CPA vs. Masters? - Page 3

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  • #842937

    This might be a controversial topic, so let’s try to keep it friendly! People may have different opinions and that’s ok! 🙂

    I switched my major around so much during undergrad that I racked up enough credits to sit for the CPA without having to take any grad level courses.

    I’m *hopefully* finishing CPA this year–I only have BEC left.

    Do you think getting a Masters will help me professionally? Or do you think that being a CPA will give a pretty good competitive edge / pay boost on its own.

    (Obviously having a masters is better than not having a masters, but I’m not looking to be a CFO of a fortune 500 and I’m really wondering about the ROI for spending 30k on a masters degree when I’ll already be a CPA. Now…if an employer offers to pay for it, I’d absolutely love to put in the time and effort! I’m just concerned about how good of a financial investment it is for me.)

    *I would not be going to a ‘prestigious’ school with a well-known respected program.

Viewing 15 replies - 31 through 45 (of 54 total)
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  • #849945

    I think you should do both.

    Far, 64 82
    Reg, 60 86
    Aud, 74 82
    Bec, 70 81
    Done done done! I did it!!!
    Licensed CPA in MA, issued October 2016

    Far 10/26/2015, 64, 1/4/2016, 82
    Reg 7/10/2015, 60, 2/27/2016, 86
    Aud, 5/9/2016, 74 (ouch), 7/26/2016, I cannot wait to take this test again
    Bec, 6/10/2016, 70,9/8 retake


    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

    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 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 when I plan in taking Auditing. Any thoughts about this? Happy New year everyone!!!



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

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader.....time to pass

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader....ready to pass


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

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader.....time to pass

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader....ready to pass


    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.

    Finance manager/HR manager



    Licensed Massachusetts Non Reporting CPA since 2012
    Finance/Admin/HR Manager


    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?


    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! 🙂

    AUD: Passed

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    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.

    CPA/ MST/ Roger CPA Review

    FAR 72,67,79 (Roger+Wiley test bank)11/15
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    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.

    Finance manager/HR manager



    Licensed Massachusetts Non Reporting CPA since 2012
    Finance/Admin/HR Manager


    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. 😉

    AUD - 71
    BEC - NINJA in Training
    FAR - NINJA in Training
    REG - 77
    One of those weirdos that truly loves Accounting

    Bachelors and Masters in Accounting, concentration in public accounting
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    BEC - before Jan 5


    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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    REG - 92
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    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?


    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.


    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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    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.

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