DePaul Online Master of Science in Accountancy Blog
Advance Your Career with DePaul’s Master of Accountancy Online Program

Advance Your Career with DePaul’s Master of Accountancy Online Program

Hands of accountant in suit using tablet with charts, clipboard and calculator at desk

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance and business, where precision and insight reign supreme, a Master of Accountancy (MSA) emerges as a beacon of opportunity and advancement.

As we peer into the future of accounting, one thing is certain: change is constant.

From technological advancements to shifting regulatory landscapes, the accounting profession is evolving to face emerging accountancy issues. Yet, amidst these changes, one thing remains steadfast: the demand for skilled certified public accountants, or CPAs, with advanced degrees and professional credentials.

The national median annual wage for accountants and auditors stands at an impressive $79,880.1 There are currently more than 1.5 million accountants and the field is expected to grow at a rate of 4% per year through 2032 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2 This data underscores the lucrative opportunities available in the field.

If you’re considering propelling your accounting career to new heights, prepare for an enlightening journey that not only shapes your professional trajectory but also deepens your expertise in the world of numbers.Read on to learn more about the transformative potential of an online Master of Accountancy program and how DePaul University’s program paves the way for success in accounting.

Understanding Today’s Accountancy Landscape

Let’s start by defining accountancy, the backbone of business operations.

Accountancy is the meticulous practice of recording, analyzing and interpreting financial data to inform critical decisions.

An MSA takes this foundation and elevates it to new heights. It’s not just about crunching numbers—it's about mastering the intricacies of financial reporting, taxation, auditing and strategic financial management.

Through an online MSA program, like DePaul’s Master of Accountancy program at the Driehaus College of Business & Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, you’ll examine these areas, honing your analytical prowess and preparing yourself to excel in the field.

What Sets a Master of Accountancy Online Degree Apart?

You might be wondering:

  • "How does an MSA differ from a traditional accounting master’s?"
  • “What is the difference between accountancy and accounting?”
  • “How can accountancy courses help in career advancement?”

The answers lie in the MSA’s specialized curriculum, which is tailored to equip you with the advanced proficiencies that today’s accounting industry demands.

The online MSA Curriculum extensively explores specialized areas including:

  • Forensic Accounting: Unraveling financial mysteries and detecting fraudulent activities through advanced investigative techniques. A deep understanding of forensic accounting principles equips you to safeguard organizations against financial misconduct and provide expert testimony in legal proceedings.
  • Taxation Nuances: Navigating the complex labyrinth of tax regulations and laws to optimize financial outcomes for individuals and businesses. Mastery of taxation intricacies enables you to devise tax-efficient strategies, minimize liabilities and maximize returns for your clients or employer.
  • Audit Procedures: Mastering the art of auditing involves mastering every aspect, from meticulous planning and comprehensive risk assessment to thorough evidence gathering and precise reporting. Through hands-on experience and rigorous training in audit methodologies, you develop the skills to ensure financial transparency, compliance and integrity in organizations of all sizes.
  • Financial Reporting Intricacies: To communicate financial performance accurately and transparently, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of financial reporting standards and frameworks. Proficiency in financial reporting empowers you to interpret financial statements, assess business performance and provide strategic insights to key stakeholders.

DePaul’s M.S. in Accountancy Curriculum and Course Highlights

In general, a reputable online MSA equips you with a comprehensive skill set that goes beyond traditional accounting education. It also provides practical knowledge and expertise that are directly applicable to real-world scenarios. This can give you a competitive advantage in the job market and position you as a trusted certified public accountant with a broader range of career options.

DePaul’s online MSA curriculum, taught by expert industry-leading faculty, aligns closely with the core areas of practice for today’s CPAs, including auditing, taxation and forensic accounting. This ensures that you receive cutting-edge instruction and practical insights that are directly applicable to the evolving demands of the accounting profession.

The M.S. in Accountancy degree requires a total of 12 courses relevant and beneficial for CPAs seeking to enhance their expertise and advance their careers. Highlights from the curriculum include:

  • 8 required core accountancy courses
  • 4 required elective courses
  • Delivered through a flexible quarter system format with in-person options

Here are a few course highlights from the curriculum:

  • ACC 547 - Auditing I: This course provides a foundational understanding of auditing principles and practices, which is essential for CPAs involved in assurance services and financial statement audits.
  • ACC 548 - Tax Treatment of Individuals and Property Transactions: Taxation is a critical area for CPAs. This course focuses on individual and property transaction tax treatment, providing essential knowledge for tax planning and compliance.
  • ACC 551 - Tax Treatment of Corporations and Partnerships: Another crucial area for CPAs, this course dives into taxation principles for corporations and partnerships, offering insights into corporate tax planning and compliance.
  • ACC 550 - Auditing II: Building upon Auditing I, this course covers advanced auditing topics and techniques, further enhancing CPAs’ skills in conducting audits and providing assurance services.
  • ACC 646 - Forensic Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation: This course is valuable for CPAs interested in forensic accounting, fraud examination and litigation support, offering specialized skills in financial statement analysis and valuation.

Becoming a CPA: How a Master’s in Accountancy Sets You Up for Success

As of 2023, the number of actively licensed CPAs totals 672,587.3 This means only roughly half of all accountants are Certified Public Accountants. Being a CPA comes with distinct advantages.

Accountants with a CPA credential commonly secure more advanced accounting positions than those without it. Due to their expertise and qualifications, CPAs typically command higher salaries than their non-CPA counterparts. The disparity between the average salary of CPAs and non-CPAs is substantial, nearing $30,000.4

Enter the CPA exam—the hallmark of accounting excellence that must be passed to become a CPA.

Passing the CPA exam requires a significant amount of preparation and dedication. The cumulative mean pass rate for each section of the CPA exam can fluctuate annually but has remained around 50% in recent years.5

Despite its difficulty, achieving CPA licensure is highly regarded in the accounting profession and opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities and advancement.6

Additionally, now is an opportune time to become a CPA due to a high demand for professionals across various industries like healthcare, technology and other professional services. With many experienced CPAs coming into retirement age, the accountancy industry is beginning to open up ample opportunities for aspiring CPAs to fill crucial roles.7

Opting for an online Master of Accountancy program from an accredited university with a stellar reputation and top faculty can significantly enhance your chances of success.

Such programs not only provide a structured curriculum designed to cover the breadth and depth of topics tested on the CPA exam but also offer valuable resources, support and guidance to help students excel.

With proper study materials, guidance and practice like those offered in an accredited online MSA program, candidates can increase their chances of passing the CPA exam successfully.

Career Opportunities in Accountancy

Fast forward to your professional zenith: envision yourself as a seasoned accountant, adeptly navigating complex financial landscapes with confidence and precision. Career opportunities for CPAs with an MSA degree are myriad.

According to the BLS, “About 126,500 openings for accountants and auditors are projected each year, on average, over the next decade,” through 2023.2

Indeed.com states that individuals equipped with a respected online Master of Accountancy degree and CPA designation can pursue the following career roles:

  • Auditor: Examines financial statements to ensure accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations.6
  • Chartered Accountant: Holds a professional accounting qualification and often works in auditing, taxation or financial management.6
  • Financial Adviser: Provides financial guidance and advice to individuals or businesses.6
  • Forensic Accountant: Investigates financial discrepancies and fraud, often for legal purposes.6
  • Government Accountant: Manages and maintains financial records for government agencies.6
  • Investment Accountant: Manages financial portfolios and investments for individuals or organizations.6
  • Management Accountant: Provides financial information and analysis to help businesses make informed decisions.6
  • Project Accountant: Manages finances for specific projects within an organization.6
  • Tax Examiner: Ensures individuals and businesses comply with tax laws and regulations.6

In these varied roles, your MSA and CPA designation serve as badges of honor, signifying your dedication to excellence and your commitment to driving organizational success in the dynamic world of accounting.H3: Emerging Accounting Trends and Their Influence on Job Skill Demands

The trends in accounting as highlighted by the Forbes article, "Challenges And Opportunities For Accounting Departments In 2023," suggest several shifts in the skills and competencies required in the job market.8

In addition to the fundamental skills of analytical thinking, attention to detail, effective communication skills, ethical judgment, problem-solving abilities and adaptability, here is how these emerging trends might affect the skills needed:

  1. Advanced Financial Analysis and Forecasting: With increasing budget uncertainties and the need for precise estimates, professionals with skills in advanced financial analysis, forecasting and scenario planning will be in high demand. Accountants will need to adeptly predict financial outcomes and prepare for various economic scenarios.8
  2. Proficiency in New Standards: As new accounting and financial reporting standards, like those for credit losses and potentially ESG reporting, come into play, accountants will need to stay updated and proficient in these standards. This includes understanding the specifics of revenue recognition, lease standards and more.8
  3. Data Science and Analytics: The opportunity to capitalize on data will require accountants to have skills in data analytics. Understanding how to extract, interpret and leverage data effectively will be crucial. This involves statistical analysis, data visualization and potentially some programming skills like SQL or Python for handling large datasets.8
  4. Digital Literacy and IT Skills: The increasing importance of digital and crypto assets, along with a general trend towards digital transformation in accounting processes, means that accountants will need strong digital literacy. This includes familiarity with blockchain technology, digital asset management and cybersecurity fundamentals to safeguard sensitive financial information.8
  5. Adaptability to Technological Tools: As automation and new technologies play a larger role in accounting, professionals must be adept at using these technologies. Skills in automated accounting software, ERP systems and other financial management tools will be critical.8
  6. Soft Skills and Strategic Thinking: With the need to navigate complex and evolving environments, soft skills such as strategic thinking, problem-solving and adaptability are more important than ever. Accountants will need to think beyond traditional roles and consider broader business impacts.8
  7. Regulatory Compliance: As regulatory frameworks evolve, particularly with potential new ESG reporting standards, accountants must understand and navigate these changes effectively. This includes continual learning and adaptation to maintain compliance and integrity in reporting.8
  8. Remote Collaboration: The shift towards remote and hybrid work environments requires skills in digital communication and remote collaboration tools. Accountants must be able to work effectively in virtual teams, managing workflows and maintaining productivity from a distance.8

These evolving needs emphasize a shift from traditional accounting skills to a broader, more integrated approach that includes technical, analytical and soft skills.

As the field adapts to these new demands, ongoing education and professional development will be key for accountants aiming to remain competitive in the job market.

How DePaul’s Online MSA prepares you for skills and trends

Many professionals in the accounting field also pursue further education, such as a Master of Accounting (MAcc) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA), to enhance their proficiency and understanding of the industry.4

Exposure in DePaul’s online classroom to real-world case studies—particularly from prestigious firms like KPMG—offers invaluable opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios.

This hands-on experience fosters critical thinking, problem-solving abilities and adaptability, equipping students with the skills needed to excel in the fast-paced environment of accounting.

Embrace the Future of Accounting With DePaul’s 100% Online MSA

Embarking on the journey to earn an online Master of Accountancy with CPA exam preparation isn’t just a step towards career advancement—it’s a significant stride towards a future teeming with opportunities.

As you prepare to take this next important step, you might want to know:how long it takes to complete DePaul’s online Master of Accountancy and what are the prerequisites, if any.

Well, here are your answers!

DePaul’s online Master of Accountancy program offers flexibility and efficiency, enabling you to balance your studies with professional and personal commitments so you can earn your MSA in as little as 12 months.

The program also offers comprehensive preparation for the CPA exam, the opportunity to take certain elective courses in person and networking the powerful DePaul Blue Demon alumni network. Tuition and financial aid options are available, as is an 8K tuition scholarship to all students who are accepted into the program.

Even better, it’s open to individuals from diverse undergraduate backgrounds—no undergraduate degree in accounting, finance, or business is required to apply.

If you’re ready to advance your accounting career, enroll in DePaul’s online Master of Accountancy program today.

DePaul University has engaged Everspring, a leading provider of education and technology services, to support select aspects of program delivery.