Ever thought that getting into accounting careers would only mean having to work with tonnes of numbers and associated calculations that give results leading to more number crunching? You'll be surprised to know that the last few years have seen an increasing demand for a post-graduate curriculum that emphasizes equally on research and learning rather than merely preparing you for the corporate grind. Many reputed masters degree have begun introducing a learning methodology that incorporates rigorous and well-structured research.
Accounting research happens at both professional and academic phases. While research by practicing accountants focuses on solving problems for a client or group of clients, academic research can make significant contribution to accounting practice, and can pave the way for future research. Enrolling yourself in a school that places high importance on research is a smart choice to make. You'll certainly be trained to take on the corporate world, but you'll also have the capability to learn and discover newer dimensions to your existing knowledge.
Here are some of the top Accountancy research centres round the world (This is not a ranking, but just a listing with the intent to help you):
Harvard University - Respected for its excellence across its different subjects of study, the prestigious Harvard Business School is among Harvard University’s most famous schools. Research at the accounting and management research unit of Harvard Business School focuses on the use of performance measurement systems to help businesses communicate with external investors, measure and evaluate their firms' economic performance, improve resource allocation and strategy, and build accountability for performance through effective external and internal governance.
- Stanford University - The Stanford Graduate School of Business Accounting focuses on issues relating to financial reporting and management control, including accounting-based valuation strategies and the design of performance measurement and incentive systems. Research by the accounting faculty is based on economics, finance, and statistics and employs analytical and empirical methodologies to study issues such as the role of financial reporting and information intermediaries, the design of performance measurement and incentive systems and best practices in corporate governance and executive compensation.
- London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) - Though specializing in social sciences, LSE ranks high in the accountancy courses it offers too. LSE’s Department of Accounting offers part time as well as full time BSc, MSc, Diploma and PhD programs, and has identified three key verticals of research: Regulation, Financial Reporting and Auditing; the Economics of Accounting; and the Organizational and Strategic Aspects of Accounting.
- University of Sydney - The University of Sydney Business School also teaches courses right from undergraduate up to PhD level. The accounting research programme covers areas such as: international accounting, corporate responses to accounting regulation, public sector accounting, accounting for intellectual capital, and accountability. The finance department’s major areas of focus are security market microstructure and corporate finance.
- Nanyang Technological University - The Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University is ranked 5th in the world and 1st outside the United States for accounting research. The MSc in Accountancy programme leverages on the school's long tradition and track record of more than 50 years in training executives in accounting and finance-related fields for leadership roles, and in the contemporary research and teaching methodology prepares students to become proficient and adept at various accounting practices. The best thing about this programme is that it accepts non-accounting graduates for entry into the accounting sector and prepares them for a career in accounting and finance functions.
The school you choose is a very crucial parameter that determines your career path. A reputed school that gives you sufficient research possibilities alongside global experience and exposure is the best bet. Wish you all luck while you make your choice!