What careers are available with a master’s degree in accounting?

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Accounting has long been one of the most stable professions for those who are both good with numbers and possess great business acumen. A master's degree in the field further enhances the opportunities open to job candidates qualifying them for executive positions, financial management careers, and several other opportunities with bright prospects and salaries that are higher than the overall average for all accounting professionals. Before considering a master's in the field, take a look at the most common professions for those who have finished their graduate coursework.

1. Auditing

Those with a master's in accounting are typically considered the foremost experts in their field, especially since the vast majority of them have passed the CPA exam and completed a large number of years in tax accounting, personal financial advising, forensics, and other fields. Auditing allows accountants to keep companies and federal agencies honest, spot accounting problems before they balloon into major crises, and ensure the integrity of all books throughout the year.

2. Chief Financial Officer

The CFO of a company is the highest-ranking financial official in the organization, overseeing all of the company's books, accountants, and financial transactions. Based on the size of the company and the experience of the candidate, this position pays anywhere from the low six-figures to salaries that are measured in the millions. Skilled accountants with a managerial streak will excel in this position after years of related experience in corporate accounting, tax planning, auditing, and similar fields.

3. Forensic Accounting

For every company that proceeds through quarterly reporting easily and honestly, there's at least one company that tries to "cook the books" and manipulate stock prices through questionable accounting practices. Forensic accountants are the answer to this problem, with a solid understanding of accounting methods and laws. They're also highly trained in investigative methods and accounting technology, giving them the skills and tools needed to uncover, pursue, and report accounting irregularities within organizations of any size.

4. Budget Analyst

Staying on budget isn't just a concern of today's families. It's also a primary responsibility of corporations, especially if they wish to make a profit and satisfy the demands of shareholders. Skilled accountants with a graduate-level education in the field are great budgetary analysts, able to oversee all areas of corporate spending and recommend expenditures based on past performance, existing cash-on-hand, and anticipated revenue from existing products or markets.

5. Cost Accounting

The way most businesses make money is to know the precise cost of their products, mark up their retail price, and earn a handsome profit on the sale to consumers. The only way for many businesses to determine the exact cost of their merchandise is to use the service of a cost accountant, who has been trained in the field at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Cost accountants will determine the cost of each product based on research and design expenses, labor costs, and other sources of overhead, and recommend the best price for profit to the companies they serve.

Accountants with a Master's Degree Have Great Job Prospects

From corporate accounting to auditing and forensics, accountants who pursue a master's degree have excellent job prospects awaiting them after graduation. With more responsibilities and the opportunity for advancement to the executive level, the sky really is the limit with an advanced degree in this field.