CPA vs. Masters? - Page 2

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  • #849751
    Scared-cpa
    Participant

    I'm currently pursuing my MBA while studying for the CPA exam. I talked with a recruiter in a larger city that I plan on moving to when I graduate and he said a Master's is important but a CPA is definitely more important. However, if there are two candidates who are both CPAs but only one has an MBA, then the employer will pick the one with both. If you only want to do one, of course, a CPA license is better. But both can help put you one step above the many CPAs who only hold a Bachelors.

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    #849945
    Vanessachy
    Participant

    I think you should do both.

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    #1401278
    RaulB
    Participant

    Hey all,

    I need some advise on my situation. So I am.on my way to the CPA track just have a couple.of classes left which are Adv Acct, Cost and Business Law. All has gone very well. I am.not worried about the 150 unit requirement because I ve gone the community college route. As I have read everyone's posts I get quite surprised to hear stories about how a masters is pretty worthless without the CPA. Even though my advisors have said the same thing as you guys have said, its always on the back of my mind because not having the Accounting degree I got a sociology one from.UCLA its pretty much a hit or miss for me with not so much backup. I ve always had the mindset that the CPA should be kind of the icing in the cake and if in case I somehow dont.pass after multiple attempts that I at least have that degree. Having said that I am excited and hungry about striving for everything that I have had. I would like to hear on feedback as to really why a Masters in Accounting is not too recommended if one has the units and such. Does anyone think that I should strive for one if I dont end up passing the CPA exams? The main reason I didnt go the masters route is because of the cost, spending time studying for the GRE and GMAT which I feel I am.better off studying and taking Acct courses instead and also admitedly that a masters has been pretty much devalued. I know I am in the right track, I just feel like that kid in the minority. I have worked in the Acct field so not worried about this not in a CPA firm.per say but that is something that I would look into down the line when hopefully I have started.passing some.parts.

    Also another question. Does anyone here recommend me to take any repeat courses as refreshers? I last took Principles.of Acct 2 in 2008 and Auditing in 2010 I wonder if its advisable for me.to take this course to be up to speed. What happened is that I retook Acct 1 as a refresher in late 2015 and took all my Intermediate course sequence last year. The reason that I skipped Accounting 2 is because Interm Acct mirrors more Acct 1 just that in an advanced way more journal entries and gets into more detail. My plan is to take Acct 2 in the Winter and then in the Spring finish it off with Advanced Acct. In.the summer.is when I plan in taking Auditing. Any thoughts about this? Happy New year everyone!!!

    Raul

    RB
    #1401282
    Tncincy
    Participant

    If you're gonna meet the 150 credit hour requirement you are at an advantage to go on and get the masters (IMO)

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    #1401285
    Tncincy
    Participant

    studying for this test is a refresher…..id you have graduated already or taken the class already I would not spend the amount of college course money to repeat a class.

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    #1401293
    Missy
    Participant

    The reason most people warn agaist the masters in accounting is the ROI. Usually a masters degree (in accounting) doesn't increase lifetime earnings enough to justify tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. Generally a person with both a masters and a CPA license makes about the same as the person with the CPA license alone. Employers simply don't value graduate degrees in accounting, I have both and have certainly found that to be the case. You'll be hard pressed to find a job listing that requires a masters in accounting or even prefers one.

    There are very few college level courses that are a good basis for the cpa exam, money is better spent on a solid CPA review. Most college courses teach a very small number of concepts in great depth while the CPA tests a massive number of topics in hardly any depth at all.

    Old timer,  A71'er since 2010.

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    #1401378
    RaulB
    Participant

    Hi tncincy,

    I have been told the same thing about the retake is concerned. My belief is that if I take both of these classes (Accounting 2 for 6 weeks and Auditing over the Summer) I can go in the review in 2018 a lil bit more familiarized having taken both of these courses. Still thinking about it though. I can either take Business Law + a Computer Information Systems in the Winter or as I have it scheduled I can take Acct 2+ Computer Information Systems in the Winter and leave Business Law with Adv Acct in the Spring.

    mla11692-Thanks for your message. Had a great 2016 and will keep plugging along. I'll try my best to not have that in the back of my mind as much in that I don't have the Acct degree and that I am taking the classes at a community college to sit for the exam in the future. Have you met anybody in my situation where he or she didn't get a Masters in order to save money and didn't get a bachelor's degree in Acct, but still ended up getting a CPA? It's more common where people get the masters only to fulfill the units or at the very least they already have the bachelors degree in Acct. You provide very insightful points which have been told by many people before. Another shocking thing I've heard is that employers actually value a bachelors in Accounting equally or even more than a Masters in Accounting. At the end of the day, the CPA is the main goal. I have also heard that if I had to ever choose a Masters program, it should be in Taxation because it's more challenging and less common. Any thoughts about this?

    RB
    #1401401
    CA-CPAcandidate
    Participant

    if you really need to get some credits for the units requirements, just go to your local community college. It is cheap, easy to apply, and the same useful! 🙂

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    #1401491
    ultrarunner
    Participant

    Raul, I have non-accounting degree (what's worse is that I have a bachelor degree from non-US schools). I took all my classes at CCs and finished my CPA exams. And I am starting MS of Taxation next week. I think one reason people are going for Masters is that it has a recruiting opportunity. It is hard to get into public accounting unless you are recruited during undergraduate. I wish I had started Masters sooner, but I am also glad that I got over the CPA exams. I don't think that it would be possible to study for CPA while working full time and studying Master program. It all depends on your priority. If you want to be CPA, then, you should go for CC with CPA study. Or if you'd like to get into public accounting, you may consider Master program. Just my 2 cents.

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    #1401504
    Missy
    Participant

    Yes there are PLENTY of people here whose undergrad is on another area (I think we have an art major on this board with enough accounting coursework to be close to her masters). And yes if you're planning to go and stay in tax, a MS in tax isn't a bad idea.

    At the end of the day its most important to identify your long term goals and then start researching the traits of those who have reached those goals. A lot of younger people make the huge mistake of thinking “I'm going to have people knocking down my door to give me a great job because I have a cpa” but thats not exactly the way it works.

    If you want to be senior or above in a fortune 500 company best bet is experience in Big 4. If you want to be a finance manager at a small company a masters in tax won't do a thing for you. If you want to be a partner in a CPA firm, counting beans at a manufacturer won't move you toward that. And remember its about who your competition is…..when I was applying for jobs having a CPA license didn't make me special becuase most people applying for the positions I was applying to also had their CPA license. Yes it was appreciated that I have a masters in accounting but for my current job I was their second choice, they had offered my position to someone with a cpa license and big 4 experience first (she had accepted another offer) then to me. In another set of circumstances I might have been the first choice but maybe not because of my degree, maybe becuase of my specific experience or just a good personality fit.

    Old timer,  A71'er since 2010.

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    #1401510
    KayBee
    Participant

    I've been working for a small business accounting firm for over a year now and I can officially say that while my Masters in Accounting hasn't pushed me further down my career path, clients love it. It gives them confidence that the accountants here are knowledgeable and moves me from “glorified bookkeeper” territory into “experienced accountant” territory. I don't have my CPA but I'm studying for it (which is why I'm a member of this site!). But the two CPA's that work here both have MBA's so it's a nice change to have someone with an MAcc. Plus side, it makes it seem like I know what I'm doing. 😉

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    #1401516
    NeedsA75
    Participant

    I got my first undergrad degree in Finance and Management (double major). Needed an extra 30 credit hours so I got a second degree in Accounting from my alma mater. Decided to go for the CPA instead of a masters. Like others have said, its the gold standard for the profession..

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    #1401996
    RaulB
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your responses and advises! From what I am reading it seems that people who aim for the Masters is more so because of the recruitment and to fulfill the units to sit for the CPA exam. I want to touch on a point as far as recruitment goes. When entering Public Accounting the more popular option is to get there right out of undergrad, with a high GPA and reputable school what happens to the rest of us who did not go this route? I've heard that firms prefer to hire people in their early 20's, I am 28 by the way. I am curious as to how the process is like if it's harder to get into these types of firms despite having the work experience and after getting the CPA license. The stories I hear more are of people who get into Public Accounting right out of school, but don't hear them as much as when one is older. Also my other question is. How hard is it to get into Public Accounting if the Accounting classes I took came from a CC despite obtaining the CPA license? Do employers care where the classes are taken at?

    RB
    #1402010
    madhatter1845
    Participant

    I say it depends. CPA is valuable by itself and it doesn't really matter much where you are coming from or where you are going to. Master's is valuable and useful but not universally. Master's in Tax is very useful and will definitely teach you the analytical and technical skills you'll need to use on the job. Master's in Tax is also often specifically preferred by employers hiring for tax-related positions, at least that's what I gather from various listings. Not to mention that in some markets it will be hard to make it into an entry-level big 4 tax position w/o a Master's in tax.

    #1402079
    Namstut
    Participant

    From my personal experience Masters is being overlooked these days. I have an MBA and and while I was looking for another job I quickly realized that having a CPA is your main card these days, hence, I am here now. The MBA does look good on your resume but there are definitely more opportunities if you have a CPA.

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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    #1405821
    tcheney3
    Participant

    The question is way too vague. What are your future goals? If the goal is to become a partner in a CPA firm then a Master's degree in anything isn't going to be beneficial to you. If your goal is to work in IB or financial analysis then sure. Macc's are completely useless except for the hours requirement for the CPA exam. MBA's from top universities are useful in the right setting because they open doors at the recruiting level. Without knowing specifics it's impossible to answer this question. I will say that the CPA license is the most valuable of everything because you can sign an audit report. No one else can do that.

    #1405832
    aaronmo
    Participant

    It's probably too individual/goal specific to really answer…for government careers, I think it's VERY helpful.

    I really regret not going the masters route, but my situation is also a bit specific/outside box. Basically a masters would have been about $25k more for me…and another 12 credits…but I'd have accounting certification of some kind pre-CPA license and I'd have had access to employers/career fairs. It also probably would have saved me from the exam prep…since the masters program is geared towards the CPA exam. Essentially I would have gotten credits, and a title, for the same work it took to prep the exam.

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    #1405833
    aaronmo
    Participant

    To Mia's point…I had only two classes in undergrad that were applicable towards the CPA exam, neither in accounting. All of my accounting was done afterwards…and I really regret not packaging it towards a Masters. It would have taken a few more classes…a modest amount of debt…and it would have been well worth it come job time.

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    Aaron and always remember, YMMV

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    #3071442
    sean s
    Guest

    It's a few years since the last post, and this is precisely the crossroad that I'm at right now. I have a full time job right now and can either pursue just a CPA license with my bachelors in a non accounting field (from a nationally recognized college – not regionally recognized) or pursue a masters in accounting with the hope of eventually going for the CPA exam. I think it will be too much to work on the masters and CPA exam at once. My main concerns are as follows: If the CPA exam is not passed than all of my studying and 48 additional credits that I needed were all for nothing as I have nothing to show for it but if I have a masters in accounting at least I have that to show.
    Additionally, I'm concerned if the CPA license without an accounting degree of any sort, will be enough to really move up?

    #3071760
    monikernc
    Participant

    How are you qualifying to sit for CPA exams? Most states require a certain number of accounting credits to sit for either exams and/or license.
    I had a finance undergrad and MBA and went back for second undergraduate major to qualify for exam and then license.
    I think not having the accounting education would make the exams very hard to pass.
    For me experience was the hard part. If you are in your 20s it will be easier to get but have the experience lined up before you spend a dollar on education or exams. If you are older think hard before starting.

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    #3071787
    bmj2s
    Participant

    @monikernc TN allows you to sit for the exam once you reach 120 hours, however you have to get the 150 hours within a couple years or else I think they void your progress. Or they withhold the license until you met that requirement.

    I do not have a masters but I have well over the credits to be licensed. I ended up going back to school and almost got a second bachelors in a different topic.

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    #3071880
    monikernc
    Participant

    @Bmj2s TN does not require any accounting credits to qualify for the exam?

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    #3071925
    bmj2s
    Participant

    No they do. My Bachelors was in Accounting. so I met the education requirements. But my college MaCC program is a reiteration of the bachelor's program just to get CPA Exam credits. You just have some extra classwork to turn in

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    #3071937
    monikernc
    Participant

    I got it. Thanks. I saw your other post – try to relax till the 25th. I always kept reviewing till scores came out after taking a break.
    I wish everyone would post their state and scores. It would make it easier to respond appropriately in most cases.

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    #3072045
    Skynet
    Participant

    The CPA can get more chicks than a Master's

    There I said it. 😀

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