degree-of-interest: Master of Accountancy

Navigating the Online Learning Experience: A Guide to Mastering Your MAcc Program

Navigating the Online Learning Experience: A Guide to Mastering Your MAcc Program

Looking to scale your career in accounting to the next step? If so, then a master’s degree in accounting may be right for you. At the same time, if you’re already working a full-time job or have other important life obligations to prioritize, then going the traditional route with on-campus Master of Accountancy programs might not be the best option.

Fortunately, there are plenty of Master of Accountancy online programs that can help you build upon your existing knowledge and gain new skills you need to advance career.

So, what should you expect from an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program, and what tips should you keep in mind to maximize your success? Here are some best practices to make the transition to an online accounting program easier.

Learning the MAcc Terrain

First, it’s a good idea to get to know what the typical curriculum and format of an online MAcc program looks like. The best way to obtain this information is to check the program requirements for the specific school and program you’re considering. This provides key details, including the number of credit hours required to complete the program and a list of required courses.

While no two MAcc programs are exactly alike, most consist of 30 credit hours and cover topics ranging from business financial analysis and reporting to tax compliance, tax planning, information systems, and more.

Once you have a better idea of how many credit hours and which courses you’ll need, you’ll also want to consider whether you’ll enroll part or full time. A 30-credit-hour MAcc program can be completed within one year if you’re enrolled full time but may take up to two years for part-time students who, for example, are working full-time jobs while in school.

Finally, find out what kind of online format is offered. Will all your classes be available online, or is it a hybrid situation where you still need to attend some classes on a physical campus? For online classes, will they be offered synchronously or asynchronously? All these details can affect your experience with an online MAcc program.

Benefits of MAcc Online

There are numerous benefits to enrolling in an online MAcc program as opposed to a program held on a physical campus, such as:

  • Flexibility – Taking classes online saves you the time, hassle, and expense of having to commute to a campus. This could make it easier to complete your advanced degree, even if you’re already working a full-time job or juggling other life demands.
  • Accessibility – Online programs are also more accessible since they can be taken from anywhere in the country. You don’t have to live near a specific college campus to attend; if the school offers an online Master of Accountancy program, you can enroll even if you live states away. This can make a quality education more accessible to those who may not live near a college that offers an MAcc program.

What Makes Online Different

While online accounting programs offer several benefits compared to an in-person program, there are some aspects that can make the experience a little different from what you’re used to. Consider, for example:

  • Time Management – Because you won’t physically be in a classroom for a set amount of time each week, you’ll need solid time management skills in order to succeed in an online degree program. You should make sure you’re setting aside enough time to properly study and complete assigned coursework. This can be an adjustment for some—especially those who have never taken online classes.
  • Classroom Interaction – Interactions with peers and teachers are also different in an online program. You may not get the chance to meet your classmates in person or interact with them very much, which could affect your experience. You’ll also need to be more proactive if you need help from a professor and consider setting up a phone call or other communication during office hours.. This lack of in-person interaction can be a challenge for some students, though synchronous learning options (including live class meetings and discussions) can help.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success for a Master’s in Accounting

Whether you have some experience with online college coursework or have never taken an online course in your life, enrolling in an MAcc program offered entirely online will require you to plan and prepare for a successful experience. There are a few things you can start doing now to maximize your chances of success in a Master of Accountancy online.

There are plenty of strategies for maximizing your time and managing it more wisely. Consider tried-and-true methods like The Eisenhower Matrix or the Pomodoro Technique to make better use of your limited time in school. Likewise, investing in a quality planner) can help you track your assignment due dates, exam dates, and other important deadlines while planning accordingly.

Collaboration in Online Setting

If you’re new to online classes, you’ll need some time to adjust to the lack of in-person interaction—particularly if the classes you’re taking are mostly asynchronous in nature. Collaborating and engaging with your peers can be challenging in an online class, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips for staying engaged and interacting with others in an online setting:

  • Stay Engaged in Virtual Class – Whether you’re listening to a live lecture or watching a pre-recorded session in front of your computer screen, try your best to stay engaged in the same way you would if you were sitting at a desk in a classroom. This means minimizing distractions (such as silencing your phone and turning off the television) before attending an online class.
  • Active Note-Taking – Because most of your instruction will likely be in the form of virtual lectures and discussions, you’ll also want to brush up on your note-taking skills. This means determining the outcomes and goals of a lecture before listening to it and then taking notes with those outcomes in mind. The right note-taking skills can make all the difference in your success in an advanced degree program, especially one offered online.

Staying Motivated

Without physical classes to attend on a set schedule, staying motivated in an online master’s program can be a challenge. The best way to keep yourself motivated and doing your best is to always remember why you enrolled in the program in the first place. Maybe you’re looking to grow your career prospects, prepare for the CPA exam, or increase your earning potential. Perhaps you simply want to prove to yourself and others that you can complete an advanced degree. Regardless, falling back on your reason for enrolling when things are challenging is a great way to keep your motivation strong.

Use of All Online Resources

Take advantage of all online tools and resources during your MAcc program. This includes any resources available through your school (such as online tutoring or other academic success tools) as well as other free study tools that are available online.

Self-Assessment and Feedback

Each semester, check in with yourself at least every few weeks. Perform a self-assessment on how you think you’re performing in your online program and what you may be able to improve upon. This could be anything from staying more engaged during online classes to setting aside more time to study. With a little proactive self-assessment and feedback, you can make improvements as needed.

Will It Be Worth It? 

Is a master’s in accounting worth it? If you already have a job in the accounting field with your bachelor’s degree alone, this is a valid question. While the answer isn’t the same for everybody, most people looking to achieve success in the competitive accounting field will benefit from having a master’s degree. Carson-Newman’s MAcc program is specifically designed to support the knowledge that they need to help students pass the CPA exam.

Increased Job Opportunities

Having an advanced degree can set you apart from other job applicants in the field who may only have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar field. This, in turn, could open doors to more job opportunities and a higher chance of being called in for an interview.

Career Growth and Advancement

Pursuing a master’s degree in accounting can help you work your way up at your current job, qualifying you for positions and promotions that you may not be eligible for with a bachelor’s degree alone. Meanwhile, you’ll be learning new skills and concepts that can help advance you to the next step in your career.

As you can see, there are various reasons to pursue an online master’s degree in accounting. The key is to find the right online program that supports and empowers you every step of the way. At Carson-Newman University, our team of Christian educators are proud to offer a Master of Accountancy program that’s exclusively online for your convenience. Get in touch to learn more about this exciting opportunity, or get started by filling out your online application today!


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