What Is an MBA in Accounting?

The University of South Carolina Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting online program prepares graduates to meet the growing demand for accountants in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10 percent job growth between 2016 and 2026 in this industry, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization, a growing economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to continue to lead to strong demand in this industry. As the economy grows, more companies will go public, which will drive even greater need for graduates of specialized accounting programs to handle the legally required financial documentation. These specialized programs, including USC Aiken’s accounting-focused online MBA, develop the most important capabilities needed in accounting, according to the Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. They are analytical, communication, organizational, math and detail management skills.

Why Specialize in Accounting?

How does an MBA in accounting differ from a traditional MBA program? Like a general MBA, an MBA in accounting is a professional graduate degree program that centers on business as the principal area of study. These programs are generally geared for professionals with prior post-baccalaureate work experience, in contrast to Master of Accounting programs, which typically have varying levels of prerequisite accounting knowledge and experience as admissions criteria.

In the USC Aiken specialized program, a high-level business curriculum includes core courses in management, accounting, marketing, financial analysis and economics that prepare students for diverse decision-making roles. These skills are necessary to perform competently in management and executive-level positions, and are sought by corporations, smaller companies and startups. The broad MBA curriculum is just as vital for entrepreneurial-minded candidates who need well-rounded business skills.

What You Can Expect to Learn

In addition to the general MBA courses, students in this program take specialized courses in advanced accounting topics and information systems, analytics and strategy.

The Advanced Accounting Topics course covers advanced topics in accounting theory and practice as they relate to the preparation of financial statements, the use of accounting information for managerial decisions, and the legal environment affecting the accounting profession. This course builds on the decision-making skills students learn in the core accounting course to further prepare them for management-level accounting, where they will need to think more strategically and collaboratively. The course also prepares graduates to communicate effectively with executives and other company leaders, in order to present and argue for their decisions.

The Information Systems, Analytics, and Strategy course is an examination of the critical role of information technology in contemporary business organizations. It emphasizes the use of information systems to develop and sustain competitive advantage. Like other functions of business, accounting is increasingly reliant on information systems. Accounting information systems in particular are structures used to collect, store, manage, process, retrieve and report financial data. These data conduits enable the seamless flow or transfer of knowledge between accountants, business executives, CFOs, analysts, auditors, regulators and tax agencies. This course prepares graduates to work with the components of these systems, which include people, procedures, and internal controls, as well as information technology infrastructure.

For working professionals in the field of accounting, a specialized MBA offers the management-level training most jobs don’t provide, and a clearer path to positions of leadership. The world’s most successful corporations rely upon graduates of these programs for the decision-making capabilities they began developing in their MBA training.

Learn more about the USC Aiken MBA with a Specialization in Accounting online program.


Investopedia: Introduction to Accounting Information Systems

U.S. BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook: Accountants and Auditors

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