Difference Between CPA and MBA

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    graduate-hatCPA vs MBA

    CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant, while MBA is a Master in Business Administration. Fundamentally, a CPA is very different from MBA. Whereas MBA is a degree and of generally higher value to employers, CPA is an accounting certification that will basically get you the specific skills needed within the accounting and auditing fields. Certainly, this certification will command higher salaries within those fields, but will be of no value outside those fields. One’s ability, with a CPA certification, to make it to one of the big accounting firms also determines wether or not a high salary will be paid , although you will still need a degree from a business school to make it to a big accounting firm. For an MBA to command a lot of weight he will still need work experience, however, it will still be valued highly by employers regardless of what kind of work was previously completed.

    MBA degrees are very broad in scope, and comprise of study areas that mainly focus on the managerial aspects of business operations, including accounting, management, finance, and operations. Skills obtained in these areas are known as ‘hard skills’. An MBA will also impart ‘soft skills’ in team working, leadership, communication and ethics. Generally speaking, an MBA equips students to become better managers, as the combination of those hard and soft skills is very vital for anyone intending to become a very skilled manager.

    Although the CPA is more of a specialist degree than the broader MBA, it actually offers more than accounting skills. It includes training students with the necessary technical expertise to help them make strategic business decisions, as well as giving them a clear understanding of the business dynamics facing organizations in today’s global markets.

    CPA training is split into two levels, the foundation level and the professional level, which consists of 14 segments. The foundation level consists of eight segments. This level introduces the fundamental principles of accounting that form the basis of financial reporting in organizations. The exams for this level will then determine the grasp of knowledge required to advance to the professional level.

    The professional level consists of six education segments at a postgraduate level, and expounds on the knowledge base acquired in the first level. This level mainly involves challenges in high level analysis, decision making and reporting. It concentrates on those areas that really define the core of a CPA, which are leadership, governance, ethics and strategy. After this, progress is made to the practical requirement, where relevant work experience is conducted under suitable supervision.

    Summary:

    MBA stands for Masters in business administration, while CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant.
    MBA is a post graduate degree course, whereas CPA is a specialized advanced certification.
    An MBA is very broad, and usually requires considerable work experience, whereas a CPA is more of a specialist, and may not require a lot of work experience.
    Whereas a CPA is equally as important in terms of skills imparted, an MBA degree generally carries more value to employers.

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