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If you are looking to develop your strategic and problem-solving skills in pursuit of a successful career in accounting or finance, then studying an online masters in accounting might be for you.

Studying a Masters in Accounting online means you can benefit from the ability to balance your learning around personal and professional commitments.

BusinessBecause spoke with a former and current student of the University of Illinois Gies College of Business to find out if an online masters in accounting is worth it.

Online Master in Cost Accounting

Studying your master’s degree online is often a more affordable option than joining a full-time program on campus. The University of Illinois’ online Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA), for example, costs between $20,600 and $27,000, depending on the electives chosen. Meanwhile, on-campus tuition and fees for masters in accounting can range from $30,000 to $70,000.

To reduce costs even further, students of Gies’ online master’s in accounting can apply for need-based scholarships. These can cover up to 70% of tuition and fees.

Some students may use the master’s degree as a stepping stone into the field of accounting, while others may be experienced professionals looking to advance to a management position in a large company. Regardless of which category you fall into, being able to study a Masters in Accounting online means you can continue working towards your degree without having to quit your job or put your life on hold.

Online Master of Accounting Program

A master’s degree in accounting teaches the theory and practice of accounting as well as leadership and data analysis skills.

iMSA’s core courses include topics such as accounting analysis, management accounting, auditing, and U.S. federal taxation. Students can then choose electives in technical areas such as data-driven decision-making and machine learning.

iMSA graduate Mario Elizalde used his master’s degree in online accounting to help him prepare for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. The CPA provides accounting professionals with a globally recognized credential that certifies their accounting expertise.

“The program is very practical. We worked on various team projects based on real business cases which taught me how to analyze data, formulate strategies and gave me a broader perspective of the field of taxation”, explains Mario.

No matter what stage you are at in your career, an online masters in accounting can deepen your knowledge in the accounting industry.

Michelle Lubbe is an MBA graduate and is currently studying the Masters of Accounting program online at Illinois Gies. She is continuing her role as CFO of M&A at a large chemical company while completing her masters degree online.

Despite her experience and training, Michelle explains that she did not have the solid accounting knowledge and skills that she wanted. Studying the program online, she adds, helps her apply her learnings immediately to her role and opens up new career opportunities.

“Every time I picked up my book or took a class, I learned something that I could apply directly to my day-to-day work.”

Networking Opportunities for the Online Masters in Accounting

Even when you study a Masters in Accounting online, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with other students, alumni, and faculty to grow your professional network.

During the Illinois iMSA, students use immersive online platforms that provide access to job postings. Learners also have access to Facebook Workplace, where Gies online students can log in and search for career tips and advice.

Mario says he used social media groups and online platforms to network even after receiving a job offer.

“I didn’t expect the technology to be so perfect and to have such a direct connection to so many people – you really have that sense of community,” he says.

Studying online usually means working alongside people from all walks of life. Illinois’ online master’s in accounting cohort is made up of students from more than 30 U.S. states and nearly a dozen countries around the world.

“Even when I’m sitting at home, I feel like I’m in a classroom with everyone,” says Michelle.

Jobs and Salaries Online Master in Accounting

There is a range of exciting job opportunities for Masters in Accounting graduates in industries such as advisory services, investment banking, technology, and accounting.

83% of corporate recruiters plan to hire graduates with a master’s degree in accounting in 2022, according to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey 2022.

Earning a master’s degree in accounting can also increase your earning potential. At accounting firm Big Four PwC, senior accountants earn about $80,000, including bonuses and compensation. In the large technology sector, Google offers salaries of about $124,000 for senior accountants.

After recently graduating from the Illinois iMSA, Mario is beginning a new role as an entry-level accountant and plans to move up the career ladder.

Online accounting master’s programs help students build the skills and confidence to embark on accounting careers, while helping those who want to move into leadership positions within their current companies. This means that graduates are likely to see a strong return on investment (ROI) after graduating.

“Studying the Masters in Accounting online has made me the happiest I’ve ever been professionally,” says Mario.