Which Is Better: Master’s in Accounting or ACCA?

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 28, 2023

While your enthusiasm for numbers and accounting might have inspired you to pursue a degree in commerce or economics, it's a challenge to figure out what your next step in higher education may be.

Given the many options available, one of the dilemmas that students of accounting or finance face is whether to pursue ACCA or a master’s degree in accounting.

This articles delves into the differences, the curriculum each covers, and the importance of ACCA courses.

What Is a Master’s in Accounting?

A master’s degree in accounting could be an MSc, a Master of Professional Accounting, or a Master of Accounting. It could also be a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in accounting.

A master's in accounting covers theoretical topics, case studies, projects, and seminars. Also, a major chunk of your time will be devoted to research and preparing a dissertation.

For a master’s in accounting, the eligibility criteria is a bachelor’s degree in a quantitative subject such as commerce, economics, finance, or business studies.

It is imperative to have a good grounding in maths, accounting, and finance before pursuing a master’s in accounting.

With a master’s degree in accounting, you can work towards earning a CPA qualification, which would add a great deal to your CV. This qualification allows accountants to register records with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A master's degree would also help you to sharpen your analytical skills and gain a deep understanding of accounting.

Ultimately, this is ideal to prepare for a career as a public accountant, auditor, financial analyst, or e-commerce accountant.

The curriculum for a master's qualification in accounting covers:

  • Assessing financial information using IT
  • Preparing and filing individual and corporate tax
  • Professional auditing techniques

What is ACCA all about?

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is an international accountancy organization that offers a qualification to develop a career in accounting and finance.

Recognized globally by 78 markets and 80 international accountancy partnerships, this program is extensive, reasonably priced, and constantly updated with industry-standard knowledge and skills.

ACCA features 13 courses and exams that are divided into various segments. It offers courses in business, management, and financial accounting.

ACCA vs Master’s in Accounting

While a master's degree in accounting follows a natural progression in mastering concepts, the ACCA is a tightly scheduled and intense program.

ACCA requires you to be on top of your game as it covers a lot of topics and has the combined intensity of the difficult most aspects from a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

An ACCA qualification is the quickest way to start your career in the world of accounting and finance as compared to taking a master’s degree.

Also, the fees for an ACCA qualification are lower than the fees for an accounting degree.

It is always a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons when deciding what type of accounting qualification to pursue.

At the same time, if you keep in mind the career goals you are aiming for, this can help you to make the right decision.

Which Is Better: Master’s in Accounting or ACCA? FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.