Best Online MBA Programs in Accounting and Finance



By enrolling in an online master of business administration (MBA) program that concentrates in accounting or finance, students can prepare for high-level jobs in corporate environments. While the two concentrations can lead to similar careers, an online MBA in accounting focuses on tax strategy, auditing, and asset management. An online MBA in finance emphasizes corporate structure and investment strategy.

Graduates with an MBA in accounting and/or finance qualify for jobs as financial managers, financial analysts, and top executive roles such as chief executive officer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual wage of $105,660 for all management occupations in 2019. This figure surpasses all other major occupational groups.

This page covers the best online MBA programs in accounting and finance and provides information about degree expectations and career possibilities.

Recommended Online Accounting Programs

10 Best Online Accounting and Finance Grad Schools

Rank School Location
1 University of Maryland College Park, MD
2 University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
3 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
4 Northeastern University Boston, MA
5 Florida International University Miami, FL
6 University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA
7 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
8 Clarion University Clarion, PA
9 Florida Tech University Melbourne, FL
10 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
See Detailed Rankings


What Are MBAs in Accounting and Finance?

Accountants often work in industries such as tax preparation, bookkeeping services, finance and insurance, and government. They handle financial records and suggest improvements for greater financial stability. Accountants may take on individual or corporate clients or work for a single organization. They ensure that their employers meet financial regulations and prepare documents for tax filing.

Finance professionals may also oversee compliance with laws and regulations, particularly if they work as financial examiners. With an online MBA in finance, professionals can explore more jobs, many of which deal with an organization's overall financial operations. Finance professionals assess cash flow, investment activities, and business trends to ensure their organization performs at optimal levels. They often work in insurance, professional and technical services, and enterprise management.

An online MBA in accounting provides students with a strong business foundation to coincide with their accounting expertise. While the accounting specialization focuses on providing advanced accounting skills, degree-seekers can also build their skills by focusing on accounting foundations. An online MBA in finance may focus more on investments and portfolio-building.

Students who excel in math, critical thinking, and communication may choose to pursue an MBA in accounting and/or finance. Both areas require superior attention to detail and strong problem-solving and organization skills.

Why Get an Online Accounting or Finance MBA?

Any advanced degree requires an investment of both time and money. Prospective students may question whether an MBA in accounting or finance can return that investment. An MBA focuses on business strategy from a management perspective, preparing learners to advance to higher-level jobs. By pairing in-depth specialization knowledge with business basics, an MBA readies students for success in the field.

Benefits of pursuing an MBA in accounting and/or finance include:

  • Knowledge Breadth: MBA enrollees learn core business foundations in addition to their concentration. Core courses typically cover business analytics, communication, and strategy, preparing enrollees to understand the broader context of their concentration within the business environment.
  • Opportunity: Graduates with an MBA in accounting and/or finance can leverage their experience and expertise to stand out in the job market and qualify for advancement opportunities.
  • Salary Potential: Finance and accounting professionals can earn lucrative salaries. The BLS reports a median annual wage of $69,820 across all business and financial occupations in 2019, with financial analysts and examiners both earning above $80,000 per year.

Comparing Accounting and Finance MBAs to General Accounting Degrees

Prospective students with an interest in business may wonder whether to pursue an MBA in accounting and finance or a master of accounting (MAcc). While similar, the degrees differ when it comes to career preparation.

An MBA in accounting and finance prepares learners to view their specialty within the overall context of a business, while an MAcc emphasizes in-depth accounting knowledge. Learners pursuing an MBA in accounting online may already hold certified public accountant (CPA) credentials. Aspiring CPAs may want to pursue the MAcc, as most programs emphasize exam readiness.

The table below illustrates some of the differences between an online MBA in accounting, an online MBA in finance, and a MAcc.

Comparing Accounting and Finance MBAs to General Accounting Degrees
MBA in Accounting MBA in Finance MAcc
Learning Outcomes Graduates possess the skills to contextualize accounting and taxes within a larger business structure. Graduates possess the skills to contextualize financial and investment activities within a larger business structure. Graduates possess deep accounting knowledge and the skills to pass the CPA exam.
Career Paths Top executive, financial manager, management analyst, accountant, personal financial advisor Top executive, financial manager, financial examiner, management analyst Accountant, auditor, personal financial advisor, financial analyst, tax examiner
Coursework Business communication, analytics, and strategy; managerial accounting; business tax planning; advanced accounting Business communication, analytics, and strategy; managerial accounting; portfolio management; international finance Managerial accounting; intermediate accounting I and II; taxation; auditing principles
Required Credits About 40-55 About 40-55 About 30
Timeline 1-2 years 1-2 years 10-12 months
Certification Prep Does not typically lead to CPA credential Does not typically lead to CPA credential Usually prepares students for CPA credential

The Top Online MBA in Finance and Accounting Schools

1. University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business

The University of Maryland (UMD) is the flagship university of the University of Maryland System, and the largest university in the state. Considered a "public Ivy", UMD's Smith School of Business is widely regarded as one of the top business schools in the country, typically ranked in the top 20 by publications such as US News & World Report and Bloomberg's BusinessWeek.

Online Program Overview

UMD's online MBA degree from the Smith School of Business offers the same academic rigor as its on-campus counterpart. Students can earn their degree in as little as 21 months while continuing to work in their career thanks to the convenience and flexibility of the online format. The Smith Online MBA offers concentrations in Marketing, Finance, Accounting or Information Systems and Business Analytics. Students can also choose the general track, which covers the core concepts of each specialization.

Accreditation

The Smith Online MBA is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

2. University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

The University of North Carolina was founded in 1789, and it was the only American public university to have a graduating class during the 18th century. It is the nation's oldest public institution of higher learning. Today, UNC is one of the foremost research universities in the world and the Kenan-Flagler

Online Program Overview

The Online MBA program at UNC offers students the same quality of education as the campus-based programs. Live weekly classes are offered online and complement the self-paced modules that students complete on their own schedule. Students typically take two years to complete the program. Coursework consists of core courses, such as financial accounting and managerial economics, that all students must take and electives that allow students to focus on a particular area. Through a combination of core courses and electives, students can customize their plans to concentrate on corporate finance, entrepreneurship or other areas.

Accreditation

The MBA@UNC is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

3. Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business

Arizona State University is a federal land-grant public school that was founded in 1885 in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix. By enrollment, ASU is the nation's largest public university. "U.S. News & World Report" ranks ASU as one of the best graduate schools in the nation, and the university is among the top 100 schools in the world, according to the Center for World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The online graduate programs in business are also ranked second in the nation by "U.S. News & World Report."

Online Program Overview

The W. P. Carey MBA online program at ASU allows students to enter the program in either January or July of each year. Students take one course what lasts six weeks before moving on to the next class. Most students complete the online program in 21 months. ASU offers students a variety of options to create a customized MBA to match their interests and career goals. Applications must include GMAT scores, but a GRE may be acceptable. Candidates must have at least five years of work experience. ASU offers students the opportunity to customize their MBA by choosing to concentrate on managerial accounting, global business, financial accounting and other specialties.

Accreditation

The W.P. Carey School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

4. Northeastern University, D'Amore-McKim School of Business

Northeastern University is a private institution founded in 1898 in Boston. The university was all-male until after World War II. "U.S. News & World Report" ranked Northeaster University as 49th on its list of the best colleges for 2014. The D'Amore-McKim School of Business is one of the most respected in the country.

Online Program Overview

Candidates applying to the D'Amore-McKim School of Business Online MBA program are not required to furnish GMAT or GRE scores. The program is delivered entirely online, and there is no residency requirement. Students can choose from eight MBA specialties, including finance, marketing and healthcare management. The online MBA program can be completed in as little as 24 months, and there are nine starting dates each year. MBA candidates can choose from eight specializations, including finance, innovation entrepreneurship and international management.

Accreditation

The university holds accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

5. Florida International University College of Business

Florida International University, founded in 1965, is a public university with its main campus in Miami-Dade County. It is the second-largest university in Florida and the largest in the southern part of the state. As of 2012, there were 50,394 students enrolled, with 14,177 of those enrolled in graduate programs.

Online Program Overview

The online MBA program at FIU has been highly ranked by a number of sources. It is ranked among the 25 best value online MBA programs by Business MBA, and "Financial Times" ranked FIU among the top 48 business schools offering an online MBA program. The program requires 44 credit hours, and it can be completed in as few as 18 months. The online MBA program offered by FIU focuses on corporate finance and accounting.

Accreditation

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has accredited Florida International University's College of Business.

6. University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Manning School of Business

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is a public research university dating back to 1894. It is the second largest member of the prestigious University of Massachusetts system. UMass-Lowell's Manning School of Business is ranked among the top public business schools by Princeton Review, with special strengths in accounting and management.

Online Program Overview

The online MBA program from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell's Manning School takes between 30 and 42 credit hours to complete, depending on prior coursework. Online courses start each summer, fall and spring. Students can choose from concentrations in accounting, information technology or finance. Applicants must supply GMAT or GRE scores and proof of at least two years of relevant work experience or documentation proving a minimum of eight years of management or professional experience without scores.

Accreditation

The Manning School of Business holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

7. North Carolina State University, Poole College of Management

North Carolina State University was founded in 1887 in Raleigh as a land-grant institution. It has become the largest four-year school in North Carolina, with over 34,000 students enrolled. The NCSU Poole College of Management is known for its strengths in technology and business integration.

Online Program Overview

The professional online MBA program can be completed in as few as 21 months, but students can take as long as six years to meet the requirements. Programs start each fall and spring. Admission is competitive, and candidates must meet a number of requirements. These include a strong GPA during undergraduate studies, high scores on the GMAT or GRE, a minimum of two years of professional employment and at least one class in calculus or statistics as an undergraduate. North Carolina State's online MBA program does not offer concentrations, but students can supplement the online program with 12 credits completed on-campus to satisfy the concentration requirements. The online program focuses heavily on technology and its application in areas such as finance, marketing, and economics.

Accreditation

North Carolina State is a fully accredited university. North Carolina State University's online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

8. Clarion University College of Business Administration

Clarion University is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and was founded in 1867. In 2013, "U.S. News & World Report" ranked the university's online program among the best in the nation. Current enrollment exceeds 6,100, giving the university a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1.

Online Program Overview

Clarion University's part-time online MBA is geared for students who have already completed all prerequisite or foundation classes, such as those who hold an undergraduate degree in business. Students without the prerequisite classes may be admitted to the program, but they must first complete course-specific prerequisites before they can register for a graduate-level class. Students can take up to five courses each academic year or as few as two classes. The program can be completed in 30 months, but students are allowed to take up to six years. Candidates must have earned a cumulative quality point average of 2.75 as an undergraduate, either overall or during the final 60 hours. They must have a GMAT score of at least 450 or an equivalent score on the GRE. Online students may request a waiver for the GMAT score if they can document relevant work experience of more than five years. Students holding an undergraduate degree in accounting can complete Clarion's MBA program to meet the 150 credit-hour requirements for obtaining a CPA license in Pennsylvania. Concentrations are offered in accounting, economics, finance and other specialties.

Accreditation

Clarion's online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

9. Florida Tech University, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business

Florida Tech University, also known as the Florida Institute of Technology, is a private university located in Melbourne. In 2013, the enrollment was slightly more than 4,600 students. Despite its relatively small size, Florida Tech has produced some noteworthy graduates, including a number of generals in the U.S. military, NASA astronauts and professional athletes.

Online Program Overview

The online MBA program from Florida Tech is fully customizable, meaning that students can choose any four specialization courses from among 10 disciplines. Students can choose to generalize or pursue a concentration in a specialty, such as accounting, international business, Internet marketing or healthcare management. The program can be completed in as little as two years. Florida Tech does not require applicants to furnish GRE or GMAT scores.

Accreditation

The university holds regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

10. Southern New Hampshire University School of Business

Southern New Hampshire University is a nonprofit private university that was founded in the 1930s as a secretarial and accounting school. It received authorization to grant degrees in 1963 after changing its name to the New Hampshire College of Accounting and Commerce. Further expansion and additional name changes followed.

Online Program Overview

Southern New Hampshire University's online MBA requires completion of 13 courses totaling 39 credit hours for the general MBA. Students can choose to complete an additional nine credit hours in a concentration, such as accounting, sport management or forensic accounting. The time to complete the program can be as little as 21 months. SNHU does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admission to the program.

Accreditation

SNHU is accredited by the New Hampshire Postsecondary Education Commission and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. It is also accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and it is one of only a handful of American schools to gain accreditation from the European Council for Business Education.

11. Benedictine University College of Business

Benedictine University is a private university located near Chicago. It is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, which founded the school in 1887. "Forbes" ranked the university in the nation's top 20 percent for 2011, and "Crain's Chicago Business" lists Benedictine's MBA program as the Chicago area's fourth largest in 2011.

Online Program Overview

Benedictine University offers students two options for completing an online MBA . Under the traditional program, students complete one course at a time. Under the accelerated program, students compute two courses simultaneously. Students can concentrate on accounting, health administration, entrepreneurship, international business, financial management, marketing management or Internet marketing. The total program requires 64 credits, but students with an undergraduate degree in business may apply for a waiver for the foundation classes. GMAT scores may also receive a waiver under certain conditions.

Accreditation

Benedictine University is a fully accredited university and is affiliated with the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities.

12. Regis University School of Management

Regis University was founded in 1877 by the Jesuit Order of the Roman Catholic Church. It is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Regis University's College for Professional Studies provides bachelor's and master's degrees for working adults needing a nontraditional approach to education. The CPS also provides online courses, such as the MBA program.

Online Program Overview

The MBA program offered by Regis University requires 36 credit hours to complete. Students can choose from concentrations that include finance and accounting, marketing, operations management and health industry leadership. It is also possible to earn an MBA with a dual concentration by completing an additional nine hours. Applicants must score at least 3.5 on the analytical writing section of the GMAT or include a 1,500-word admission essay.

Accreditation

The university holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.

13. Concordia University-Wisconsin School of Business

Concordia University-Wisconsin is a private liberal arts college in Mequon, WI. The school is a member of the Concordia University System which consists of 10 postsecondary institutions located throughout the U.S. affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Programs are designed and administered from a distinctly Christian ethical perspective.

Online Program Overview

The Online MBA in Accounting from Concordia University-Wisconsin allows students to start their individualized program at anytime. All coursework is 100% online. Online classes are taught by a global consortium of business leaders and are demographically diverse, with 60% of students being female and 40% international. Eleven different MBA concentrations are offered, including accounting.

Accreditation

The online MBA program at CUW is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

14. University of the Southwest School of Business

The University of the Southwest was initially a two-year Baptist college, but it became a four-year institution in 1962. The university is interdenominational, but retains an emphasis on Christian tenets. "U.S. News & World Report" ranked the university as one of the top 20 regional colleges in the West.

Online Program Overview

The Online MBA program at University of the Southwest can be completed in as little as one year. The program requires 36 credits to graduate. Entry into the MBA program does not require a degree in business, and no prerequisites are required. Tuition covers all required texts and technology, including a Google Chromebook. Concentrations are available in accounting, finance, marketing, research, law enforcement and corrections, healthcare administration, and strategic management.

Accreditation

The University of the Southwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

15. Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts was founded in 1894 as a postsecondary school for women. During the 1930s, the school received authorization to award bachelor degrees and changed its name to State Teachers College at Fitchburg. The school remained focused on education until the 1960s, when it added additional degree programs and changed its name to Fitchburg State College. It attained university status in 2010.

Online Program Overview

The online MBA program at Fitchburg State University requires 30 credits to complete and 10 courses. Each course lasts seven weeks, and students can complete the program in as little as 17 months. The university offers two online MBA programs: Master of Business Administration in Management and the Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management. The MBA in management focuses heavily on managerial accounting, corporate finance and accounting information technology.

Accreditation

Fitchburg's MBA programs are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The university hold accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

16. Saint Leo University, Donald R Tapia School of Business

Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 and was Florida's first Roman Catholic college. It is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Benedictine order. In 1973, Saint Leo University responded to appeals from the armed forces to provide military personnel with on-base classes and distance learning opportunities. This evolved into the Center for Online Learning in 1999. The school was named one of the South's top schools in 2011 by "U.S. News & World Report," and the online school is ranked among the top 20 online universities by the SR Education Group's "Guide to Online Schools."

Online Program Overview

Saint Leo's MBA in accounting emphasizes ethics, business communications, leadership and teamwork in meeting the challenges of a modern economy. Students take courses in fraud examination, accounting law, cost accounting, analyzing financial statements and nonprofit accounting along with business communication and leadership courses. The programs are divided into courses lasting eight weeks each, and students are permitted to take one or two courses per eight-week term. Terms begin six times each year. The program requires 36 credits for graduation. Students can choose from a variety of concentrates, and they may pursue two concentrates simultaneously after obtaining the director's approval.

Accreditation

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The School of Business is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

17. Grand Canyon University, Ken Blanchard College of Business

Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit Christian university based in Arizona. It was founded in 1949 as a non-profit college, but Grand Canyon Education, a subsidiary of Significant Education, LLC, acquired the university in 2004. The purchase made Grand Canyon University the nation's first Christian university not operating as a nonprofit institution.

Online Program Overview

The Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University was named for internationally known business expert Dr. Ken Blanchard. Dr. Blanchard's model of infusing ethical values into business training is applied to all business school programs. Online MBA programs include options to concentrate on accounting, marketing or other areas, and students may choose to obtain an MBA with a dual degree in areas such as leadership or nursing. Depending on whether students have completed the prerequisites and whether they choose a specific area of emphasis, the MBA programs require as few as 34 credits.

Accreditation

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. GCU is licensed by the state of Arizona and approved by the Veteran's Administration for the education of veterans.

18. Liberty University School of Business

Liberty University is a private, nonprofit Christian academy that was founded in 1971 by Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell. Approximately 12,600 students attend traditional classes on campus, but more than 90,000 are registered for online classes only. The combination of online and traditional students makes Liberty University the world's largest Evangelical Christian college and Virginia's largest university.

Online Program Overview

Students seeking a Master of Business Administration from Liberty University complete between 36 and 45 credit hours in the program. The university offers 10 different cognates, including accounting, criminal justice, healthcare and project management. Students pursuing an MBA must select a cognate or choose the 36-hour general management option. Depending on the program selected, students may transfer up to 12 credit hours earned at other universities.

Accreditation

Liberty University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university's MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs.

19. Walden University School of Management

Walden University was conceived as a method of allowing working professionals to earn their doctoral degrees in a nontraditional manner. In the years following its founding in 1970, Walden University expanded to include bachelor's and master's degrees in a variety of disciplines.

Online Program Overview

Walden University began offering an online MBA program in 2001. Walden currently offers 10 areas of specialization for MBA candidates, including an option that allows candidates to customize the program to fit their unique career goals. Standard concentrations include accounting, corporate finance, international business and entrepreneurship.

Accreditation

Walden's MBA program has earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The university itself is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, part of the North Central Association, recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

20. Post University School of Business

Post University, a proprietary college, was founded in 1890 in Waterbury, CT. Since its founding, Post has constantly sought to find innovative ways to help students attain their goals. The university was one of the pioneers of hybrid and online education, and it provides students with a high-quality program and outstanding support services. The Online Education Database ranked Post among the 20 Best Online Universities.

Online Program Overview

Post uses a rolling enrollment calendar, so online MBA courses begin every eight weeks. The GMAT is not required for students enrolling in Post's online MBA degree program. The university offers an accelerated MBA plan that can be completed in as little as 14 months. However, the average student takes 30 months to earn the 45 credits required for the program, taking one course every eight weeks. MBA candidates choose from seven concentrations, including finance, project management and marketing.

Accreditation

Post University is licensed by Connecticut and accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

What To Expect From MBA in Accounting and Finance Programs

An MBA in accounting or finance typically requires 40-55 credits. The business core generally includes 25-40 credits, while concentration-specific courses can comprise 9-15 credits. Both degrees usually take 1-2 years to complete.

An online MBA in accounting may focus on foundational topics like taxation and auditing, or more advanced subjects in accounting theory or financial reporting. An MBA in accounting generally does not lead to CPA credentials. However, the degree may add accounting knowledge to other business experience or provide additional coursework for students who already hold accounting degrees.

An online MBA in finance covers financial management techniques, preparing students to lead departments and companies. Courses often focus on market trends, international finance, and portfolio management. Some finance specializations focus on areas like real estate, taxes, or managerial accounting.

Admission Requirements

While admission requirements vary, applicants must usually submit transcripts, a resume or CV, recommendation letters, essays, and GMAT or GRE scores. Some programs may require a phone or webcam interview. Application fees often range from $75 to $150.

Some programs set minimum requirements for GPA, work experience, or standardized test scores, while others view applications as a whole. Applicants may find GPA minimums to fall around 3.0, GMAT scores around 500, or GRE scores around 152 for both quantitative and verbal. Standardized test waivers may apply to students with academic or work experience in business. Some programs require or prefer at least two years of work experience.

Depending on the specific MBA program, learners may need to apply with a business-related bachelor's degree. Advanced accounting MBA programs typically expect students to enter with a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Popular Finance and Accounting Courses

While curriculum requirements vary, most finance and accounting MBA programs feature similar core courses. Most MBA programs require all enrollees to complete a set of business courses. Learners generally may customize their studies through concentration options or electives. Students often also gain hands-on experience through a collaborative capstone project.

Popular courses for an MBA in accounting and finance include:

  • Business Strategy

    This core offering explores the various tactics companies employ to excel in their markets. Students learn common strategies, including when to employ certain techniques and how to incorporate business knowledge into building a strategy. Other topics may include the effect of economics on business strategy, competition, and decision-making.

  • Managerial Accounting

    Another core requirement, this course views accounting from a decision-making perspective. Enrollees learn how to analyze financial data and use company resources. While subjects may cover some accounting basics, the course emphasizes how to read financial data and use it to take action.

  • Business Tax Planning

    This course for advanced accounting students addresses the theory and practice of taxes as they apply to businesses, partnerships, estates, and other organizational structures. By understanding the principles of tax planning, students learn how to optimize their organization's cash flow and make tax knowledge a part of an overall business strategy.

  • Portfolio Management and Analysis

    Often included among requirements for the online MBA in finance, portfolio-related courses prepare students to manage investments for corporate and private clients. Topics stress risk management, market behavior, portfolio diversification, and portfolio performance testing. Students learn to assess the health of overall investments and implement improvements.

  • Business Consulting Capstone

    Many programs include a capstone requirement. In a capstone, students form teams and partner with a local business to help solve a specific issue. Participants collect and analyze data, working together to propose a strategy.


How Much Do MBAs in Accounting and Finance Cost?

The cost of an MBA in accounting and finance varies widely. Enrollees typically spend $650-$2,000 per credit, though margins exist in both directions.

Many factors can influence the cost of an online MBA program. Public schools often charge lower tuition rates to in-state students. Private schools may charge a flat rate to all students, but per-credit fees may land on the higher end. By pursuing an online MBA, learners may qualify for discounted tuition regardless of where they live.

When calculating costs, prospective students should include books and materials. Some programs also require occasional travel for on-campus events.

Degree-seekers can fund their education in many ways. By completing the FAFSA, students may qualify for government grants and low-interest loans. Learners can also help defray costs by applying for scholarships through local organizations, professional associations, and corporate foundations. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not require repayment.

Jobs for Accounting and Finance MBA Graduates

Graduates with an MBA in accounting or finance qualify for a variety of occupations. Some careers overlap, while others may diverge. Top executives, like general and operations managers or chief executive officers, may benefit from a background in either accounting or finance.

An online MBA in finance may better prepare students for investment-specific jobs like financial management, while an online MBA in accounting may focus more on taxes. According to the BLS, accountants earned a median annual salary of $71,550 in 2019, while personal financial advisors made $87,850. With CPA or certified financial planner credentials, accountants can qualify for even higher-paying jobs.

Management analysts, who often have a finance background, earned an annual median salary of $85,260 in 2019. General and operations managers made a median annual salary of $100,930 in 2018.

Popular careers for graduates with an MBA in accounting or finance include:

Financial Manager

These professionals often work in industries like credit intermediation, accounting, and insurance. They handle their organization's financial operations and research trends in the stock market, make investments, and look into avenues for higher earnings. Financial managers may take titles such as controller, treasurer, or cash manager.


  • Required Education: Master's degree often preferred
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +15%
  • Median Annual Salary: $129,890
Accountant

Working for corporations, individual clients, and government offices, accountants organize and analyze financial records, check for accuracy, and prepare tax documents. They ensure their employers adhere to applicable regulations and recommend cost-saving measures. By obtaining CPA credentials, accountants can qualify for more advanced positions, potentially earning higher salaries and more executive titles.


  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree, at minimum
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $71,550
Financial Examiner

Financial examiners usually focus on either consumer compliance or risk assessment. Those in consumer compliance make sure that banks act fairly by providing loans that customers can actually repay. In risk assessment, financial examiners keep track of a company's overall financial health, assessing cash flow and evaluating management performance. These professionals often work in credit intermediation, securities, and the federal government.


  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +7%
  • Median Annual Salary: $81,090
Chief Executive

Responsible for high-level company goal setting, policy development, and strategy implementation, chief executives work with other managers to ensure their company's success. They stay current on all financial operations by regularly reviewing records. They also handle negotiations and oversee management personnel. Employers often prefer chief executives to hold a master's degree like an MBA.


  • Required Education: Master's degree often preferred
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $104,690
Personal Financial Advisor

These professionals may run their own business or work for financial investment firms. They provide guidance about investing, savings, and estate planning. Because tasks may include tax recommendations or making investments on a client's behalf, many personal financial advisors hold a degree in accounting or business.


  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,850

Choosing the Right Accounting or Finance Graduate Program

Our list of ranked schools can help students streamline their search for the right online MBA in accounting and/or finance.

Prospective enrollees should always consider accreditation when researching degree options. Regional and national accreditation apply to the school as a whole. Many institutions and employers consider regional accreditation to represent the highest standards and may not consider degrees without it. Business students may also want to look for program-specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

A degree from a prestigious institution can catch an employer's eye, particularly in more competitive settings. However, tuition may cost more at well-known schools.

In a career-focused degree like the MBA, networking can help students make important connections. Prospective learners may wish to learn about a program's alumni network and any career services the program may offer.

Why You Should Get Your MBA in Finance or Accounting Online

Online education allows enrollees to access top-quality programs regardless of where they live. Opportunities constantly increase as more schools recognize the potential of distance learning.

Students can complete all the necessary coursework for an MBA in accounting and finance without the need for in-person supervision or experiences. Even programs that require capstone projects allow students to consult from a distance. Because accounting and finance involves computer work and record assessment, the profession requires few in-person meetings.

The online experience may appeal to learners who want flexibility. Many online MBA programs run asynchronously, allowing students to access course materials on their own timeline. Some programs may require course attendance through webcams, and others may include on-campus experiences.

Distance learning requires superior time management skills and a strong will to work individually. Many programs offer ample opportunity for community building, but online study still requires self-motivation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, an MBA in finance or accounting?
It depends. Professionals with more interest in tax strategy may want to pursue accounting, while those looking to focus on investments might choose finance.
Does an MBA in accounting prepare you for the CPA exam?
Not usually. An MBA in accounting typically focuses on deepening accounting knowledge, either foundationally or at an advanced level. The degree teaches accounting through a lens of overall business strategy.
What can I do with an MBA in finance?
Graduates with an MBA in finance qualify for many positions, including general and operations manager, financial manager, financial examiner, management analyst, and chief executive officer.
What can I do with an MBA in accounting?
Graduates with an MBA in accounting qualify for many occupations, including accountant, auditor, personal financial advisor, and financial manager. Many top executives also have an accounting background.
How much does an accountant with an MBA make?
Salaries vary based on many factors, including professionals' experience level and credentials. According to PayScale data from March 2021, graduates with an MBA in accounting made an average salary of $91,631.

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