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MBA vs. CPA: Which is Right for You?

Most accounting and finance professionals reach a point in their career where they consider obtaining a certification or an additional degree of designation. One of the questions I get asked most is whether an MBA or CPA is better for career advancement? The answer should be based on the career path you want in the future and in some cases having both is ideal. You might also need to consider the investment of time and money in obtaining one or the other. There are requirements for obtaining the CPA that entail a certain number of hours in accounting simply to be eligible to sit. On the other hand getting an MBA requires acceptance in to an MBA program.

If you are considering a future in management or consulting with a financial services firm, or working as a securities analyst, investment banker or venture capitalists, an MBA might be your best choice. If your dreams for the future include working as a controller, CFO, financial analyst or auditor, a CPA certification is practically a must. Director, VP and C level accounting & finance roles are also where having both can be very helpful.

Below is a table to highlight some of the differences between an MBA and CPA:

Whether you choose the route of MBA or CPA, you will increase your skills, knowledge, network, and earning power.