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CPA vs Master of Science in Accountancy

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Replies to: CPA vs Master of Science in Accountancy

  • Mercutio221Mercutio221 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Take it from someone in the Federal Government working as an auditor and CPA with an MPAcc. It carries a lot of clout to have your Masters degree.

    Seriously, if you can get it done with just one extra year. DO IT! That way, you never have to worry about going back to school again, unless it's for personal fulfillment...not because, "I need to have a Masters."

    Just saying I have a Masters degree (which was obtained via a 5 year undergrad/grad program) allows me to be in the "Master's Degree Holder" clubs...which aren't exclusive of course...but are societal groups that run rampant in DC.

    Anyway, I'm 25...and am not even thinking about grad school anymore because the pressure is off. Should I get an MBA? Meh, maybe. Right now I'm working on a Personal MBA program. Good enough for now because I already have a Masters.

    Catch my drift?

    Now I now you posted four years ago...but for anyone else in this same situation, get your Masters!!!! It might not pay off right away in the short term...but in the long-term, it will be well worth it.
  • DawgieDawgie Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    The only reason for MSA is for recruiters and CPA credits.
  • croato87croato87 Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    Top MBA programs need to get serious about teaching accounting. Big 4 firms need to start hiring people out of top business schools as managers, even if they have no prior experience in the accounting industry.

    We need our best minds on the paper chase.
  • tfortorytfortory Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    My undergrad major was History and now after a 5 years of working in Real Estate, Escrow specifically, I'm thinking about going into accounting or some form of operations management. I'm also debating the CPA vs Masters in Accounting vs MBA route. Just taking the necessary courses at a community college (I'm in CA btw) to get the CPA is absolutely the more inexpensive way but I'm wondering if the the MSA or MBA might have a bigger payoff in the long run. Would the MSA (in addition to the CPA) look better for me since I have no previous coursework in accounting/business or is the CPA all that counts in getting a job in a Big 4 or in corporate accounting? Should I be considering an MBA instead since it has more flexibility and I won't just be restricted to "accounting" job titles? IS doing a MSA or MBA to just get in touch with recruiters and network be "worth it"? What have your career paths looked like?
  • BnThrDnThtBnThrDnTht Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Yeah...lots of folks are drawn away to the dark side..hehe...
  • BnThrDnThtBnThrDnTht Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    "A lot of people have responded concerning having an MSA and working in the Big 4, but can anyone give any insight in not having the MSA but having the CPA and working for the federal government? I realize that I will start out at a lower paygrade, but will there be any other negative side effects from not having the MSA?"

    Here is what is now happening..even with the government, due to the recession, people are being hired with serious advanced degrees for positions which only 'require' a bachelors but not a CPA. Eventually, you will have to compete for higher grades and promotions against those people. Where do you want to be at in that ranking?

    I know this as I've been there 10 years with a bachelors and am now looking to go get my Masters of Tax..
  • FlatcalFlatcal Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    The Masters in Taxation represents a large plus down the road to an individual working in tax. If you look at the current job advertisements for tax managers at even the regional firms and in corporate tax accounting, most of these advertisements mention the Masters in Taxation as large plus in what the employer looks for.

    As a student, you may consider looking past right now to what you will need down the road......

    Sure, you can get the masters as you work on your career but that does represent a challenging event ..... working and going to school over several years.

    In the end, these degrees are not about what is best for the big four at the current moment, its what is best for you over your career. The two may not be mutually inclusive.
  • TMORE05TMORE05 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    All I can tell you is, it don't matter wheter you have MSA or MBA you must be certified as a CPA. This give you the credibility and even add up to your value as an accountant. Well if you meet the CPA requirement go for it right away, if not I will advise you get MSA or MBA concentration in Accounting. This might enable you meet the requirement. I don't know if just the undergraduate degree will qualify you for the CPA. If it will go for it but my advise will be to back the CPA liscene with MSA or MBA. I have my MBA and now studying for the CPA exam.
  • ValleyAccountantValleyAccountant Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    Well I understand that many people will have a tuition benefit that allows reimbursement for a masters. Working while going to school is not everyone's cup of tea particularly with large CPA firms. Working 60-70 hours while going to school and studying for 10 is not feasible for most people. This is why the graduate degree immediately is not necessarily a bad idea as long as you don't have to take out too many loans.

    As far as the MBA being superior to a MSA or MST it really depends on the school you go to and what field you want to work in. I would much rather have a MSA from University of Southern California than an MBA from Cal State LA. The former degree is far more valuable due to the USC brand name.

    The MST degree is preferred for promotion to manager or partner. Most undergraduates don't get enough tax coursework.
  • XaviFMXaviFM Registered User Posts: 952 Member
    It's hard for me to take people seriously when they pop up, make one statement in support of MAcc degrees and then never log on here again.
  • bluefish2bluefish2 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    My son is going into his senior year this fall. He is an accounting major and has received an internship at a big 5 firm next summer. He is going back and forth on his plans for doing a graduate degree.
    He is hesitant about doing another year doing accounting courses and is thinking about doing a masters in Finance which may still satisfy the NY State 150 requirements and may leave him more options in his career.
    Has anyone taken this route?
  • xelinkxelink Registered User Posts: 1,125 Senior Member
    What I'd suggest

    Interview for FT positions with the Big 4 beginning of senior year(preferably you had an internship during the summer before and got an offer that way)

    If you get no offers do the Masters.


    Getting the master's by itself is meaningless. The pay bump is something like $3000 at the Big 4. Financially it doesn't make sense to PAY 10-50k for a Masters for a 3k boost(and give up 1 year's worth of income which will pretty much not work out)




    To the person with the Son thinking of a Master's in Finance. I'd say do the job FIRST, then get the Masters. Big 4 experience looks good when applying to graduate. Direct him towards something like transfer pricing or financial advisory services.



    Top MBA programs need to get serious about teaching accounting. Big 4 firms need to start hiring people out of top business schools as managers, even if they have no prior experience in the accounting industry.

    We need our best minds on the paper chase.

    Then the Big 4 need to up their pay. A Big 4 manager might pull 70-90k depending. A consulting associate might pull 120-180 for comparable hours...

    Accounting is NOT a high paying profession
    pay: accounting<consulting<banking
  • uscmom123uscmom123 Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    Would appreciate receiving opinions on value of Masters in Acct.degree. Sophomore daughter majoring in acctg can get her undergrad degree in 3 years (lots of AP's) and her masters in acctg in her 4th year thereby accumulating 150 credits to sit for her CPA. Or she can do her undergrad in 4 still graduating with 150 credits and sit for her CPA. If she goes the undergrad in 4 years route, she can still stay in her sorority and have a more relaxed, fun undergrad experience. Either way she will be a CPA at the end of 4 years.
  • marjorie019marjorie019 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    For me it is better to choose the master science accountancy however it is more convenient to you that you will choose CPA and you know the reason right.Well in Finland i am still studying and business school and i wanna learn a lot about business and financially stuff so after i learn this i will study more few years to be professional someday.
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