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What Accounting Skills Will You Learn in an MSA Program?

Accounting Skills in MSA program

Earning a Master of Science in Accounting degree sets you apart from many others in the field, giving your career a competitive advantage. Here’s why:

  • An MSA is the best preparation for obtaining a CPA license or CME license.
  • The skills you’ll learn offer a wide range of business career opportunities.
  • With an MSA, you will command a premium salary in top organizations.

The accounting skills you’ll gain from an MSA degree prepare you to take on the most challenging (and rewarding) projects in accounting, administration, risk management, and much more. 

Accounting today is not what it was a few decades ago. Accountants now work with numbers in a whole new way. They no longer just balance the ledger but glean the story the ledger tells from the numbers it reveals. Then they tell that story in a way that leads to better decisions and thriving organizations. In this way, accountants have become trusted partners who help make key business decisions.  

Accounting Technology Transformation

What started 40 years ago with the first electronic spreadsheet is a technology revolution that now includes process automation, cloud accounting, and machine learning. The leap in technology tools over the past few decades has transformed the scope of accountancy.

A list of some of the software tools accountants work with include:

  • Cloud accounting programs to automate, access, and update data in real-time from any device
  • Sophisticated modeling programs to build financial and risk analysis projections
  • Machine learning and big data to forecast outcomes and inform strategic planning

But as revolutionary as technology is, it is only a tool. And tools are only as good as the skills with which they are applied.

Grow Your Accounting Skills

Some of the important accounting skills you’ll learn with a Master of Science in Accounting from New England College include:

Finance and decision modeling:

Models build a picture based on the input of raw numbers. A primary tool for complex decision-making, skilled accountants build and use these models to assist organizations with strategic planning and “what-if” scenarios.

Risk analysis:

Recognizing and responding to risk is the lifeblood of any organization. Using the data and financial modeling they create, accountants establish internal controls, prepare risk assessment reports, and incorporate resilience measures enabling organizations to respond to unforeseen situations.

Strategic and critical thinking:

Critical thinking is widely recognized as a core competency in all business leadership roles. In a paper entitled Critical Thinking in Professional Accounting Practice: Conceptions of Employers and Practitioners, the authors cite research stating: “…the collective conclusion from the accounting profession [is] that critical thinking skills are a prerequisite for a successful accounting career and that accounting educators should assist students in the development of these skills.”


Understanding the legal issues around finance and tax law is critical for any accounting professional. Accountants must have a firm grasp of all generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). A solid foundation in these principles and legal concepts is an essential component of any accounting practice.

Reporting and communications:

Honest, transparent, timely, and accurate reporting and communications are key accounting functions. Skilled accountants know the reporting requirements. For publicly-traded companies, this includes all SEC filings.

Mergers and Acquisitions:

Accounting for mergers and acquisitions is a high-stakes activity. Navigating “business combinations” requires knowledge and skill. Accountants who do are well-compensated.

The Online MSA Degree Program at New England College

Earning an online Master of Science in Accounting degree at New England College prepares students with the advanced fundamental knowledge and practical accounting skills required for professionals in accounting leadership roles.

The 40-credit-hour program allows a depth and breadth of study for a successful career in banking and finance, government and non-profits, corporate accounting, auditing and risk management, consulting, and taxation practices.

Among the many key benefits of the MSA program:

  • Earn your degree 100 percent online.
  • Satisfy the 150-hour requirement for the CPA exam in most states.
  • Optional concentration in forensic accounting and prepare for the Certified Fraud Examiner test.

Citing once again from Critical Thinking in Professional Accounting Practice:

“The accounting profession needs graduates from diverse backgrounds with a range of competencies. It requires all graduates to have capacities for inquiry, abstract logical thinking, and critical analysis, in addition to appropriate oral and written communication and interpersonal skills.”

These, and more, are the accounting skills students will learn from the online MSA degree program at New England College.