What is the Best Degree to Become a Financial Manager?

While there is no best degree to become a financial manager, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most employers expect candidates to have a master’s degree in finance, accounting or business administration. Students should note that when it comes to financial jobs with supervisory responsibilities, a bachelor’s degree is typically enough to secure an interview, but the best jobs will be reserved for those with graduate level degrees.

Master of Science in Finance

A Master of Science in Finance (MSF) turns students into financial professionals and important industry leaders through deepening their business acumen and technical finance skills. Graduates gain the ability to evaluate corporate investment projects, appreciate the importance of ethical decision making and value stocks and bonds using innovative valuation methods. They can construct efficient portfolios using the standard techniques for estimating expected risks and returns.

The program usually starts out with classes on financial markets, which studies the time value of money and the relation between risk and return, and financial accounting, which focuses on the analysis and accumulation of accounting data. Classes on corporate finance teach students how to legally and ethically maximize within established financial frameworks. Students learn about capital structure and budgeting as well as payout and derivative pricing policies. Highly unique classes, such as financial econometrics, focus on how to build massive databases, while corporate modeling and valuation coursework covers topics like equity valuation and free cash flow.

Master of Science in Accounting

The Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) curriculum enriches auditing, taxation and cost accounting skills. It prepares students to become eligible to take professional certification exams, such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The program’s curriculum usually focuses on conducting legal research, addressing risk management, generating accounting data and creating compliance strategies and quality improvement processes. Students take basic classes in corporate accounting and financial accounting practices. Classes take both internal and international perspectives on accounting reporting systems.

Students are trained to create reports regarding valuation allowances, revenue recognition and financial derivatives. When it comes to regulations, students are exposed to the major legal requirements that they will encounterd as professional accountants. Students become familiar with the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and federally mandated legal liabilities. Studying corporate tax strategies shows students the effects of federal income tax decisions on business. Students are trained in mortgages, business liquidation and the buying and selling business assets.

Master of Science in Business Administration

This degree is good for students who want an equal balance of managerial training and technical finance knowledge. These degrees prepare students to keep daily operations running smoothly while adding value to business processes and environments. These well-rounded degrees develop the student’s skills in finance, management and software applications. Students explore real-world business operational examples in order to refine decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Students take basis management courses that provide overviews of management theories, functions and organizational structures. Students are prepared to execute and manage financial and accounting system changes within dynamic organizations and global environments. Learning about microeconomics introduces students to the economic principles that impact the decisions of consumers and businesses. Most programs teach students about market trends through standard behavioral and market theories.

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The best degree to become a financial manager depends on the student’s career goals and industry interests.