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Pursuing a Graduate Program in Accounting and Data Analytics

The accounting industry is becoming increasingly complex and requires specially trained professionals to analyze financial data to help companies make strategic decisions. If you enjoy digging into financial data to solve business problems, there is high demand for professionals with both financial and data analysis expertise.

A specialized accounting and data analytics degree gives you the skills you need to meet this increased demand — but do you need an undergraduate degree in accounting to get started?

Read on to learn more about accounting and data analytics careers and how to get a Master’s in Accounting and Data Analytics degree — with or without an undergraduate degree in accounting — to start or advance your career.

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Why Choose a Career in Accounting and Data Analytics?

A career in accounting and data analytics is perfect for those who enjoy gathering, organizing and analyzing data in order to solve organizational problems. It combines financial expertise with analytical skills, making it highly valuable in today’s data-driven business environment.

It’s also a diverse field, with opportunities across all sectors. Choosing a career in accounting and data analytics can provide you with a stable and rewarding profession and the ability to make a meaningful impact.

  • Data analytics careers are in high demand

    Every business, across all sectors, requires professionals who can handle financial transactions, analyze data and provide insights for decision-making. As technology continues to advance and businesses become more data-driven, the demand for skilled professionals is expected to grow.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of financial analysts is expected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031 — far exceeding the average growth rate of 5 percent for all careers.

  • Career stability and growth

    Accounting and data analytics are essential to organizations, ensuring financial compliance and providing valuable insights. This stability offers long-term job security and career growth opportunities. As you gain experience and expertise, you can progress into more senior roles, such as financial analyst or managerial positions.

  • Unlimited salary potential

    Careers in accounting and data analytics often offer competitive salaries. Specialized roles such as financial analysts often command higher salaries, over $95,000 on average, due to the advanced skill sets and expertise they require.

     

  • Impactful decision-making

    Accounting and data analytics professionals play a crucial role in driving informed decision-making within organizations. By analyzing financial data, identifying trends and providing insights, you can contribute to strategic planning, risk management and resource allocation. That means your work can directly influence business outcomes and help organizations optimize their operations.

Accounting and Data Analytics Professionals: What Do They Do?

A career in accounting and data analytics allows you to combine your analytical skills with financial expertise. You’ll develop a strong understanding of financial concepts, regulations and reporting standards while also gaining proficiency in data analysis, statistical modeling and visualization techniques. This combination of skills makes you a valuable asset in the business world.

Accounting and data analytics: A career full of possibilities

With growing complexity in financial operations, accountants and auditors with specialized education and experience in data analytics can pursue diverse opportunities across various sectors. You can work in public accounting firms, private corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, or even start your own consultancy. The skills and knowledge gained in this field are highly transferable, allowing you to explore different industries and roles.

More specifically, with accounting and data analytics credentials and experience, you could succeed in roles like:

  • Auditor
  • Business data analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Financial manager
  • Forensic accountant
  • Government accountant
  • Internal auditor
  • Risk analyst
  • Risk manager
  • Tax accountant

How to Prepare for a Master’s in Accounting and Data Analytics Degree With a Non-Business Undergraduate Degree

Preparing for a Master’s in Accounting and Data Analytics degree with a non-business undergraduate degree may require some additional steps to bridge the knowledge gap. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for a Master’s in Accounting and Data Analytics degree effectively:

  • Take prerequisite courses

    Some accounting and data analytics degree programs may require specific prerequisite courses in accounting, statistics or business. If you lack a background in these areas, consider taking undergraduate or online courses to gain the necessary foundation before starting the program.

  • Gain foundational business knowledge

    Familiarize yourself with basic business concepts and principles. Study topics such as finance, economics, marketing and organizational behavior. Online resources or introductory business courses can help you acquire this foundational knowledge.

  • Develop quantitative skills

    Since data analytics involves working with numbers and statistical analysis, focus on enhancing your quantitative skills. Brush up on math and statistics, and learn how to work with spreadsheets and statistical software such as Excel or Python. Online tutorials or local workshops can help improve your skills in these areas.

  • Self-study accounting principles

    Familiarize yourself with basic accounting principles, such as financial statements, journal entries and financial ratios. There are abundant online tutorials and resources provided by accounting organizations that can help you grasp these fundamental concepts.

  • Develop data analytics skills

    Start building your data analytics skills by learning about data manipulation, visualization and statistical analysis techniques. Explore tools like Excel and SQL or programming languages like Python or R for data analysis. Online courses and specialized data analytics courses can help you gain proficiency in these areas.

Become an Accounting and Data Analytics Expert With a Master’s Degree From Michigan State University

Michigan State University offers an online Master’s in Accounting and Data Analytics degree that meets you where you are. We designed our program to equip all students with the specialized skills they need, regardless of their background.

You’ll learn new skills in accounting, information systems and data analysis to meet the ever-changing needs of the workplace. We’ll also ensure you gain hands-on experience in data visualization, data mining, modeling, forecasting, statistics and more — skills that are in high demand in all sectors.

For students without a business undergraduate degree, we’ll help you develop business acumen in foundational coursework and equip you with real-world experience so you’re ready to launch your career in today’s workplace.

If you have an undergraduate degree in business but not a degree in accounting, you can choose to refresh your skills in fundamental accounting coursework or skip the classes that you’ve already mastered and take courses in specialization areas that align with your goals.

Those with an undergraduate degree in accounting will deepen their understanding of advanced accounting topics like M&A, taxation and complex managerial accounting. Our program will strengthen your skills and ensure you remain in demand for the entirety of your career.

Learn more about MSU’s Master’s in Accounting and Data Analytics degree.