Accounting Degree Jobs for MBA Graduates

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If money is the lifeblood of a business, an accountant tracks its vital signs. Accounting provides a business with information that executives need to make decisions. It tells them whether operations are profitable or whether an investment is likely to pay off.

The essential role accounting plays in business makes it a stable career. But at its higher levels, it can offer another reward: the opportunity to make a major impact on a company’s direction.

To reach those loftier positions, earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can be helpful. An MBA program can prepare graduates with an accounting degree for jobs such as senior financial analyst, corporate controller, and chief financial officer.

accountant sits at a desk using a calculator

The Value of an MBA

There’s a reason why MBAs made up 23% of all U.S. master’s degrees in 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. It’s a versatile degree that offers many advantages for a business career.

Expanded Job Opportunities

MBA graduates are in high demand. In a 2022 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 92% of corporate recruiters planned to hire new MBA graduates. Respondents represented a diverse set of industries, including finance, energy, consulting, health care, technology, and manufacturing.

Increased Earning Potential

In 2022, starting salaries for MBA graduates were 53% higher than those for graduates with bachelor’s degrees, according to the GMAC survey. That translates to a difference of approximately $40,000 a year.

Greater Job Security

MBA programs help students develop skills that make them more valuable to a business—including leadership, analytical, and critical-thinking competencies—which can lead to more stable employment. A 2022 GMAC survey of business school alumni found that 68% felt their graduate business degrees allowed them to advance their careers more quickly, while 66% felt they increased their job security.

Professional Networking

An MBA program provides avenues for making connections, not just with faculty and other students, but also with visiting executives and through internships. In the GMAC survey of alumni, 76% reported that their graduate degree programs helped them develop their professional networks.

What Do You Learn in an MBA Program?

An MBA curriculum covers a spectrum of core business concepts. Those concepts can illuminate how accounting impacts a business.

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting turns bookkeeping numbers into actionable information for managers. It may produce a wide array of reports, depending on the specific needs of a company and its executives, including:

  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Inventories
  • Weekly and monthly sales
  • Budgets and forecasts

Managerial Economics

The science of economics explores how to allocate scarce resources to achieve the best outcomes. Managerial economics applies economic principles to business decisions.

It uses statistical and analytical tools to address complex problems, such as where to invest capital, how many workers to hire, and how to set prices. Those tools can help a company reach maximum efficiency and profitability.

Data Analysis

In the era of big data, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with information. Data analysis uses statistical techniques to convert raw data into business intelligence.

A variety of tools allow businesses to collect, clean, and analyze large sets of data. Those tools also interpret data to draw lessons and translate insights into visualizations like charts and graphs.


Some MBA programs offer concentrations in finance. They cover specialized financial concepts, which apply accounting expertise to decisions about raising, managing, and investing money. These concepts include:

  • Investment analysis. Determining whether an investment makes financial sense
  • International finance. Understanding how global financial markets affect operations, both domestic and foreign
  • Risk management. Evaluating the financial risks of decisions and tactics for reducing them

Accounting Jobs for MBA Graduates

Combining an accounting degree with an MBA can lead to a variety of high-level career paths, in terms of both responsibility and earnings. Such accounting degree jobs include:

Senior Financial Analyst

These professionals analyze an organization’s financial data to assess risk and make financial and investment recommendations based on their analysis. They prepare reports and make presentations to managers or investors. They may also manage a team of analysts.

The core competencies for this role include:

  • Knowledge of mathematics and financial analysis
  • Computer skills
  • Decision-making abilities
  • Writing and communications skills

The median annual salary for this role was approximately $83,500, according to August 2022 Payscale data.

Corporate Controller

Corporate controllers direct the creation of financial reports for investors and government regulators. They may also oversee auditing, accounting, and budgeting.
The core competencies for this role include:

  • Knowledge of financial regulations, including generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
  • Expertise with enterprise resource planning software for managing multiple departments
  • Experience with financial reporting

The median annual salary for this role was approximately $105,300, according to August 2022 Payscale data.

Finance Director

A finance director directs day-to-day financial operations for an organization, such as budgeting and cash flow. They also prepare internal reports for management and ensure a company follows its financial policies.

The core competencies for this role include:

  • Mathematics and analysis skills
  • Knowledge of accounting
  • Experience with financial software
  • Communication skills for writing reports and presenting them to executives

The median annual salary for a finance director was approximately $116,400, according to August 2022 Payscale data.

Chief Financial Officer

Chief financial officers (CFO) strategically manage a company’s long-term finances. They typically oversee the accounting and finance departments and manage aspects of the business that deal with purchasing, pricing, cash flow, investments, and tax preparation.

The core competencies for this role include:

  • Knowledge of finance, economics, and accounting
  • Decision-making abilities to help chart an organization’s financial course of action
  • Ability to work with other senior managers
  • Experience with financial software

The median annual salary for CFOs was approximately $140,800, according to August 2022 Payscale data.

Build a Solid Career in a Needed Profession

While accounting is an essential aspect of business operations, higher-level accounting degree jobs require broad knowledge of many other elements of business. A program like the Washington State University’s Online MBA in Finance can help equip students with a comprehensive set of skills in finance, operations management, marketing, analytics, strategic planning, and business law.

Explore how the combination of an accounting degree with an MBA can lead to a rewarding career in the executive ranks of the business world.


Recommended Readings

5 Hidden Benefits of Getting an MBA

Career Spotlight: Managerial Accounting

When Is the Right Time in Your Career to Earn an MBA?


Forbes, “What’s an MBA Really Worth?”

Graduate Management Admission Council, Corporate Recruiters Survey, 2022 Summary Report

Graduate Management Admission Council, “The Value of Graduate Management Education: From the Candidate’s Perspective”

Houston Chronicle, “Job Description of a Corporate Controller Public Company”

Indeed, “Director of Finance Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications”

Indeed, “Why Get an MBA? 10 Benefits of an MBA Degree to Consider”

Investopedia, “What Is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?”

Investopedia, “Data Analytics: What It Is, How It’s Used, and 4 Basic Techniques”

National Center for Education Statistics, Master’s Degrees Conferred by Postsecondary Institutions

Payscale, Average Chief Financial Officer Salary

Payscale, Average Corporate Controller Salary

Payscale, Average Finance Director Salary

Payscale, Average Senior Financial Analyst Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers

WallStreetMojo, “Managerial Economics”