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Top Accounting Careers for MAcc Majors

Explore the wide range of career opportunities available today for master of accounting degree graduates. Learn about salaries, job growth, degree costs, financial aid, and more.

Author: Michael Hoffman

Editor: Kim Zaski

A person works at a desk using a calculator and writing in a notebook. An invoice is displayed on a tablet stand to the left. The scene is bright and well-lit, with sunlight streaming in.

You might be surprised at how much you can do with a master of accounting (MAcc) degree. If you already have an accounting bachelor’s degree and CPA license, earning your MAcc is a great way to move up the career ladder into higher-paying and more challenging leadership roles.

Launching your career with an MAcc gives you an automatic advantage over job seekers with only a bachelor’s in accounting. What may be most surprising is that MAcc degree holders aren’t limited to careers strictly as accountants.

That’s what this guide is about. We’ll introduce you to the range of jobs you can fill with your master of accounting degree and answer some frequently asked questions prospective MAcc students have. Ready to find out where you can go with your accounting master’s? Read on to learn about the top careers available for today’s MAcc graduates.

Today’s Best Careers for Master of Accounting (MAcc) Grads

Below are 10 top careers often filled by master of accounting graduates. You’ll also find some current salary figures and job growth projections. Some of these careers will seem obvious, but others may surprise you.

Accountant

Most master of accounting graduates will obtain their Certified Public Accountant license and pursue a career as a CPA. Requirements for becoming a CPA include 150 semester hours of college coursework (30 hours beyond the 120 typically required for a bachelor’s degree) and passing the Uniform CPA Examination.

MAcc programs offer students the additional coursework to qualify for the CPA exam. Accountants often focus their careers in specialized areas of practice, including forensic accounting, tax accounting, management accounting, government accounting, cost accounting, and investment accounting.

Career Spotlight: Accountant/Auditor

Accountants and auditors are both highly trained accounting professionals. The main difference is that accountants prepare financial documents and auditors review and verify those financial documents for completeness and accuracy. An MAcc degree can prepare you for both roles.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Accountant/Auditor

$79,880

$137,280

2% to 4%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts create, develop, and review budgets for businesses and organizations to help them effectively structure and allocate their financial resources. They also act as advisors to those businesses and organizations in evaluating proposals and projects and recommending solutions to any budgetary discrepancies that might arise.

Entry-level employment as a budget analyst typically requires, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a closely related major such as accounting. However, many employers, particularly larger ones, prefer job candidates with a master’s degree. Because the creation of budgets requires strong analytical and numeric skills, an MAcc can be an ideal degree choice for anyone intending to launch or advance a career as a budget analyst.

Career Spotlight: Budget Analyst

Budget analyst jobs are available in all industries and sectors of the economy. Practically any business or organization (public, private, nonprofit, government) that counts on effective budgeting of their resources is a prospective employer of an accounting-trained budget analyst.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Budget Analyst

$84,940

$131,630

2%-4%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Chief Financial Officer

The chief financial officer (CFO) is the top-level executive whose role is to oversee an organization’s financial functions. These have traditionally included financial planning, taxation, and cash flow activities, as well as the creation of financial statements.

In recent years, that role has expanded to include making major financing and investment decisions, developing portfolio strategies, communicating directly with stakeholders, and more. Most chief financial officers possess, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or accounting. Larger companies often require a master’s degree like an MAcc for their CFOs.

Career Spotlight: Chief Financial Officer (Chief Executive)

CFOs, along with other chief executive positions (chief executive officer, chief operations officer, etc.) are among the highest-paid employees of major businesses and nonprofits of all kinds, as indicated by the figures below. It’s important to remember that earnings can vary substantially, depending primarily on the size and scope of the business or organization.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Chief Executive

$206,680

$239,200+

-2%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Database Administrator

Most companies today, particularly larger ones, commonly employ the use of digital accounting information systems to store, analyze, and manipulate large accounting databases. Skilled administrators are required to operate and maintain these systems. Entry-level employment as a database administrator typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a closely related field.

The opportunity for advancement or employment in large accounting departments may be enhanced by earning your MAcc degree with a specialization in data administration or data analytics. If you enjoy working with computers and analyzing information and data, a career as an accounting database administrator may be for you.

Career Spotlight: Database Administrator

The specialized job of database administrator offers notably high earnings potential, particularly at the median salary level. What you earn as an accounting database administrator will depend on your level of professional experience as well as the size of your specific employer.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Database Administrators and Architects

$101,510

$157,710

5%-8%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts specialize in the assessment of the financial health of an organization. Specifically, they assess the performance of the organization’s financial portfolio (cash on hand, stocks, bonds, and other investments) to advise executives on investing to increase profits and reach organizational goals. Some financial analysts further specialize as accounting analysts who collect and analyze industry financial data to help leaders make better investments.

You can work as a financial analyst with a bachelor’s degree, but earning a finance-related master’s degree like an MAcc can give you a big advantage over other job seekers, particularly for advanced positions with larger employers.

Career Spotlight: Financial and Investment Analysts

Salaries and job growth estimates are solid for financial and investment analysts. Earnings for those in the top 10% are particularly noteworthy, and the projected job growth estimate of 5% to 8% is characterized by the BLS as “faster than average” when compared to the job market for all occupations.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Financial and Investment Analysts

$99,010

$175,840

5%-8%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners are responsible for ensuring their clients or employers comply with all laws and regulations governing their financial activities and transactions. They also ensure that organizational dealings with banks and other financial institutions meet all legal and contractual requirements.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a business-related major is typically required for entry-level financial examiner jobs. Degree programs should include substantial coursework in accounting, which makes earning an MAcc degree especially valuable for those seeking top-tier roles in the profession. Financial examiners are often CPAs as well and may also possess one or more professional certifications in the financial examiner field.

Career Spotlight: Financial Examiner

Financial examiner is another potential occupation for MAcc grads that offers high salaries. The job growth estimate of 9% or higher indicates a high level of long-term job security for those choosing this occupation.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Financial Examiner

$84,300

$165,670

9%+

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Financial Manager

The role of the financial manager is like a financial analyst in that both jobs focus on protecting the financial health of their organizations. The main difference is in the level each fulfills within the organization. Financial managers ensure the financial integrity of their employer’s business, which often includes overseeing the work of financial analysts. A bachelor’s degree in a business-related major is the minimum requirement for financial manager positions.

A financial manager is an advanced role that requires years of work experience (a minimum of five according to the BLS) in a related occupation like financial analyst or accountant. Employers may prefer job candidates with a graduate degree, along with years of professional employment.

Career Spotlight: Financial Manager

As an advanced professional role, financial managers enjoy some of the highest salaries among all occupations open to those with a graduate-level accounting education. Projected job growth for financial managers is also exceptionally strong when compared to other occupations in the field and all occupations taken together.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Financial Manager

$156,100

$239,200+

9%+

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors apply their professional expertise to advise individual clients on all aspects of their financial well-being. Specific duties include reviewing and assessing client assets and liabilities, tax concerns, insurance needs, and more to develop strategies that help each client meet their financial objectives. There are several paths you can take to become a personal financial advisor, but practically all of those paths begin with earning a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related major like accounting.

Career advancement typically requires a substantial amount of work experience which can be enhanced by earning an accounting master’s and obtaining one or more professional certifications. Personal financial advisors can be self-employed but most commonly work for financial services providers including banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and brokers.

Career Spotlight: Personal Financial Advisor

The range of potential earnings for personal financial advisors is broad, due primarily to the nature of the occupation and the level of client wealth serviced by the personal financial advisor. Projected job growth is exceptional for this occupation.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Personal Financial Advisor

$99,580

$239,200+

9%+

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Real Estate Broker

Real estate brokers are licensed, independent professionals who assist in buying and selling residential and commercial real estate. You can start your career with a high school diploma or equivalent, but you’ll need to complete approved real estate courses to obtain your license. If you decide to become a real estate broker, you’ll need experience working as a real estate agent for a state-issued broker license.

A MAcc degree, particularly one that includes real estate coursework, can help you to advance your practice and handle more complex and profitable commercial and industrial real estate transactions. If you’re a self-starter, working as a real estate broker can be both a challenging and lucrative career choice.

Career Spotlight: Real Estate Broker

Real estate broker earnings vary substantially from broker to broker due primarily to the independent nature of the occupation and the specific real estate market covered. Projected long-term job growth for real estate brokers is described by the BLS as average when compared to the overall job market.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Real Estate Broker

$63,060

$160,980

2% – 4%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

Sales Manager

A sales manager oversees all aspects of a business’s sales operations. Responsibilities vary according to business size, but typically include recruiting, training, and directing sales teams; working with leadership to develop and implement sales strategies to meet stated goals; communicating with customers to determine their needs; and collecting and analyzing sales statistics.

Launching a career in sales management typically requires a bachelor’s degree with the advantage going to those who have completed coursework in a variety of business-related subjects, including accounting. Substantial experience as a sales representative is also critical. Earning an MAcc degree can provide additional advanced knowledge and skills applicable to effective sales team leadership, making MAcc graduates especially attractive job candidates to large, complex businesses and organizations.

Career Spotlight: Sales Manager

Sales manager is another career option for MAcc degree holders that boasts notably high salaries, particularly in the upper percentiles. What you earn as a sales manager will depend on the nature and size of your organization and job responsibilities.

Career Median Salary (2023) Top 10% Salary Projected Growth (2032)

Sales Manager

$135,160

$239,200+

2% – 4%

Source: O*Net Online, 2023

FAQs: Accounting Careers & MAcc Degrees

Is it worthwhile to earn a master’s degree in the accounting field?

In terms of income potential, you’ll have to decide if pursuing an MAcc degree is worth your time and effort, based on the affordability of your degree program. Before you decide, consider this recent study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, which found that two years after graduating, those with accounting master’s degrees netted $52,800 after debt payments — higher than bachelor’s degree grads who netted $39,600.

Speaking of affordability, accounting students who are uncertain if earning a full master’s degree is worthwhile may want to consider a quality, affordable graduate certificate in accounting as an alternative to an MAcc.

Do I need to take the GMAT to qualify for an online MAcc program?

That will depend on your specific program. There was a time when GMAT scores were always required when applying to an online MAcc program. While many schools still mandate GMAT or GRE test scores, there are plenty of others that no longer require them. Others, like the University of Colorado Denver, have made submittal of scores an option, and North Carolina State University has waived the requirement for a minimum undergraduate GPA.

What scholarships or financial aid resources are available to help offset the cost of my accounting degree?

Qualifying online MAcc students have access to a wide range of financial aid resources including scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, employer tuition reimbursement, VA benefits, and more. There are also student loans offered through the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program. Be sure to contact your school’s financial aid office for details on the funding opportunities available to help you pay for your online MAcc program.

What are the top fields or industries that hire accounting graduates?

Not surprisingly, MAcc degree holders will find the vast majority of job opportunities will be with accounting firms, as well as with tax preparation services, bookkeeping businesses, and payroll services, according to the BLS. Other major fields that employ accountants include finance and insurance industries and federal, state, and local governments. MAcc graduates are also often self-employed accounting professionals.

Who are some major employers in the accounting field?

If you know anything about the accounting profession, then you’ve probably heard of the “Big 4” accounting firms. The Big 4 (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), and PricewaterhouseCoopers) are the four largest accounting firms by revenue in the world. In addition, according to Glassdoor, the Big 4 were four of the five top companies hiring for accountant positions. Other major employers, according to Glassdoor, include Robert Half, CBRE, BNY Mellon, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and State Street.