MS in Accounting & Financial Management

Masters in Accounting & Financial Management

Best Universities in the world for MS in Accounting & Financial Management

Money matters. Period. And its management matters even more – at conception of a business venture, during operation, and even beyond.

Resources, cash flow, salaries, reporting, and everything that can make a business a legitimate success needs the management of finances by experts. And there are two cogs in this financial management – accounting and financial management.

To an outsider they may sound like the same job description, finding and counting pennies, but they have distinct roles.

In a Master’s degree specializing in accounting and financial management, students are geared to understand the differences and arm themselves with all the necessary tools to become expert financial managers in various corporations.

In this article, we aim to impart a bird’s eye view of the two majors. We will also enquire as to how and where you will be able to obtain a specialized master’s degree in the fields.

What is the difference between Accounting and Financial Management?

Accounting vs Financial Management: Differences

Accounting is the act of collating and reporting financial statements for use within an organization, or for the records of external agencies – tax, auditory agencies, etc.

Financial Management is the act of using an organization’s data of financial resources for analysis, ultimately providing management information for decision making.

While they may sound similar, accounting is more about how and where money has been used in the past for bookkeeping, whereas financial management cares about how and where can we use money in the future to maximize profit.

One is essential for the other. Accounting helps management understand the economic position of an organization and financial management takes that information and the current cash flow to help management determine the next course of action. In turn financial management provides the data for future account reports.



Masters in Accounting & Financial Management vs MBA

Aspirants who want a financial sector career have the option to choose an advanced degree either in a specialized Accounting & Financial Management Master’s or the ever popular MBA. Both those graduate degrees can lead to brilliant careers and c-suite jobs.

But what are the advantages of one over the other? Or rather, why would you choose an MS over MBA with a finance specialization, or the other way around?

MBA is always a popular choice for those who want a wholesome business education with a variety of career options.

MS instead provides a fertile ground to grow an expertise and a sought-after career in finance. MS can also be a go to option for those without any prior work experience while MBA programs generally seek applicants with some work experience.

So, if you are someone who is singularly focused on a career in finance and possibly lack other work experience, you should seriously consider a specialized MS in Accounting & Financial Management.

However, a finance specialization does require the necessary math and statistical skills to trade and build a career in numbers.

An MS degree is also the stepping stone towards a PhD and an academic career.

Another advantage of an MS in Accounting and Finance is its duration. Most programs are only about a year long as compared to the typical 2 years of an MBA.

MBA, on the other hand, can be pursued by anyone from any background who possess the traits to become successful managers. Finance can be an elective to specialize in and you can simultaneously acquire a formal education in other aspects of business management.

Not at the very least is the consideration of cost of education. While both are graduate programs with a hefty tuition, an MBA degree generally comes with a much higher price tag.

For instance, at the University of Bath, an MS in Accounting and Finance has tuition fees of the order of £18,000 while an MBA is more than its double at £37,000.

Also, given the shorter duration of an MS degree, the overall opportunity and collateral costs are lower than in MBA.

However, if obtained from a reputed MBA program, MBA salaries and growth curves can be quite steep, making MBA RoIs worth the initial cost.

Job prospects and salaries after Masters in Accounting & Financial Management

Sources state that an MS degree in Accounting and related fields significantly increase earning potential (~40%) over an undergraduate degree.

Job roles cover a variety of expert positions in the finance world – from financial consultant, forensic accountant, analyst, CPA, corporate controller, managerial accountant, auditor, etc. with average salaries in the green side of $100,000 to Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with salaries over $300,000.

Employers can be a range of small to large firms or even official agencies like the IRS or SEC.

For instance, Manchester University’s Alliance Business School boasts Deloitte Enterprise Consulting, General Electric, IBM, KPMG, Lenovo, Mercedes-Benz, PwC, RBS and SME Development Bank, among others as recruiters for their recent batch of MSc in Accounting and Finance grads.

Best programs for MS in Accounting & Financial Management

Here are some of the popular schools with an MS program in Accounting and Finance. These are not on a ranking scale and are included as a representative and not exhaustive list.

It would be best to explore your requirements – school, location, cost, etc. – for your graduate degree.

School Program Name Duration
London School of Economics and Political Science (UK) MSc Accounting and Finance 9 months full time

21 months part time

Imperial College Business School (UK) MSc Finance & Accounting 12 months
University of Melbourne (Australia) Master of Management – Accounting & Finance 24 months
HEC Paris (France) MSc Accounting & Financial Management 15 months
Alliance Manchester Business School (UK) MSc in Accounting and Finance 12 months
University of Toronto (Canada) Master of Accounting and Finance Program (MAccFin) 16 months
Lund University (Sweden) MS in Accounting and Finance 12 months
UCD Smurfit (Ireland) MSc in Accounting and Financial Management 12 months
University of St Gallen (Switzerland) Master’s in Accounting and Finance (MAccFin) 18 months
University of Bath (UK) MSc Accounting and Finance 12 months

Programs in the USA with both Accountancy and Financial Management are a few. However, Master’s program in Finance in most US universities cover topics in both accountancy and finance.
In the end, what are your interests and long term career plans? Do you want to keep versatility in your career options vis-à-vis finance, marketing, consulting, etc. or do you want to explore a deep understanding of the field of finance? A program is only as good as your fit in it.

So, research well and drop us a line at info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com for further professional assistance.
Meanwhile, check out our articles on related topics for better insights.

Also read;
Guide to MS Degrees