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Career Advancement

I have been in an Office Manager/Sr. Accountant position for most of my career. (16+ years) I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business with Accounting Major. I am looking for opinions/thoughts on what I should do next to advance my career? i.e. Masters Degree or some type of Certificate program?

Thank you!!


Arthur Yip
Title: Audit Supervisor
Company: On Assignment Inc
(Audit Supervisor, On Assignment Inc) |

The most recognized business credentials are still the MBA or CPA. It really depends on what you would like to do in your career. The MBA will help if you want to get into management, the CPA will help if you want to stay in the field of Accounting.

Mark Sutherland
Title: CFO
Company: Profit By Design CFO & Controller Servic..
(CFO, Profit By Design CFO & Controller Services) |

As Arthur said, it depends on what you want to do next. If you want to be a CFO, you'll want to polish your corporate finance, managerial accounting, treasury and controllership skills, none of which necessarily require entering a degree program. Some targeted course work or text reading could do the trick. Granted, the MBA has value, especially to larger companies, but is not necessarily as important to small to mid-market company owners.

Steve Sheridan
Title: Associate
Company: Dean Lewis Associates
(Associate, Dean Lewis Associates) |

I am going to disagree a bit with Mark. My experience includes over 20 years as an office manager/Sr accountant with small companies, and I am currently in an MBA program. In the first class alone in the program, a marketing class, I learned many things that helped me understand how to market to both exterior and interior clients in a small business setting. There are classes on human resources, business law, and even a class about small businesses that will relate to the small business at which I'm at now. Our 3rd party IT vendor ( a company of 2 people) also swears by his MBA learning experience as something that helps him greatly.
It's just my opinion, but I don't think you could go wrong getting an MBA. As it was said, it would prove beneficial in a large company, and it will also help in small companies as well.

Mark Sutherland
Title: CFO
Company: Profit By Design CFO & Controller Servic..
(CFO, Profit By Design CFO & Controller Services) |

My assumption was that Anonymous took marketing, business law, HR, etc when they got their business degree, as I did. I have an MBA, and I agree that it can be an ideal fit and choice for advancement. But it's not the only way to rise to CFO, and given the cost in time, tuition, and the potential opportunity cost of lost wages while attending school, and MBA becomes a very expensive proposition. Finally, some MBA programs can be somewhat of a rehash of what was already studied during a bachelors in business, which Anonymous has, and his/her time might be better spent studying upper level corporate finance, managerial & cost accounting, treasury and controllership, etc. Anonymous will obviously need to decide where their interest lies.

(CFO) |

After 40 years as a Controller or CFO, starting with a career in a CPA, my advice is to find out why after 16 years you have not progressed farther and have not progressed up the accounting chain as Accounting manger, assistant controller, Controller. If your work experience has not provided you with the skill set for advancement, a MBA or CPA, at this point in your life, will not necessarily facilitate that advancement in the accounting and finance area. You need to assess your personality, your drive, your appetite for risk, and other personal traits as well. find your next job title and in which industry, look at job requirements for that position and then work on fulfilling those job requirements. Look at a CMA, just for filing in holes in you background.Also take free seminars and courses, like from Proformative, to broaden your knowledge base. Lastly, learn how to sell yourself.

Jason M. Jones LPA
Title: Client Service Coordinator
Company: Hemphill Wright & Associates CPAs
(Client Service Coordinator, Hemphill Wright & Associates CPAs) |

Anonymous, I actually was kinda wondering the same thing myself, I mean, after 16 years, being maxed out as a Senior Accountant is going to raise some questions no MBA or CPA acquisition will mitigate.

To echo what others here have said, take inventory of the work experience you've acquired, do some soul searching as to what position you aspire to seek, create a value proposition based on the two, and look for a Controller or Finance Director position. Based on your value proposition, you may opt to pursue an MBA, CPA, or CMA designation accordingly.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

What do you want to do? Where do you see fitting best in an organization? Your personal corporate ladder may differ from others.
For example, if you see yourself being a great asset for a CFO, because that's what you do best, and you don't feel cut out to be a CFO, then make that your personal ladder. And that's fine.
As the Anon poster above noted "You need to assess your personality, your drive, your appetite for risk, and other personal traits as well."

If you think you'll be in the workforce for another 15-20 years, then the single largest issue you will face is the HUGE change that technology is introducing to the back office. From cloud based ERP/Finance systems, to process automation, to new revenue models that drive new recognition standards, to blockchain technology, the world of accounting is about to get transformed. Regardless of your role in finance, you should pay attention to that macro issue.

Matt Capozzi
Title: Controller
Company: Brogan Landscaping
LinkedIn Profile
(Controller, Brogan Landscaping) |

If you have no public acct experience and don't desire that route, the MBA can be very helpful, yet it depends on your goals and where you want to be in 5-10 years...another route is the CMA. The CMA requirements are met by your degree and experience plus offer a lower cost alternative compared to an MBA. I passed both tests in 2016/2017. They were challenging and the process taught me a great deal and allowed me get a controller job.


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