Russell Hauer, Managing Partner
Thank you for such a great question! I am assuming you are finishing up your Baccalaureate degree, that meets the educational requirements for CPA licensure in your state, and are deciding whether to enter the work force and pursue your CPA license or continue on in school and earn your MAcc degree.
I am a firm believer that any form of eduction provides benefits in one form or another, so whether you decide to pursue your MAcc, a CPA license or both, you will be well positioned for a rewarding career in accounting. My advice would be to finish your four year degee and enter the work force to start gaining valuable “hands on” experience in accounting and use this time to work towards earning your CPA license. I think this is the best course of action because it allows you time to gain professional experience and prepare for the CPA exam. Additionally, entering the work force gives you the opportunity to validate your career choice before you decide to dedicate more time and money to earning an advanced degree in that same field. For me, passing the CPA exam was one of the hardest professional challenges I faced; and once I passed, more opportunities were available to me.
Another point to consider is the fact that you may get more out of your MAcc degree once you have had a few years of work experience under your belt. I do not have a MAcc but I have a Masters Degree in Taxation. I beleive the program was more valuable to me since I already had my CPA and work experience. The “real world” experience helped me grasp the concepts presented more quickly than others in the program without work experience.
In addition, you maybe fortunate enough to work for an employer that will cover the cost of exam preparation and offer a bonus for passing the CPA exam. Furthermore, some employers may cover the cost of your MAcc degree so waiting to take on that challenge maybe more worthwhile if your employer covers the costs.
In closing I would advise you to gain work experience, earn your CPA and possibly pursue your MAcc in that order.
Good luck and I hope my insights help!!!!