What is a Master of Accountancy?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 December 2019
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A master of accountancy is a graduate degree that focuses on the theory of accounting. Accounting is the study of financial transactions and is a very complex subject, with impacts on every aspect of our lives. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) have an undergraduate or bachelor degree in accounting. They are also required to obtain a combination of specific courses and relevant education to work as an accountant.

There are four aspects to a master of accountancy program: subject matter, course expectations, research, and educational institution. All four aspects are central to making the most of this educational opportunity. This program is only available from accredited universities, and will most likely be found in institutions with a strong postgraduate management or MBA school.

The subject matter covered in a master of accountancy program include accounting theory, accounting for financial instruments, systems design and advanced auditing. These areas are covered in the bachelor of accounting or management programs, but are explored in much greater detail in this program. The work covered here is critical in the development of new accounting theory and guidelines to accommodate new types of investments and financial reporting,

The course offerings available differs between different universities. When selecting a school, investigate the lead professors in this faculty and look up their research specialty. This information is available on the business school’s website. Actual articles can be found in the Journal of Accountancy and other specialized publications.


All master of accountancy students are required to complete at least two major research projects. The purpose of this research is to expand the breadth and depth of knowledge in the field of accounting. Accounting is a very active subject with relevance in everyone’s daily life.

When selecting a university for this program, look at the other programs offered by the business school. Explore the opportunities to obtain a PhD in management, accountancy or commerce. Look at the transfer credits and application requirement for other, related programs. Many people obtain a master's of accountancy and then apply some of those academic credits toward a Masters of Business Administration.

After obtaining this degree, many people find employment in economic think tanks, government agencies, educational institutions and policy development organizations. Academic roles often lead to the publication of books or other works. Other options include combining this education with world economic policy knowledge and positions with the United Nations, World Bank or International Monetary Fund.


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Post 3

@browncoat - That is true of every job and every course as well. I decided to do some accountancy courses, thinking they would be quite dull, and to be honest they really were. I almost stopped, but I decided to take one more, and fell in with a really fun group of people.

Even though the course content was still pretty much the same, having a bunch of fellow students to study with and make bad jokes with has made me much more enthusiastic. In fact, I am tempted to do a Master of Accountancy now. I'm hoping having a higher degree in the subject will give me more power to choose who I want to work with, because it makes all the difference.

Post 2

@Mor - I had an aunt who got a Masters in Accounting and she basically said the same thing. She mostly went into it because she was always quite practical, she knew she was good with figures and she wanted a decent paying job. But, she was surprised how interesting and fun it could be working with her clients. Especially when she got to the point where she could pick and choose who she wanted to work with.

It sounds on the surface like it could be quite a monotonous job, and it can be to some extent, but the people involved can make it fun.

Post 1

Whenever I think about accountants I am tempted to wonder why anyone would ever go into such work. I just don't like numbers myself, but if I was to go into a numbers related field, I would prefer something like physics, which seems like it could be more "glamorous", because at least you might be making discoveries.

But then I think about a quote from a movie, I heard when I was a kid, where someone teases a character who is an accountant and she says that she loves her job. "I get to work with my two favorite things, money and people."

And to be honest, I can understand that. I know the money thing was kind of a

joke, but it is satisfying to figure out budgets (even if I can never stick to them) and if you are doing your job well, you should be able to remain on friendly terms with a lot of interesting people as well.

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