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Weighing up a CPA or MBA and Important Information

Weighing up a CPA or MBA

Weighing up a CPA or MBA: CPA

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services directly to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state. Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws in order to allow practice in their state by CPAs from other states. Although state licensing requirements vary, the minimum standard requirements include the passing of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, 150 semester units of college education, and one year of accounting related experience.

Continuing professional education (CPE) is also required to maintain licensure. Individuals who have been awarded the CPA but have lapsed in the fulfillment of the required CPE or have requested to be converted to inactive status are in many states permitted to use the designation “CPA Inactive” or an equivalent phrase. In most U.S. states, only CPAs are legally able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements. Many CPAs are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and their state CPA society.

State laws vary widely regarding whether a non-CPA is even allowed to use the title accountant. To illustrate, Texas prohibits the use of the designations “accountant” and “auditor” by a person not certified as a Texas CPA, unless that person is a CPA in another state, is a non-resident of Texas, and otherwise meets the requirements for practice in Texas by out-of-state CPA firms and practitioners.

Weighing up a CPA or MBA: MBA

The Master of Science in Marketing (or MS Marketing) is a graduate degree that prepares the student to work in middle-management-and-above marketing positions. The specific field within marketing will depend on the student, their program, and the firm with which they will work. Fields may include brand management, digital marketing,integrated marketing communication, marketing analytics and research, marketing strategy, pricing strategy and many others.

The key difference between the MS Marketing degree and the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is the required number of marketing courses in the degree. Typically the MBA degree may have a concentration in marketing or other fields of 4-6 courses. The MS Marketing degree will usually have 10-12 marketing courses. The MBA will offer courses in accounting, finance, business strategy, marketing, organisational behaviour and other general business courses in much less depth than a specialised degree such as the MS Marketing degree that requires marketing courses, supplemented with perhaps a few electives in other areas such as analytics.


Weighing up a CPA or MBA

Neither one is “better” than the other.  What matters is what you do with what you learn in either program. There are unemployed CPAs and MBAs and plenty of both doing very well so either one would be a plus to have and having both would possibly be even better as far as opening more doors to check out different career options, although not sure spending that many years in school would outweigh getting the actual work experience as well.

Personally I would not commit to becoming a CPA until you have passed Intermediate accounting. By then you should have a good idea whether it comes naturally to you or if you are trying to force yourself into work you will hate. Ideally you have an opportunity to work in an accounting role to see if you are going to like the work before making such a commitment.

The great thing about accounting, it will not be time wasted if you change your mind, because it is helpful to know some accounting in any business, whether as an employee or investor, or for starting up your own company. It never hurts to have some education under your belt about financial info since it will be part of personal and professional life no matter what you do.

Weighing up a CPA or MBA

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