July 6, 2016 at 4:42 pm #203474
I am 33 living in Miami with a BA in Public Administration.
Almost all of my work experience is Accounting/Budget/Administrative related and currently making $23/hour working in a public college. I enjoy working with numbers, budgets, forecasting, variances, reconciliations and the individualistic/detail oriented side part of my working experience. I would love to continue learning and moving up within an Accounting/Budgeting related role however, almost all positions at the next level up are asking for BA in Accounting. I have applied only within public and large private but, the only responses I've received are to ask if I have any credits in Accounting.
Some people have suggested going for an MBA however, the cost is considerably high in comparison to a BA in Accounting and MAcc programs in Florida require a Business related degree. In addition, I'm not very interested in management.
I'm trying to decide what method to take.
Would a 2nd BA in Accounting be a good idea and would the pay after graduation be near what I am currently making?
Please provide any feedback, opinions and/or real life experiences.July 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm #785639msgoldsParticipant
You should go for a Masters of Accounting Program. Less expensive and time-consuming than a second Bachelors or an MBA, and will give you all of the core classes you need to go for your CPA later. I know my alma mater of Virginia Tech offered it.July 6, 2016 at 5:04 pm #785640
Unfortunately, my degree does not qualify me for a Masters in Accounting program in FL. They require a Business related degree.July 6, 2016 at 5:19 pm #785641jm962011Participant
look for some reputable schools that offer online programs for MAcc.. they prob require a GMAT and you might need to take some basic accounting 101 classes but you should not get another bachelors
I went to the Indiana University's Kelley School of Business Indianapolis campus for my undergrad. They had an MST, MBA, and MAcc grad degrees that didn't require a business undergrad. Granted, you have to meet other prereqs like accounting 201, 202, econ something and a fews other which you could take 1 semester before starting the grad program.July 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm #785642AnonymousInactive
Since you work at a college, I have to ask, what are your free-tuition options through your employer? Is it undergrad only or bachelor's and master's both? Full tuition or half tuition? Etc.
Then, if I was in your shoes, I'd base my decision in part at least off of that. If you get free tuition or substantially reduced through any FL public college or university, then I'd definitely stick to a FL public college or university. If all the MAcc programs in that network require a BA in Business or Accounting, then I'd definitely look into getting the BA rather than the Master's.
BA should also be quicker and easier to complete. More credits than a Masters, but easier credits, and since you'll have pre-reqs for the Masters, maybe not more credits anyway. You've already got all the gen eds done; all you need is the major-specific courses. Your Public Admin degree probably fulfills some of the Business core requirements (you probably had some classes with Marketing content, for example), so you're probably looking at 25-45 credits that you'd need to complete. If you can find a school within the FL system (assuming that's your tuition-bonus options) that has online courses to meet those requirements, then you can take them around your current work and at very low cost to you.
As for starting pay – that varies based on where you are. From what I've gathered on here, FL has a high demand for CPAs so some of the better starting pay, and as such should be competitive or an improvement.
One thing you're likely to lose moving to accounting, though, in comparison to your current job, is the great schedule. Colleges usually have a 37.5-40 hour work week that is actually followed – when 4:30 or 5 comes and you're supposed to go home, you actually can, all but a handful of days a year. In accounting, generally you work late as a regular thing. I'm in accounting at a college (Controller) and, from my understanding, my predecessor worked decent hours most of the time, just longer during fiscal year-end and audit time, and once per quarter for preparing quarterly reports. However, during my time here, we've lost a lot of positions in the Business Office, so my hours have extended quite a bit. This means that I work long hours despite being at a college. But, my hours are still better than, from what I've gathered, most accounting jobs. For public accounting to have 80 hours weeks for 4+ months a year (and up to 100 for part of that) and 45 hour weeks for the rest is not uncommon; for private to have 45-50 year-round with longer (60-80) for month-end (first or last week of the month) every month and for 2-3 months at quarter-end and 1-2 months at year-end isn't uncommon.
I love accounting. Really, truly, and fully. But one thing I don't love that came with accounting is the schedule. I got a job in college accounting (which may be a field you could easily move into as well) with the hope that it would provide the schedule I wanted with the work I love. From my understanding, my job's hours will be good in the future and were before I had it, but for now, I do work longer hours than I'm supposed to. That being said, they're in the 50-55 range most of the time, not the 80-100 that you see in public accounting, so I still can't complain like others can. If you're interested in college accounting, you may already be familiar with this site having been in higher ed for some time, but if not, you can see the standard salaries for various administrative positions including accounting here: https://www.higheredjobs.com/salary/ Accountant average salary nationwide at all size institutions is $47k. That'd be about comparable to what you make now. Senior accountant is $60k and head of accounting or Controller are $85-90k. Now I'm in a very low COL are at a small school etc. so I don't make $85-90k. 😀 However, it's still a comfortable job, and I'm still happy with it.July 6, 2016 at 6:27 pm #785643nadrojParticipant
How many classes would you have to take to add the BA in Accounting on top of your current BA?July 6, 2016 at 6:45 pm #785644choffnerParticipant
I got my first BS in Architecture. When I turned to accounting, I found a local college that didn't require the GMAT. I was going to do the Masters in accounting, but it was the same cost, same time frame, and the same number of courses as just earning a second BS in accounting (I already had all my GECs from my previous degree). So I chose the BS because I'd rather have the foundation level accounting courses than the advanced accounting courses.July 6, 2016 at 7:41 pm #785645
nadroj, I'm looking at around 18 classes. I will need both upper grad Business Core (7) and Accounting core (9), with a couple of pre reqs.
Lilla, they reimburse $227 per credit with a course load limit of (8) semester hours.July 6, 2016 at 7:42 pm #785646SangParticipant
I think it is never too late to go back to school.
Some of my classmates for my bachelor's in Accounting degree were in their 50's.
The easier route would be to get the necessary accounting classes to take the CPA exam.
The harder route would be to get a bachelorâ€™s in Accounting, masterâ€™s in Accounting, and the CPA license.
So at 26, I decided to go back to school to pursue a career in Accounting.
I got my bachelorâ€™s degree in Accounting at 28, and my masterâ€™s degree in Accounting at 30.
Now I am pursuing my CPA license to further my career.
I think the best way to increase your salary is to go work for a CPA firm for 2-3 years, and then return to industry for an accounting manager or controller position.July 6, 2016 at 9:26 pm #785647AnonymousInactive
Dont do another bachelors..take classes through a community college..youll have to seek them out but they have ones that exist specially for CPA post grad students..
You will have better teachers for a fraction of the cost because most of the teachers are working professional and not academics..
Masters are a joke if you have the CPA unless its in tax or something specialzed\
Experience will trump everything though in publicJuly 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm #785648MehowParticipant
Roughly starting 60k in public accounting is nearly $30/hour if you work 2080 hours a year. You'll be working a lot more than that but that's how the salary gets you. I don't know what the salary is in Florida though.July 10, 2016 at 9:07 pm #785649sam85Participant
Please take it from my personal experience and DO NOT get a second bachelors degree. I graduated with a degree in accounting, but was 12 credits short of 150 credits. I went to an old professor to seek their advice on the best way to get those credits, while having them be meaningful. I didn't want to take random junk credits, so I was debating whether to get my MPAcc, MBA, or a certificate of some sort in finance (I like finance). My professor suggested to get a second bachelor degree in finance and have a future employer pay for my MBA later. I took that advice and hate myself for doing it. Not only will the job I will be starting require a masters degree to advance, if I choose to change companies instead, my competition for those jobs will be people mostly with masters. All I can think of is that I could be almost half way done with my masters right now.
I know your situation is a little different than mine, but it is similar to a former co-worker of mine. He had his undergrad in engineering and wanted to change fields. He ended up getting into a master of accounting program, got his CPA, and now works at large Fortune 500 company. Needless to say, I highly doubt he regrets getting a masters over a second bachelors.
With all that said, I think you need to ask yourself what your long-term goals are. If your long-term goals include any job/company that could be considered competitive, go for your masters. If it doesn't, still consider a second bachelors. ..Lastly, take into account your GPA. Did you have a high GPA with your first undergrad degree? If no, you need to consider that. You'll be bring that GPA with you to this new degree and it's hard to bring GPAs up when you have only 18 credits left. While it's not impossible to get a good accounting job with a low GPA (<3.5), it's definitely harder to. With a masters you'll have a clean slate.July 10, 2016 at 9:12 pm #785650sam85Participant
I forgot to say… I know that it sounds like your job at the college sounds like it's a non-teaching role, but if you do have any desire to possibly teach someday, a masters is normally required.July 13, 2016 at 5:27 pm #785651
Thank you to everyone for their input. I am going to look into an MSA program (currently looking into UCONN), while I begin taking pre-reqs with the local University (as a 2nd bachelor in accounting major for Financial Aid purposes).August 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm #812976neauxParticipant
The truth is that only you know what's best for you. In my opinion, this is purely a financial decision. Someone stated that a Master's is less expensive and time consuming which is true for some people (mostly people who have an accounting undergraduate degree). However, I would argue that a 2nd Bachelor is the better decision. Business master degrees tend to be higher and you will be required to take leveling classes before taking graduate level courses. A second bachelor takes 2 years or less on average. You can’t take up to 60 hours in one year if you wanted to. I took 54 hours in one year.
What others have failed to mention is that you will not be eligible for CPA with a Macc only because you do not have a business academic background. So a Macc is only part of the cost and only part of the time you should consider in your decision. In addition, a Macc does not result in higher income. The CPA and experience does. Those are facts.
A second bachelor’s has everything you will need to sit for CPA in your state and just as many opportunities to be involved in recruiting.
If it matters, I was in a similar situation with a BA in Sociology. Plus I went to a private school that doesn’t use a common core state system so I know what you are thinking. If I had gotten a Macc, I would still have to pay and take leveling courses and take additional business courses to sit for CPA.May 24, 2019 at 5:19 am #2423157SafeParticipant
Kinda late to the party, but I feel caught up enough to the convo having read to the bottom…
I am in somewhat of the same position. 25 with a B.A. in economics in 2016, from a smaller upstate ny university. i worked in an unrelated industry until late 2017, when i decided to finally ask the question of myself: what do i want to do with my degree (and me debt from said degree)? I spoke with trusted friends and family that had been in accounting and it encouraged me to go for it since nothing was really stopping me and i wanted to apply myself to something that really interested me…a little too much narrative here, sorry…the QUESTION: Having worked in an accounting clerk position for a full year and going back to take a community college course in accounting, what should be the next move, with the aim of sitting for the CPA?
Other questions: – Again, BA econ + BA acc VS. BA econ + Macc…? — are those the only avenues for progressing towards taking the CPA?
– Is there an order in which I have to obtain my educational credits and accounting work experience? e.g. can i ask
the Controller of my company to approve of counting my hours worked thus far towards the work experience requirement?
I obviously have a whole lot more research to do, but any input from you all would be welcome and appreciated. ThanksMay 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm #2424231bigstakkParticipant
Many universities offer a Certificate of Accounting that is not as rigorous as a masters program, but is equivalent to the undergraduate major requirements. I would look into that.May 24, 2019 at 1:51 pm #2424255bigstakkParticipant
Oh and a MAcc 100% does put you in position to get paid more. Public accounting firms offer a couple thousand more for associates and many companies prefer or require a grad degree if you don’t have a cpa. I have a MAcc and it has certainly afforded me much more money and opportunities. Without a CPA you likely have issues getting a manager or above job without a MAcc. Manager is certainly attainable, but controller or director level positions will be tough to get without a cpa or masters.
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