CPA vs MBA: Which Course Should You Choose and Why

After completing your 12th or your graduation, looking for professional courses is something that we all do. In today’s world, having a professional degree is extremely important to build a successful career. The corporate world demands cutting-edge skills that just a graduation degree cannot offer. With a graduation degree, you may get mid-level jobs in some companies but to bag a prestigious job in an MNC it is important to get a globally acclaimed degree. A global professional degree like US CPA, ACCA, CFA, US CMA or MBA equips you with the latest finance and accounting trends and skills. While these courses are not easy to crack, they help you build an extensive CV and portfolio which will further enable you to get your dream job in your dream country. However, with a range of options available, you would be confused as to which stream to choose. 

If your confusion is between the two most popular finance and accounting courses like US CPA and MBA, then it’s time to break the tie between the two and find out the right course for you.

What is CPA?

A US CPA is essentially a Certified Public Accountant, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. US CPA is basically the American version of what we call a Chartered Accountant in India. The CPA course has now gained tremendous popularity and has a great scope now in India as well as many other countries such as the USA, Canada, Singapore and the Gulf Countries as well.

What is MBA?

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a post-graduate degree for candidates who want to kickstart a career in business management. Among the many specialisations offered, you can go for an MBA in Finance if you wish to apply your managerial skills to the finance sector. An MBA specialising in finance is suitable for people with a vision for a successful career in finance. The programme imparts knowledge of the management of finances and accounts for companies.

FRM vs MBA: Major differences

Point of Difference US CPA MBA

Organising body

IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) awards the CPA designation to individuals who have successfully completed the course. Private and public universities and colleges worldwide offer MBA courses to interested candidates.

Fees comparison

The CPA course is more affordable than an MBA course.

The standard evaluation fee for checking eligibility is around INR 22000, while the exam fee is USD $900 (may vary).

Depending on the college, it will cost you between INR 4 to 20 LPA to complete your MBA degree. 

MBA fees are much higher than FRM since autonomous authorities provide the course.

Course duration

The entire duration of the US CPA course could range from 12 to 18 months. An MBA program from a reputed university will take two years to complete.


The syllabus includes

  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) 
  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD) 

(72 questions from each of these subjects are asked.)

  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) 
  • Regulation (REG)
The syllabus includes

  • Business Ethics.
  • Financial and Marketing Management.
  • Operations Research.
  • Accounting.
  • Business Statistics.
  • Human Resource Management.

Job prospect

Common job profiles after US CPA include:

  • Public Accounting
  • Corporate Controller
  • Tax Examiner
  • Business System Analyst
An MBA in Finance will land you one of the following job profiles:

  • Finance Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Accountant
  • Investment Banker

Salary expectations

The mean salary for a Public Accountant in India ranges between INR 3.61 LPA and INR 10 LPA. The average base salary for a graduate in MBA Finance in India is INR 7.62 LPA. It can go up to INR 20 LPA for an Operations Manager.

Which course is better, US CPA or MBA?

US CPA is the right course if you are interested in crunching numbers and handling public accounts. This course not only helps you gain Chartered Accountancy opportunities in the US but in case you wish to work for US-based companies in India, with a CPA degree you can choose to work at the big 4s. However, if you’re interested in getting into the management side of finance then an MBA degree in finance is just what you need. There’s one thing about an MBA degree that you need to consider before getting into a course. The college you get into to pursue your MBA degree should be one of the top 10 colleges in India to actually make the degree count. 

We hope that with this detailed article on CPA vs MBA, you’ve received some detailed information on which course to choose and what to expect. If you wish to pursue US CPA with us or enquire about the range of professional courses that we offer then we suggest that click on the WhatsApp icon at the side of this blog and get in touch with our experts directly. 

Which is better, MBA or CPA?

Depending on your preference, both courses are good options. However, if you are more inclined towards crunching numbers and keeping accounts then US CPA is the course you should pursue. If you happen to have an interest in the management side of finance then MBA is what you should look out for.

Can I do US CPA after my MBA in finance?

Yes, you can do US CPA after MBA in Finance. All you need is to qualify for the US’s ‘120-hour credit rule’.

What pays more CPA or MBA?

US CPA fresher salary starts from $66,000 per annum. With about 20 years of experience, one could expect more than a $160,000 annual salary. The salary of an MBA largely depends on the position and the college they’ve completed their studies from.

What is harder CPA or MBA

The US CPA exams are far more difficult to crack as compared to the MBA exams considering their average passing percentage.

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