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Montana Accounting Schools

Montana colleges and universities offer many different programs for those interested in an accounting degree. Undergraduate and graduate applicants can choose from degree options with different specializations and course formats. After graduation, those with accounting degrees may find opportunities to work in Montana’s accounting industry. Read on below to find out more information about individual programs and career outlooks in accounting in Montana.

Quick Facts

  • 10 public colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Montana.1
  • 3 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offer an accounting degree program in Montana.1
  • 9 schools offer a certificate in accounting.*1
  • 6 schools offer an associate’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 4 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.*1
  • 3 schools offer a graduate degree in accounting.*1
  • No programs ranked in US News Best Undergrad Accounting Programs 2018.2
  • No programs ranked in US News Best Graduate Accounting Programs 2018.3
  • No schools ranked in the Princeton Review Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2018.4
  • No schools ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016.5

*Public or private not-for-profit colleges and universities only.

AACSB-Accredited Accounting Programs in Montana

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) is a globally-recognized organization that provides accreditation for undergraduate and graduate accounting programs. While over 800 business schools have been accredited by the AACSB, only 186 institutions hold AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs, having been found to meet the rigorous standards established by the AACSB.6 The following accounting programs in Montana have been accredited by the AACSB:

  • University of Montana (College of Business)

Highest First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with a Bachelor’s Degree

Each year, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) releases a report including data on candidate performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.7 The following schools had the highest first-time CPA exam pass rates in Montana in 2015 for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, with the overall average pass rate for Montana being 57.4%:

  1. University of Montana Missoula 70.0%
  2. Montana State University 57.1%
  3. Montana State University Billings 30.2%

Schools in Montana with Accounting Degrees

Undergraduate Accounting Programs

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University of Montana

At the College of Business at the University of Montana, students can complete a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting. This degree is ideal for those interested in working in accounting roles in public accounting firms, businesses, nonprofits, or government organizations. The curriculum includes courses such as Corporate Reporting, Auditing, Cost Management, and a Tax Practicum, in which students learn broad accounting and business theory. The curriculum focuses on the ability to track, manage, and communicate financial information. Students also learn skills applicable in the workplace like critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative collaboration. Many graduates go on to work in entry-level roles or pursue graduate study in accounting and eventual CPA designation.

Carroll College

Carroll College offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting degree. Students learn a mix of accounting theory and practice. Some classes teach applicable skills in financial reporting, auditing, financial analysis and planning, and taxation. Other coursework focuses on communication skills and critical thinking tools. Students hone their ability to analyze and research information about businesses, non-profits, and governmental entities. Many students choose to pursue an internship through Carroll College with a regional accounting firm or area non-profit or business. These internships provide real-world experience and useful connections for post-graduation career opportunities. Many graduates from Carroll go on to advanced graduate study before taking the CPA examination.

University of Providence

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting through the University of Providence. The curriculum is a combination of conceptual and real-world applications of accounting topics. Students learn about the technical applications of software as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Courses focus on how to understand, analyze, and organize financial information and communicate it to management, investors, and clients. Some undergraduate students complete internships that can supplement classroom education, and in addition, UProvidence offers support and assistance for post-graduation career opportunities. Providence also offers a completely online Master of Science in Accounting program that can be completed in five semesters. The first two semesters begin during student’s senior year, in a traditional campus-based setting, and students can then complete the remaining courses in one additional year from anywhere in the US.

Graduate Accounting Programs

Montana State University

At Montana State University, students can complete a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) degree. This graduate degree is ideal for those interested in fulfilling the educational requirements for sitting for the CPA examination. The curriculum includes courses such as Advanced Taxation, Advanced Auditing, and Legal Issues for Accountants. Students learn graduate-level knowledge in financial accounting, auditing, taxation, law, and other business and professional areas. Courses focus on the technology and quantitative skills needed in the industry as well as the practical application of conceptual accounting knowledge. MSU helps students find career opportunities for internships and post-graduation placement. Many graduates go on to work in public accounting firms, corporations, and federal and state government entities.

University of Montana

The College of Business at the University of Montana offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree. Students learn advanced accounting knowledge as well as skills in critical thinking and management. Graduate students are exposed to many different facets of accounting and can choose electives based on their area of interest. Half of the program credits are required courses, and the other half are electives students can choose such as Accounting & Data Analytics, Auditor Judgment, Accounting Problems (CPA prep), and Business Valuation. In many classes, students are required to work together on projects and cases, encouraging the development of teamwork and communication skills. Undergraduate accounting students at the University of Montana may be able to finish the MAcc degree on an accelerated timeline. Those without an academic accounting background may be required to take additional prerequisite courses.

Online Accounting Programs

Montana State University Billings

Through the College of Business at Montana State University Billings, students can complete a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting entirely online. This degree starts with a general education core before moving on to a business curriculum that includes classes like Business Finance and Operations Management. Accounting majors then take specialized courses such as Auditing, Accounting Information Systems, and Principles of Federal Taxation. These classes give students a broad background in general business and accounting subjects. Students learn computerized accounting software and other technology commonly used to record and process financial information in the accounting industry. Coursework also includes lessons in business communication, management strategy, and critical thinking.

Carroll College

Carroll College offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree program that can be completed in a hybrid online and face-to-face residency format. Students learn advanced accounting knowledge, and the curriculum meets the educational requirements for CPA licensure. This program is offered on a full-time basis or a part-time schedule for working professionals. Courses are offered in a block format, one or two classes at a time, so students can concentrate fully on a few subjects. Full-time students can complete the degree in as little as a year, and the curriculum is structured so that these students can sit for each of the sections on the CPA examination as they complete relevant courses. Students can choose electives that match their interests in subjects such as not-for-profit accounting, forensic accounting, and sustainability reporting.

Montana CPA Requirements

The Montana Board of Public Accountants requires that CPA candidates complete at least 150 semester hours at an accredited institution, with 24 semester hours in upper-level accounting courses and 24 semester hours in business courses. Graduates who meet these educational requirements can sit for the Uniform CPA examination. After passing the examination, candidates should complete at least a year, or 2,000 hours, of accounting experience that is verified by a licensed CPA. Individuals can then get their Montana CPA certification, a designation that must be maintained through annual Continued Professional Education (CPE) hours in professional and industry-related development.

Career Opportunities for Accounting Grads in Montana

The state of Montana has many different career opportunities for accounting program graduates. The tourism and hospitality industry, which thrives given the state’s popular national parks, employs a great many accounting experts. Montana is also home to several large financial institutions, insurance agencies, and other top employers of accountants. The accounting firm KPMG has a location in Billings. The operations center for Avitus Payroll, a major employer of tax experts and accountants, is in Billings as well. There are many government agencies – both state and federal – that regularly hire accounting grads for long-term positions. Graduates can also consider starting their own CPA firm or working in small and local businesses.

Montana Accounting Salary and Jobs by Metro Area

Metro Area Accountants & Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Billings 670 $68,730
Great Falls 220 $77,940
Missoula 440 $64,670

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.8

Montana Schools with Accounting Degree Programs

The University of Montana
32 Campus Dr
Missoula, MT 59812
http://www.umt.edu/

Montana State University
101 Montana Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-0211
http://www.montana.edu/

University of Providence (formerly University of Great Falls)
1301 20th St S
Great Falls, MT 59405
(800) 856-9544
https://www.uprovidence.edu/

Carroll College
1601 N Benton Ave
Helena, MT 59625
(406) 447-4300
https://www.carroll.edu/

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-accounting
3. US News & World Report Best Accounting Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
4. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges 2018 Edition. Penguin Random House, 2017.
5. Bloomberg Businessweek Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-best-undergrad-business-schools/
6. AACSB-Accredited Universities and Schools, Accounting: https://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/accredited-schools
7. The NASBA Candidate Performance Report, 2015 University Edition: https://nasbareport.com/
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Montana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm