MBA in Finance vs. MBA in Accounting—Which is right for you?

MBA in Finance vs. MBA in Accounting—Which is right for you?

MBA programs provide students with a useful foundation in business and can help you climb the ranks in your career and increase your salary. But when it comes to choosing a concentration, many individuals have difficulty making a decision. For example, it may be hard to distinguish between an MBA in accounting and MBA in finance. While the degrees may seem similar at face value, the programs cover different curricula and prepare students for distinct careers.

MBA in Accounting

MBA in accounting curricula often includes specialized courses in financial reporting and understanding taxes. In some programs, students have the opportunity to elect an area of concentration, including taxation or courses to prepare for the CPA exam.

MBA in Finance

An MBA in finance arms students with knowledge about investing and portfolio management, as well as leadership, management, marketing, and financial accountability. Students typically study several valuation models, including Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT), and Equity Valuation. Techniques learned include forecasting, financial analysis, navigating IPOs and mergers and acquisitions.

Career in Finance vs. Accounting

Careers in finance and accounting are very distinct, as are the primary job roles of individuals in these areas. Accountants and auditors’ main responsibility is to review and maintain financial records (Bureau of Labor Statistics). As mentioned previously, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Additional certifications accountants may obtain include Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and more. These certifications can increase job prospects and demonstrate proficiency. According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants, Inc., those with certifications – CPA, CMA or both – earn 31 percent more than peers without credentials. The job outlook for accountants and auditors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as average.

Working as a financial analyst is a popular career in finance. Financial analysts assist businesses and individuals with making investment decisions (BLS). Individuals can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree, but in order to advance their career, typically need a master’s degree – either an MBA or master’s degree in finance. Financial analysts may also seek certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) to further advance their careers. The job outlook for financial analysts is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012-2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Additionally, finance vs. accounting salaries differ. The BLS reported the median salary for accountants and auditors was $63,550 in May 2012, while the median salary for financial analysts during this time was $76,950.

MBA in Finance vs. MBA in Accounting

So, which degree is the right choice for you? Individuals working in both areas can benefit from earning a credential specific to the field. Additionally the job outlook, while higher for financial analysts, is good for both. However, job responsibilities for individuals working in accounting and those working in finance are very different. It’s important to consider your areas of interest and ultimate career goals when choosing between an MBA in finance vs. MBA in accounting.

Lynn University offers an online MBA in finance. The degree provides a solid foundation in business along with specialized courses that introduce students to concepts related to the use of valuation analysis and portfolio management.

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