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Old 02-13-2010, 12:46 PM
 
39 posts, read 135,477 times
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Default Master's in Accounting for non-accounting majors

Hello, everyone. I am a 28-year-old man working at a community bank with a degree in business administration. After working in banking and other jobs and experiencing what it is like to work for company and business, I came to a realization that I want more stable career in business that fits who I am.
After conducting research and due diligence, I decided I want to get an education in accounting and go for a CPA and work in three main areas that I am interested in, accounting, tax and/or auditing. My Qs are three-fold.
1. What would be the route to get into a Master's program in accounting for non-accounting business majors?
2. Can you obtain a junior accountant position in small CPA firm with just business degree?
3. During my college years, I had gone through personal hardships which resulted in my undergrad GPA below 3.0. Can personal essay and strong GMAT score offset my poor GPA?

Thanks in advance for any insights.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Middle America
17,371 posts, read 14,510,155 times
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This is TabulaRasa's boyfriend posting, who is currently working on obtaining his CPA after receiving a Bachelors of Arts in a non-business subject.

Instead of focusing on the Masters degree first, I would concentrate on obtaining the CPA. Every candidate for a CPA (regardless of state or residence) takes the Uniform CPA exam, which consists of four parts: Auditing (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Reporting and Accounting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). Every state has different requirements that must be met before you take the Uniform CPA Exam, however since the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley in 2003, the requirements are pretty similar from state-to-state. For Missouri (my state), the requirments are:

* 150 total hours of college credit
* 33 hours in accounting subjects, of which 18 must be above the introductory level and at least one must be in Auditing.
* 27 hours in general business courses, including Accounting, Economics, Statistics, Business Calc, Finance, Management, Marketing, etc.

If you already have a business degree, you probably have the majority of the third requirement already complete. I would focus on taking the following accounting subjects neccesary to meet your state requirements. These are often offered through community colleges and local public schools. Generally, the progression is:

Principles of Accounting I
Principles of Accounting II
Managerial Accounting
Cost Accounting
Intermediate Accounting I
Intermediate Accounting II
Auditing
Advanced Accounting I
Advanced Accounting II
Federal Income Taxation - Personal Income Tax
Business Taxation

When you have taken these courses and passed them succesfully, your GPA will be a bit higher. However, after you have met the state requirements for education I would apply to sit for the CPA exam and work on that. If you want to work on the Masters after you complete your CPA, it looks like you have really applied yourself and schools will like that. You don't really need a masters to secure an auditing job - the CPA will make you look good. However, realize that it is going to take a lot of work. You will know by Principles II if you love or hate accounting. Once you are in the field, I would look at obtaining a masters through online methods - Colorado State has a pretty good online Macc program. Most Macc programs will make you take all of these courses as prereqs anyway, so you don't save yourself any money by doing the Macc first and then the CPA.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:33 PM
 
1,571 posts, read 2,863,016 times
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Hello, everyone. I am a 28-year-old man working at a community bank with a degree in business administration. After working in banking and other jobs and experiencing what it is like to work for company and business, I came to a realization that I want more stable career in business that fits who I am.
After conducting research and due diligence, I decided I want to get an education in accounting and go for a CPA and work in three main areas that I am interested in, accounting, tax and/or auditing. My Qs are three-fold.
1. What would be the route to get into a Master's program in accounting for non-accounting business majors?
Many non-acct majors use a MACC Program to obtain the credits to sit for the CPA. Getting your CPA is all that matters, no one really cares about a MACC. The one thing about a MACC, or any masters, in your case is that it can replace your low undergrad GPA. If you're close to meeting the requirements to sit for the CPA, I would recommend a MBA over a MACC.
2. Can you obtain a junior accountant position in small CPA firm with just business degree? Yes, but it will be difficult in this economy. They usually want someone who's at least a CPA candidate. You may be able to get an internship.
3. During my college years, I had gone through personal hardships which resulted in my undergrad GPA below 3.0. Can personal essay and strong GMAT score offset my poor GPA? Yes. What school are you considering?

Thanks in advance for any insights
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Middle America
17,371 posts, read 14,510,155 times
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Also, you can get into jobs as a junior accountant without the CPA, but I would wait until you have locked down at least 24 credit hours in accounting (maybe through Intermediate II) before trying to. If you already work for a company, see if they have any internal audit positions available.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:52 AM
 
243 posts, read 955,937 times
Reputation: 178
Hey Budd,

I have a bachelors in Multidisciplinary Studies (3 minors=1 major) from WVU in Business Administration, Economics, and Entrepreneurship. I too work in banking (which is not very steady where I'm located.

Instead of a MAcc (which requires that you take 21 hours of Accounting prerequisites before you even start your graduate level courses), I'm in my 2nd semester of my Post-baccalaureate certificate in Accounting. Basically, it's like getting a second bachelors degree, but I will meet all of the requirements (the 150 credit hour rule, and accounting hour rule), upon completion. Also, I didn't have to take any graduate exams (GMAT, GRE) to get in. Just wanted to throw the idea around. If you can't find a Post-baccalaureate certificate program, I would just take the classes at a local university, or at least see if you can qualify for a second bachelors in Accounting.

Just like the guy above said earlier, no one care about a MAcc anyways, they want the CPA instead, Go for the MBA after your done getting the CPA. I hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
1,657 posts, read 2,213,938 times
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The key is becoming CPA eligible. Most MAcc programs are geared towards people who were accounting undergrads and are just trying to complete their 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam. To get an internship, you must be working towards CPA eligibility. Firms really don't hire full-time staff that aren't eligible for the CPA exam.

One of the best MAcc programs for non-accounting undergrads is the one at University of North Carolina. I would also look at post-bacc possibilities. I don't think there's a whole ton of schools with programs like UNC.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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A MAcc for non-accounting majors is a two year program that resembles the junior and senior years of a bachelor's in accounting (many of your classes will be cross listed with undergrads), though you get about a semester's worth of advanced accounting classes because you don't have the general business requirements that undergrads have (i.e. management, marketing, intermed. econ, intro to finance, intermediate finance, business strategy, etc.).

It's a perfectly safe way to get the credits necessary for the CPA exam and enables you to apply for entry level accounting jobs regardless if you don't pass the exam right away. Most decent MAcc programs have an on campus recruiting programs and you'll get to use it for two recruiting cycles. The down side is they are costly (it's very hard to get a scholarship for these programs, as they are money makers for colleges) and time consuming. If you want to do it part time, you might not have a lot of choices in your area.

The post-bach. classes and certificate route basically only existed since the advent of the 150 hour CPA exam requirement in the late 1990's. Some employers understand that these alternatives are basically equivalent to an older B.S. in Accounting or a more recent MAcc. Some really don't, so you might struggle finding a decent accounting job if you can't pass the CPA exam right away (for many it takes years and multiple attempts). I agree once you have been working as an accountant, the distinction between a CPA and a MAcc is non-existent. But prior to your first accounting job, employers will look to your banking experience and education as to whether they think you can do the job if you haven't passed the CPA. A BBA/MAcc combo is probably cleaner for more employers to understand than a BBA+ some add'l accounting classes. Plus, employers can understand that you are competing with a specific class and will have a rank, as oppose to the ad hoc nature of a certificate/post. bach. classes route. Anyways, it is up to you whether it is worth the extra expense and time.

As for the competitiveness of MAcc programs, honestly, I don't think they are all that selective, except for a handful of elite programs. If you scored in the 80th percentile of the GMAT and have decent recommendations from your employer, I have a hard time believing you couldn't get into most programs. If you just score near their median GMAT score, you'll have much more difficulty getting into that particular program. I would probably just do a simple, short explanation of your prior hardships and really focus on your career after graduation. Graduate programs are way more forgiving as to GPA after you've had some work experience.

Last edited by slim04; 02-17-2010 at 11:04 PM..
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:38 AM
 
109 posts, read 148,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtaylo24 View Post
Hey Budd,

I have a bachelors in Multidisciplinary Studies (3 minors=1 major) from WVU in Business Administration, Economics, and Entrepreneurship. I too work in banking (which is not very steady where I'm located.

Instead of a MAcc (which requires that you take 21 hours of Accounting prerequisites before you even start your graduate level courses), I'm in my 2nd semester of my Post-baccalaureate certificate in Accounting. Basically, it's like getting a second bachelors degree, but I will meet all of the requirements (the 150 credit hour rule, and accounting hour rule), upon completion. Also, I didn't have to take any graduate exams (GMAT, GRE) to get in. Just wanted to throw the idea around. If you can't find a Post-baccalaureate certificate program, I would just take the classes at a local university, or at least see if you can qualify for a second bachelors in Accounting.

Just like the guy above said earlier, no one care about a MAcc anyways, they want the CPA instead, Go for the MBA after your done getting the CPA. I hope this helps and good luck.

So why would you want to get a certificate over a 2nd bachelor's degree? Do you have to take gen ed courses over again for a 2nd bachelor's degree? I'm just wondering what the advantage is since I'm thinking of doing something similar as well.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:21 PM
 
243 posts, read 955,937 times
Reputation: 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtaylo24 View Post
Hey Budd,

I have a bachelors in Multidisciplinary Studies (3 minors=1 major) from WVU in Business Administration, Economics, and Entrepreneurship. I too work in banking (which is not very steady where I'm located.

Instead of a MAcc (which requires that you take 21 hours of Accounting prerequisites before you even start your graduate level courses), I'm in my 2nd semester of my Post-baccalaureate certificate in Accounting. Basically, it's like getting a second bachelors degree, but I will meet all of the requirements (the 150 credit hour rule, and accounting hour rule), upon completion. Also, I didn't have to take any graduate exams (GMAT, GRE) to get in. Just wanted to throw the idea around. If you can't find a Post-baccalaureate certificate program, I would just take the classes at a local university, or at least see if you can qualify for a second bachelors in Accounting.

Just like the guy above said earlier, no one care about a MAcc anyways, they want the CPA instead, Go for the MBA after your done getting the CPA. I hope this helps and good luck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdcon View Post
So why would you want to get a certificate over a 2nd bachelor's degree? Do you have to take gen ed courses over again for a 2nd bachelor's degree? I'm just wondering what the advantage is since I'm thinking of doing something similar as well.
Well, my first degree, which isn't exactly traditional, was from a completely different university and both schools had different requirements. Also my first degree was through the college of arts and sciences and not the college of business and economics. They probably would have made me take extra business classes. I only have to take 10 Accounting courses and 1 elective (business info systems) with this program. I will only have 5 courses left after this semester is over, which I'm knocking 2 out this summer and finishing up the last 3 in December 2010. A lot of the kids that got there first degree from the university are just getting a second bachelor because they had all of the required university courses transfer from their first degree.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Inception
914 posts, read 1,388,413 times
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Just to supply a different perspective, pursuing a MAcc can be extremely helpful to those transiting into accounting with a non-business background. There are many programs that are tailored to those without a BS in Accounting; other programs will allow a student to being the program as an undergraduate taking care of prerequisite courses and then matriculate into the masters.

Considering a MAcc could be preferable over a post-bacc as it would allow you to participate in active on-campus recruiting from the large accounting firms. This can be important for those who pursue the CPA and their residency state requires a certain number of hours in public accountancy [check you with State Board of Accountancy for specific details]. For someone that has several years experience in the workforce and decides to pursue accounting, getting a Masters degree would allow them to gain positions that are not an entry-level offerings as a candidate from an undergraduate program (this will include post-bacc students).

Passing the CPA does prove knowledge of accounting and financial principles but a certificate without experience still places your at an entry level position. The pursuit of a master's could lead to internships opportunities, the classes will be more rigorous and advance than the undergraduate offerings and coupled with general business experience can lead to positions beyond entry level.

As more time elapses from your first degree, most programs are going to be more willing to overlook prior GPA's in consideration of work experience, GMAT scores, an essay/interview, and recommendations if applicable. Also remember, that pursuing a post-bacc or a Masters and obtain great grades will also decrease the relevancy of your grades from your first degree.

OP, either path will help you transition into an accounting career. I think it is most important to decide exactly where you see yourself career-wise and take into consideration CPA requirements of your state if you want to obtain the certification. Build a career plan, network with recent and other CPA's and accountants to get an idea of their opinions and experience. Look at open accountant positions in your area and see what general requirements they have. I think answering these questions and building a career plan will help you choose the better educational option for yourself.
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