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Study Accounting Abroad - the Definitive Guide

With over 1 lakh students enrolling to study Chartered Accounting every year, India has one of the world’s largest number of certified accountants.


Accounting is a great career option if you have a fascination for numbers and can analyse and interpret large volumes of numerical data.

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Subject modules & entry requirements

Accounting is a highly respected profession and certified accountants can find job roles in finance, accounting, auditing, company management, taxation and investigation, banks and the government. 

Postgraduate programme options

The MSc and the MS are the most popular postgraduate degree options in Accounting. View a detailed list of institutions offering postgraduate programmes in Accounting.

How long will you study?

The Master of Accounting programme is usually offered as a one-year degree in the USA and the UK. Some universities offer this as a 15-month programme as well. Integrated five year programmes that offer students both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Accounting in five years are also gaining in popularity.

What will you study?

In the USA, the Master of Accounting programme is designed to prepare students to become Certified Public Accountants. This is quite similar to the Chartered Accountant or CA role in India. The CPA can be cleared in a year and is less demanding than the CA programme offered in India. The core modules offered in postgraduate programmes in Accounting are:

  • Auditing
  • Financial Reporting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Management Accounting
  • Taxation

Typical entry requirements

Prospective applicants should ideally have an undergraduate degree in Accounting, Finance or Economics and a keen interest in Mathematics. Most universities require students to submit a GMAT score for admissions.

GMAT scores

A score in the range of 680 to 720 in the GMAT is considered fair enough for admission into a postgraduate programme in Accounting.

English language proficiency

A score of 6.5 on the IELTS or 79 on the TOEFL is sufficient for admission.


In the UK a postgraduate degree in Accounting would cost between INR12 lakhs and INR15 lakhs. In the USA a similar degree would cost between INR20 lakhs and INR25 lakhs. Around INR8 to INR10 lakhs should be earmarked for food and accommodation costs.

Subject specialisations

The popular subject specialisations that are offered as part of a postgraduate degree in Accounting are listed below.


The specialisation focuses on one of the core skills that all accountants need to have - Auditing. From auditing financial records to doing actual the inspection of a factory and office and looking at resources, productivity and production are all integral parts of auditing.  View all postgraduate programmes in Auditing.

Financial Analysis

Financial Analysis is a specialisation that is becoming increasingly popular. The Big Four Accounting firms have offices in India and a lot of work is being outsourced to KPOs. Hence there is a huge demand for skilled financial analysts with good writing skills. View all postgraduate programmes in Financial Analysis.

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Tax Accounting

Focusing on accounting practices for direct and indirect taxes this is specialisation is in high demand and accounting experts on taxation and accounting laws draw handsome salaries. View all postgraduate programmes in Tax Accounting.

Venture Capital

With start-ups mushrooming all around the country and increased funding from investors, this specialisation on venture capital and related taxation rules is gaining in prominence. View all postgraduate programmes in Venture Capital.

Management Accounting

This specialisation offers students a clear understanding of the intricacies of management accounting. With rules varying from country to country certified management accountants are in high demand globally. View all postgraduate programmes in Management Accounting.   

Career prospects

Ratan Tata the head of the Tata business empire is reported to have once famously remarked – “I need MBA grads to run my business, but I need chartered accountants to teach them how to run the business!

The duty of an accountant is to ensure that the financial transactions of an organisation are maintained as per law. Accountants are engaged in activities such as preparing project reports, market research, management accounting, cost analysis, working capital management, budget planning, inventory control, auditing etc.

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Accountants work as finance managers, financial controllers, financial advisors or directors (finance) and supervise the day-to-day management of companies. Their key areas of work include accountancy, auditing, cost accountancy, taxation and financial consulting.

The average starting salaaries for postgraduate accountants is around INR 2.5 lakhs to INR 3 lakhs a year in India. A similarly qualified accountant in the USA in a similar job-role will make about US$ 40,000 to US$ 50,000 a year.

If you are looking to create a career for yourself as an accountant then a degree abroad will hold you in good stead!

Famous accountants

Kumar Mangalam Birla is the Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, one of India’s leading business conglomerates. He is a chartered accountant.

Rakesh Jhunjunwala who is often known as India’s Warren Buffett and is a successful stock trader is also a chartered accountant.

Shekhar Kapur, the director of popular movies like Mr. India, Bandit Queen and Elizabeth is a chartered accountant.

Professional associations


The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India or ICAI is India’s official association of chartered accountants. ICAI conducts exams, classes and seminars to help students clear their exams and become successful chartered accountants.


Worried about choosing the right course?

Jyoti Sharma Jyoti Sharma,
Study abroad expert.
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