Masters in Accounting vs MBA: Which One is Right For You?

In the world of accounting, there’s a serious decision to make when you’re ready to further your career. That is the choice of whether to pursue an MBA with an accounting focus or a Master’s in Accounting. Both will do wonders to advance your career. However, there are nuanced differences between the two.

Whereas a Master’s in accounting offers specialized knowledge and skills for the profession, an MBA can serve the same purpose while providing you with a more diversified skillset.

Whichever is best for you is highly dependent on what you’re looking for in your career. 

That’s why today we’re going to take a look into what exactly each of these degrees are, their key differences, and, along the way, help you figure out which one is right for you. 

What’s an MBA Degree? 

A master of business administration, or MBA, is a graduate degree that focuses on providing theoretical and practical training for business and investment management. In essence, it’s designed to grant a holistic perspective across a variety of business management areas including options to specialize in accounting. 

Focusing on accounting with your MBA, you’ll gain more than the hard skills to perform your job. It means getting a fuller, deeper understanding of the effects your role has on the business as a whole. As such, MBA accountant graduates become valuable assets to any company.

An MBA shows employers that you possess a big-picture understanding of business practices as a whole.

Consider applying for an MBA today if you’re interested in advancing your career to leadership positions. Graduates of Quantic’s MBA program, just for example enjoy a first-year job promotion rate of 66%.  

What’s a Masters of Accounting? 

A Master’s of Accounting is a graduate degree program that prepares students for more advanced positions such as mid-level management positions. Beyond entry-level accounting skills, these programs typically include material on how to conduct research, analyze accounting data, and understand risk management.

Furthermore, MSA students learn how to create improvement processes, compliance strategies, and reimbursement procedures. Unlike the MBA, these graduates learn the overall management process specific to accounting departments. 

MBA vs MSA Salary

Masters in Accounting Salary* 

Entry Level$24,000 – $62,500
Junior Accountant Salary$27,500 – $71,500
Senior Accountant Salary $40,500 – $101,000

*Source: ZipRecruiter

 MBA in Accounting Salary* 

Entry Level$40,000 – $62,000
Junior Accountant Salary$46,000 – $71,000
Senior Accountant Salary $58,000 – $88,000

*Source: PayScale

MBA vs Master’s in Accounting Similarities

An MBA with a finance focus and a Master’s in Accounting has several similarities. These similarities are in part what makes it so hard to choose between the two. So, let’s take a quick look at the similarities between these degrees before diving into the differences. 

And if you want to see what real people are saying about MBA vs Master’s in Accounting, Reddit users discuss the subject regularly.

You Can Take Both 100% Online

Like many other graduate degrees today, you can receive both an MBA and a Master’s in accounting online. This digital approach to learning has allowed for a meaningful and necessary flexibility in the way people approach their education. Today’s graduate students no longer need to take a break from their work to finish their degrees. Rather, they can work on both their educational and professional development. 

Quantic’s online MBA curriculum provides a student experience not offered by other online graduate programs. Quantic students learn through an innovative Active Learning method, collaborating with classmates in case studies, projects, and events. What’s more, Quantic students can earn their MBA in 15 months, unlike most graduate programs that take 2 years.

Career Advancement

Both options offer to further your career beyond entry- and junior-level positions. Regardless of which you choose for yourself, both offer the tools and education to accelerate your career. However, it is important to know the direction your career takes will be highly dependent on this choice. 

Both can Become CPAs

Many people who pursue an education in finance do so with intention of becoming a certified public accountant, or CPA. These professionals represent clients before the IRS and file audited financial reports with the SEC. As such, CPAs often bring home 6 figure salaries. 

Whether you pursue an MBA or Master’s in accounting, you’ll find yourself empowered with the tools and knowledge to improve your chances of earning a CPA license. 

MBA vs Masters in Accounting Key Differences 

Despite the many similarities between the programs, there are key differences. MBA and Master’s in accounting programs have different requirements to be accepted into the program, and these must be considered before applications. What’s more, many of the differences you will see in the programs are the final results – MBAs offer many career paths and opportunities outside of accounting.

And finally, as both programs are designed for specific outcomes for the students, there are significant differences in the topics covered in each program’s coursework. 

Experience Requirements

One of the key differences between an MBA and a Master’s in accounting is the prerequisites to enter the program. While you can go straight from achieving your bachelor’s to your master’s, many MBA programs require some work experience beforehand. That’s why an MBA carries such a heavier impact on a resume than a Master’s. 

Career Paths and Options

Both degrees prepare students for senior and management positions in accounting. However, a master’s in accounting only prepares students for positions exclusive to the accounting industry. An MBA offers the same benefit.

However, the key difference we see here is that the curriculum MBA students receive prepares them for a larger variety of fields and positions beyond accounting alone. MBA programs are specifically designed, regardless of concentration, to produce well-rounded business professionals with broad career options. 


MBA’s and Master accounting programs particularly differ in their course work. In a typical master’s program for accounting, you will topics such as accounting ethics, advanced auditing, and forensic accounting. Whereas in MBA programs you’re more likely to see topics that cover organizational leadership, information systems, and risk management. 


At the end of the day, there are several nuanced differences between an MBA and Master’s in Accounting. The chief of these is ultimately the outcome of the program. MBA programs produce well-rounded business professionals well-equipped to deal with the high-level management of accounting departments. However, these individuals also enjoy additional options and career paths they could take if they so choose, offering their potential employers a candidate with a swath of interdisciplinary skills.

Contrast this with a master’s in accounting which limits the candidate exclusively to the accounting department. This is fine if you intend to specialize and spend your entire career in accounting. However, these programs simply lack the versatility offered by an MBA program.

So, when determining which program is right for you, keep these key points in mind.

An MBA offers several career paths should you wish to shift focus later in your life, but a Master’s in Accounting will offer you specialized skills to focus specifically on accounting. 

Should you choose to pursue an MBA, consider Quantic’s MBA program.

Quantic offers more than an online curriculum. While pursuing an MBA, you will be connected with thousands of other high-caliber students like yourself to grow your professional and professional network. Additionally, Quantic’s approach to education provides students with the skills and perspective they’ll need to achieve senior roles. 94% of Quantic’s alumni report meeting their career goals post-graduation.

See what an MBA with Quantic can do for your career today. 


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