In an online master’s in accounting program, your studies won’t be limited to core accounting courses that every graduate student in the discipline will take. Many schools, including those with some of the online graduate accounting degree programs, offer students the chance to develop a depth of knowledge in a specific concentration. Your concentration can help prepare you for future career roles and set you apart from other candidates in the eyes of prospective employers. Below you’ll find some of the most popular accounting concentrations for online graduate students.
1. Forensic Accounting
If you want to use your skills with numbers to help stop fraud, consider a concentration in forensic accounting. Forensic accounting concentrations often focus on fraud detection, computer investigation and fraud from a legal perspective. Having a forensic accounting background may prepare you for work in big corporations, overseeing contracts and mergers, or in the legal arena, helping put white-collar criminals behind bars.
Tax planning and preparation remains a major component of an accountant’s job. While not all accountants prepare tax returns, many accounting roles require at least some familiarity with taxation regulations and practices. Students pursuing an accounting concentration will often study subjects like income tax for individuals, income tax for businesses, taxation for non-profit organizations and estate and gift taxation.
3. Government Accounting
Did you know that eight percent of all accountants in the United States work for the government, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics? If you would like to be one of them, choosing an online master’s in accounting program with a concentration in government accounting could be the place to start. Coursework in government accounting often includes the study of governmental auditing standards and how to budget for, plan, administrate and report the finances of public government institutions and organizations.
Accounting and finance are a great combination. Students who are pursuing a finance concentration or specialization might take courses in enterprise risk analysis, financial planning, international financial reporting and financial analysis. Some master’s in accounting degree programs offer concentrations like controllership and financial leadership, which should appeal to aspiring Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). These programs may include coursework in controllership, financial statement analysis, financial leadership and accounting for specialized industries.
5. Accounting Information Systems
If you’re good with computers and technology, you might want to consider a concentration in accounting information systems, the combination of accounting and information technology (IT). Students who specialize in accounting information systems take coursework in subjects like database management systems, information systems security, IT project management and information systems management. At some schools, studies of accounting information systems are paid with studies in auditing, so you may also take some fraud examination and auditing courses.
What concentration is right for you depends on your goals, interests and talents. Choosing a degree program that offers a number of concentration options will allow you the most flexibility to choose a specialization.