advanced mathematical logic and reasoning coursework.

Advanced Business Knowledge

Common business classes include microeconomics, which focuses on the individual functioning of markets and their associated resource allocation. Microeconomic topics include labor, competition, household behavior, production theory and distribution of income theories. Classes on macroeconomics cover economic principles related to money, banking, inflation, employment, national output and fiscal and monetary policies. Business law classes cover regulatory topics related to sales, property, contracts, insurance, bankruptcy, negotiations and commercial organization.

All Master of Science in Accounting degree programs will include some type of class on professional ethics. These courses will explore current ethical issues in the accounting world. Coursework themes include corporate responsibility, professional conduct, organizational relationships, employee obligations and fraud prevention. There will probably be classes on finance or accounting management. These classes will help students properly manage their organization's capital, assets, expenses and revenue.

Advanced Accounting Knowledge

Graduate level accounting programs will cover sophisticated accounting principles regarding things like cash, payroll, inventory and accounting management. Students will be prepared to supervise subordinates who record transactions, handle bookkeeping and process debit and credit memos. Students will learn how to govern the bookkeeping cycle to improve efficiency and accuracy. Students may also learn about managing inventory, acquisition, depreciation, disposal of assets, long-term liabilities and receivables and payables.

Classes on corporate tax fundamentals will prepare graduates to successfully deal with state and federal taxation principles and practices. Students will learn about deductions, exemptions, depreciation, gross income and capital gains and losses. They will also learn about payroll, corporate, retirement and property taxes. There may be specialized electives on managerial, inventory and manufacturing accounting practices. Other electives will include classes on pensions, leases, treasury stock, stock dividends, equity investments, share earnings, and international financial reporting.

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As an added benefit, students will vain valuable personal finance knowledge that will help them understand consumer economic concepts and practices related to budgeting, insurance and estate and retirement planning.