Top Online MBA Accounting Specializations

Accounting online mba

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To obtain an online MBA focusing on accounting is not easy. Working in accounting comes with many responsibilities and skills needed to be successful.

Calculating machines, receipt tape, and ledgers are just the tip of the iceberg for accounting. Many have a misconception of this industry. They see it as a homogenous sector when there are many areas of specialization within this field. The history of accounting/accountancy goes back to ancient civilizations. Early records of accounting date back to Mesopotamia and are often correlated to the development of writing, counting money, and auditing systems used by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. 

Top online MBA Accounting specializations examine these frequented areas: Accounting, Accounting & Finance, Accounting Systems, Certified Public Accountant, Corporate Taxation, Financial Analysis, Forensic and Investigative Accounting, Internal Audit, Managerial Accounting, and Taxation. 



From the ancient times of weighing and counting wheat, grain, and gold, the world of accounting has come a long way. Accounting is the course of recording financial transactions on a business. The financial statements used in accounting are a concise summary of financial transactions over an accounting period, summarizing a company’s operations, financial position, and cash flows. One must have a great understanding of mathematics to be successful in accounting.

Accountants are responsible for communicating with their clients on all financials from projections, obligations, and transactions. They also help companies with budgets, financial planning, and investments. As you become more acquainted with the world of accounting, you will also learn the vernacular used in the industry. When obtaining education in accounting, you need to make sure your program is accredited and will be accepted by other institutes of higher learning. You must also be mindful of the state you plan to work in and their protocols for accountants. 

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online accounting certificate to accompany their online MBA. Every student will take four courses (12 credits) in general accounting. This suite of significant classes is meant to provide the foundation you need to earn a critical credential that will help move your career in accounting forward by setting you apart from your peers.

Learn how to:

  • Gain fundamental accounting skills
  • Prepare financial statements per industry standards
  • Explore the economic outcomes from short and long term financial choices
  • Analyze complication accounting situation and record financial statements 

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for auditors and accountants until 2028 is a 7% growth in the area, which is on par with the national average for all professions. However, a lone certificate does not qualify students for a career in accounting.

Accounting & Finance

Accounting and Finance are distinct areas of business, but they are very interconnected. An MBA in Accounting and Finance will be able to highlight both areas and how they interact with each other. Florida Tech offers a great MBA in Accounting & Finance

“Our Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting and Finance exposes you to a variety of subjects, including investment management, eCommerce, and legal responsibility. If you want to move into a leadership role and utilize accounting and finance practices to improve business processes and provide innovative solutions will benefit from this program, available 100% online. Florida Tech’s MBA program has been named a Top 50 Online MBA The Princeton Review (2020) also in the Top 100 Online MBA Program by Fortune Education (2021). Also ranked No. 26 Online MBA programs (private university) and a Top Tier Online MBA Program for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report (2021).”


Accounting Systems

An accounting system helps businesses keep track of and manage their financial transactions. That includes sales, purchases, assets, and liabilities. The business accounting system is highly beneficial when you need to generate reports. Types of accounting systems include Managerial Accounting, Inventory Accounting, Industry-Specific Accounting, and Not-for-Profit Accounting.

Wayne State University offers a great concentration program focused on Accounting Systems. It will equip students with the analytical and technical skills necessary for sound professional judgment in financial decision-making. Courses cover many topics, including financial and managerial accounting, accounting systems, ERP systems, and more.

Certified Public Accountant

According to AICPA, a Certified Public Accountant is a credible financial leader who aids clients, businesses, and other organizations in planning and reaching their financial goals. Whatever that goal, saving for a new home, opening a new office, or planning a multi-billion dollar merger-CPAs can help.

If you are looking at this specialization, check out the University of Findlay’s CPA specialization. The University of Findlay commits to being each student’s CPA education partner from start to finish. Earn a bachelor’s in accounting, MBA, and CPA in five years with Findlay’s comprehensive accounting department. Bachelor’s degree candidates in accounting can earn an MBA while taking the required 150 semester hours of college-level credits for CPA licensure. ​The identified course requirements include 24 semester hours in accounting exclusive of accounting principles and 24 hours of business-oriented courses with coverage in each of the following subjects:  

  • Auditing
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management (cost) Accounting
  • Professional Ethics for CPAs
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing ​

Here’s what University of Findlay Alumni have to say about the program:

“My education at Findlay helped me with many things ranging from understanding enterprise resource planning and material resource planning systems to supply chain, finance, accounting, and even human resource management,” said Wickiser. “I use these skills every day.” 

Corporate Taxation

A corporate tax is a direct tax imposed by a jurisdiction on the income or capital of corporations or analogous legal entities. This is a great avenue if you ever want to get into the corporate arena.  

Do you know what CIT is? The CIT (Corporate Income Tax) generally taxes a business’ profits, which are revenues (what a company makes in sales) minus costs (the cost of doing business). However, prices of capital investments—such as equipment, machinery, and buildings—can not be deducted when they incur.

The University of Cincinnati’s Corporate Tax Certificate program available with their online MBA affords students with clear training and in-depth instruction regarding many areas of corporate tax rules and regulations. You’ll gain extensive knowledge in the area of federal income taxation as it relates to corporations and their shareholders.

Financial Analysis

According to Parker Lynch, a financial analyst is responsible for financial planning, analysis, and projection for larger companies and corporations. Financial analysts forecast possible revenues and expenditures to establish cost structures and determine project capital budgeting. These accounting specializations are essential, as a financial analyst can review and process financials and predict the monetary future. 

The Graduate Certificate in Financial Analysis at Missouri State University is created for students who want to pursue a career in financial analysis. The certificate program will groom students to pass the Level I Chartered Financial Analysis (CFA) Exam and provide a foundation for further study preparation for the Level II and Level III CFA Exams.

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Forensic and Investigative Accounting

Forensic Accounting is a thriving sector where the knowledge, skills, and abilities of radical accounting are paired with investigative acumen and applied to legal problems. Forensic accountants are highly trained and skilled in analyzing and preparing financial information for a court of law. While this is a new area of concentration, high education institutions are putting curriculum in place to train and educate financial sleuth. Forensic accounting can be complicated as well as exciting. In a Report to the Nations 2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners predicted that approximately 5% of annual revenue worldwide is lost to fraud. Globally, this translates to $4 trillion in potential losses.

Saint Xavier University offers a cutting-edge Forensic Accounting program online. The MBA concentration in Forensic Accounting provides graduate students academic rigor and academic experience that provides the proficiency and skill to begin a career in financial fraud investigation and prepares them with expertise in forensic accounting modules. This focus is ideal for accounting and security professionals looking to balance the broad business knowledge of the MBA with specialized expertise in forensic accounting.

Here’s a great Q&A on Pursuing a Career in Forensic Accounting with Bryan Callahan, director of forensics and valuation services at BKD. 

Internal Audit

An internal auditor (IA) is a competent professional employed by a company to provide autonomous and equitable evaluations of financial and operational business activities, including corporate governance. They are tasked with ensuring that companies comply with laws and regulations, follow proper procedures, and function as efficiently as possible.

The job market for professionals in internal audit and risk management is remarkable. A concentration in this area covers internal audit from a broad perspective and addresses review of business processes, technology, governance, ethics, risk assessment, and auditing standards. This overall perspective allows individuals to work in any industry or discipline. UT Dallas has a program with a concentration in Internal Audit. Visit the graduate catalog for a complete list of courses in this concentration. 

Here is an excellent blog by Stephie Mills titled Lifestyle of a CPA. Here she gives a candid expose of what it is like to work in the internal auditing industry from duties, salary, travel & more!

Managerial Accounting

Investopedia defines managerial accounting as the practice of identifying, measuring, analyzing, interpreting, and communicating financial information to managers to pursue an organization’s mission. The immense purpose of managerial accounting is to aid users internal to the company in making smart business decisions.

Elevate your accounting skills and leadership potential. Earn your online degree with an emphasis in managerial accounting from Brenau University. Brenau offers the Managerial Accounting concentration to aid students in customizing their degree with added abilities. It’s accessible as part of the online MBA degree at Brenau.


Tax Director

Taxation is how a government takes money from its citizens and invests it in education, health, and defense. It is the sum of money people have to pay in taxes.

The Master of Business Administration degree specializing in Taxation (MBA – Taxation) from The University of St. Thomas provides the student with broad business knowledge. It prepares them for cross-functional decisions. The MBA curriculum gives the student a concise understanding of management problems and the business firm’s position in the financial structure of society. Offered on-campus and online, the goal of the taxation specialization is to provide the student with an opportunity to focus on the technical area of taxation so that they will be able to start and further their profession of public accounting as a tax specialist or in corporate management in the tax area. Accounting and business decisions must be evaluated regarding possible tax implications and consequences. The MBA – Taxation program will not qualify a student to sit for the CPA examination in the State of New York.

Action Plan

Now we know that an advanced education this is not as easy as 1-2-3. Taking this step to apply for an Online MBA program is very serious. You have to make sure that you are taking the steps needed to get accepted into one of these high-demand/competitive programs. Have you taken the GRE or the GMAT? If not, this is a great time to start your GRE/GMAT prep. Please take the time to research the program you want to apply to. You will be taking these classes, so you need to be comfortable with your school of choice. Now start preparing for those tests!

The list of online MBA accounting specializations is exciting as well as intimidating. What skills do you have in your toolbox to give you a leg up on the competition? But we cannot forget about passion. You must be passionate about your work. It will be that passion that will get you through those sleepless nights of studying. Don’t force yourself to go for something that does not feel right. I always say, when things don’t add up, subtract yourself. We want you to think about what you are passionate about in the world of accounting. Do you like helping companies achieve their financial goals? Do you want to travel and make business connections through internal audit? It is all up to you! With purpose, preparation, and passion in your back pocket, you are ready for what we call #SuccessOnPurpose.

Related Resources:

Guide to an Economics Online MBA
Top Online MBA Programs
Highest Paying MBA Concentrations

Find Your MBA

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