Here, you are fluent in the language of business.

The MSA program will prepare individuals with (or without) a background in accounting the ability to 

  • advance their career into decision-making roles with greater responsibility within the organization
  • pursue professional licensure in public accounting by meeting the 150-credit hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam. Students completing the MSA program meet the educational requirements to sit for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam in Illinois.

For individuals that may already maintain a CPA license, the MS in Accounting may allow you to gain a credential and enough graduate coursework required for teaching accounting in an institution of higher education.

 What do Accountants and Auditors Do? 
(from the 
US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Accountants and auditors typically do the following:

  • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

Career Opportunities 
(from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Individuals with an accounting degree have number of career options include:

  •  Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals. Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns. Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

    Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

  • Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

    Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.
  • Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.
  • Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.
  • External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported. 
  • Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.


The primary certification in accounting is the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) credential. Individuals with the CPA may gain additional designations in financial forensicsmanagement accounting (CGMA)business valuationinformation technology, and personal financial specialist

There are other certifications including internal auditing (CIA), fraud examination (CFE), and management accounting (CMA).

See more information about the CPA exam on the GSU CPA exam resources page.


  • Stacy Crook

    Stacy Crook

    Many of the faculty were adjuncts and had real world experience. They were able to bring what they were doing in the field into the classroom. I already had my MBA and experiences at firms like Jackson National Life and Northern Trust when I got to Governors State, but my time there really helped me to move forward. After graduation, AAM promoted me from Assistant Vice President to Vice President. I further advanced to Director of Investment Accounting in 2017.

  • Ting-Wang

    Dr. TJ Wang, Associate Professor of Accounting

    I have always told my students, ‘You’ll never know until you take the first step.’ During my tenure at GSU, I have seen many first-generation students who have taken their first step towards getting a BSA and/or MSA and made a better life for themselves. ‘Anything is possible,’ I often say.

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