Department of Accounting
What You Can Gain From Metropolitan State University of Denver's Accounting Programs
The accounting program prepares you for entry into careers in public accounting, industry, tax and the government sector, as well as graduate education and lifelong learning.
You should gain these skills and attributes through the bachelor's and master's programs:
- ability to organize, analyze, and interpret numerical data;
- strategic and critical thinking skills;
- proficiency in oral and written communications with ability to explain complex financial data to others;
- ability to apply current technology;
- knowledge of financial and economic history, practices, and trends;
- ability to work collaboratively as well as independently;
- understanding of the methods for creating, leading, and managing change in organizations.
Careers in Accounting
More Than Just Numbers
Accounting is a profession, not a mere job, and has emerged as one of the fastest growing professions. Careers are open to women and men of all backgrounds. It is a profession that offers good income potential, stability, and benefits. In an ever-changing business landscape, it’s about so much more than just numbers.
Refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website to learn about career outlook information for the accounting field.
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Accounting graduates usually pursue career options in these fields:
Certified public accounting firms range in size from large international companies to individual practitioners working from home offices. Accountants working for CPA firms perform audits, prepare tax returns, and do tax research and planning. They act as management advisors offering expertise to individuals and industries in a variety of consulting areas.
Business and Industry
Accountants working in industry can choose from a wide variety of positions. An accounting degree can provide the path to positions such as chief financial officer and chief information officer. Other accountants in industry specialize in areas such as forecasting, budgeting, financial analysis, or internal auditing. Many students begin as staff accountants and progress to senior accountant, supervisor, manager, controller, and up to CFO, CIO, or even CEO.
Government and Not-For-Profit
All levels of government need accountants. With their understanding of financial systems, accountants have the opportunity to select from among numerous options in the government sector. They can use their expertise to gain management positions. Accountants are employed by federal, state, local, and educational agencies. The FBI, IRS, GAO, CIA, and Secret Service all employ a large number of accountants.
Accounting educators are members of colleges, universities and business, professional and graduate schools. As faculty, these accountants help prepare students for careers in the profession. In addition to classroom-related activities, faculty members are also expected to engage in research and provide service to their educational institution, the profession, and the community.
Professional certifications typically include examination, education, and experience requirements. While a bachelor’s degree will get you started on the path toward professional certification, the MPAcc (master’s degree) program at MSU will help prepare you even more, and, in fact, may even be required. Some of the most popular certifications are CPA, CMA, CIA, CFP, CISA and CFE. Each is discussed briefly below.
Each state has its own specific requirements for CPA certification. Most states require 150 semester hours of college education, including a bachelor's degree, and have at least 30 credit hours in accounting subjects. The CPA is the only accounting-related certification requiring 150 hours of education in most states. Until July1, 2015, Colorado requires only 120 hours of education.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
The CMA certificate gives professional recognition to the management accountant. CMA certification is administered by the Institute of Management Accountants.
The CIA certification provides recognition to individuals who have achieved technical competence in the field of internal auditing. The Institute of Internal Auditors administers the CIA exam.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
The CFP certification denotes that an individual aspires to the highest level of excellence in financial planning. The certification process is overseen by the Institute of Certified Financial Planners.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Individuals with expertise in information systems auditing can be certified as a CISA by meeting established education, experience, and examination requirements. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association governs the process for CISA certification.
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
The CFE certification designates proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence. CFEs are trained to identify the warning signs and red flags that indicate evidence of fraud and fraud risk. CFEs around the world help protect the global economy by uncovering fraud and implementing processes to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place.
Other Certifications That Could Pair Nicely with an Accounting Background
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
The CISM recognizes international security practices and individuals who manage designs, and oversee and assess an enterprise’s information security. Information Systems Audit and Control Association oversees this certification.
CGFM is a professional certification recognizing the unique skills and special knowledge required of today’s government financial managers. It covers governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls and budgeting at the federal, state and local levels. The certification is administered by the Association of Government Accountants.
Other Licensing Links
DORA – Department of Regulatory Agencies
CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, CPAs
Colorado Office of the State Auditor
Colorado Judicial Courts and Probation
Kundinger, Corder & Engle, PC, CPAs
Richey May & Co., CPAs