Understanding how money flows through a business is essential knowledge that will make you a valuable asset to any organization.
With an analytical mindset and a fluency in accounting, the language of business, you’ll draw keen insights from complex financial data and leverage them to make smart, profitable decisions. Using data analytics effectively can help you observe trends within your company’s financials, identify process improvements that can increase efficiency, and better manage risk.
“Accountants and finance professionals will be increasingly expected to add value to the business decision making within their organizations and for their clients,” comments Associate Professor Wendell Gilland, who teaches Data Analytics at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. “A strong facility with data analytics gives them the toolset to help strengthen their partnership with business leaders.”
Here are a few examples:
- Investment advisors and financial analysts use big data to find behavioral patterns in consumers and the market. These patterns can help businesses build models that, in turn, help them identify investment opportunities and generate higher profit margins.
- Tax strategists use data science to quickly analyze complex taxation questions related to investment scenarios. In turn, investment decisions can be expedited, which allows companies to respond faster to opportunities to beat their competition — and the market — to the punch.
- Auditors can shift from a sample-based model to employ continuous monitoring where much larger data sets are analyzed and verified. The result: less margin of error resulting in more precise recommendations.
The right Master of Accounting degree can accelerate your business career.
Whether you’re interested in accounting, auditing, corporate finance, investment banking, or wealth management, the skills you’ll learn in pursuit of a Master of Accounting degree will help you become more data-savvy, preparing you to make an impact on day one and throughout your career.
But not all Master of Accounting degrees are created equal. To maximize your opportunities to learn critical, emerging skills and to kickstart a career where you’ll put these skills to work, look for programs that include:
- Data analytics as part of the core curriculum. The best programs infuse data analytics coursework throughout the academic journey so that students can acquire this critical training in context with many other key topics. Look for programs that prioritize the development of the analytical mindset, avoiding those that treat it as an elective or optional skillset.
- Specific coursework in communications and leadership. Successful business leaders not only make sense of the data, but they effectively share their findings and recommendations with others. Degree programs that help develop key soft skills alongside more technical ones will better prepare you for real-world settings.
- Opportunities to specialize and customize your curriculum. Many Master of Accounting programs focus exclusively on core accounting basics. That’s fine, but it’s limiting. To broaden your perspective, or to specialize in specific disciplines, look for programs that offer targeted concentrations or courses in unique topics or ones that allow you to add MBA electives to your curriculum.
- A powerful recruiting engine. Major corporations and accounting firms typically focus their recruiting efforts on a few preferred schools. Consequently, those schools often offer robust career services that help you prepare for interviews and maximize your chances of landing a great first job.
- Limited (or no) prerequisites to attract those with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. At some schools, if you don’t have an accounting background, you may need to take several courses to qualify for admission. Schools that forgo this requirement can attract a broader base that includes students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, which brings unique perspectives into the classroom.
The University of North Carolina’s Master of Accounting program
Available in on-campus and online formats, the Master of Accounting program at UNC Kenan-Flagler is a top-ranked, no-prerequisite program that prepares students for successful careers in public accounting, corporate finance, and numerous other industries.
With a focus on building an analytical mindset and strong communication and leadership skills, the core curriculum incorporates numerous opportunities for students to master their technical expertise well as essential soft skills. The program includes concentrations in Financial Analysis and Reporting, Tax, and Audit and a broad set of electives, including courses in negotiation, law, economics, among others.
All of the Big 4 and middle-market accounting firms and numerous major corporations actively recruit students from both the on-campus and online formats of the program through a structured recruiting process. As a result, 98% of UNC’s Master of Accounting students receive a full-time job offer within three months of graduation.
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