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Why Accounting Is a Core MBA Course

Every accredited Master of Business Administration program requires students to take accounting. It does not matter if the program is online or on campus. Investopedia describes accounting as "the systematic and comprehensive recording of financial transactions pertaining to a business."

Dr. William Wilcox, University of Northern Colorado professor, explains the importance of accounting in simple terms: "Accounting is the language of business, so we need to be comfortable with the terminology and how it is used."

Benefits of Taking Accounting in an MBA Program

Managers depend on company financial data to understand the story the numbers tell, and make decisions based on that story. Students taking accounting will learn the concepts, applications and uses of accounting to make sound business decisions. People who grasp accounting concepts can verify the accuracy of the numbers and ensure no one takes advantage of the organization.

Those well-versed in accounting also understand how specific activities can influence the numbers. Students will learn how to review financial reports and determine what actions to take to improve the organization's success.

Some MBA programs go into more detail in financial management with another course that builds on the basic accounting concepts. For example, the University of Northern Colorado offers Managerial Accounting and Advanced Financial Management. The latter delves deeper into financial management concepts.

Advanced Financial Management will supply students with the knowledge to understand:

  • Risk and return
  • Time value of money
  • Capital budgeting
  • Financial analysis and modeling
  • Working capital management
  • International corporate finance

The course may use case studies or simulation to reinforce the students' learnings. Moreover, when you see news reports on a company's struggles or unethical practices, you can rely on your knowledge of basic accounting to understand the situation and learn from their mistakes. Accounting also enhances problem-solving, critical thinking and organizational skills, all of which are valuable to employers.

How to Succeed in an MBA Accounting Course

Accounting is not necessarily easy or difficult. Whether students find it challenging depends on their knowledge and experience with numbers, their attention to detail, and their ability to follow strict procedures. Yes, those with an aptitude for math tend to effortlessly pick up accounting. Others may find it helpful to take fewer classes while enrolled in accounting. This allows them to spend more time on accounting coursework.

UNC Associate Professor Janel Greiman shares some advice for succeeding in accounting courses:

  • Take notes: Treat video lectures like traditional lectures and review notes before exams.
  • Review graded quizzes: Understand why answers are correct or incorrect.
  • Practice often: Working the problems helps students learn accounting.
  • Work daily: Doing so provides time to re-watch videos and re-work problems without rushing.
  • Review earlier material: The course is cumulative so it helps to review the old before the new.
  • Learn the vocabulary: Mastering the terms makes it easier to learn new concepts.

Professors like those at the University of Northern Colorado want to help. They encourage students to regularly engage with them and ask questions. Students who complete accounting coursework gain the knowledge and skills needed to propel their careers and organizations forward.

Learn more about the University of Northern Colorado's online MBA program.


Investopedia: Accounting

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