CPA vs MBA: Difference and Comparison

Education has always been an important factor in living a good lifestyle. Jobs require higher education, which can be in any field. There are many courses; some of them can be done after high school, while some require a graduate degree.

All of them have different importance and is required for different jobs and career. They may not be essential for living, but they obviously add some value to having a good life.

Examples of such courses are CPA and MBA. Both of them have their own importance for students pursuing different careers. They are mainly focused on different subjects and syllabi.

To choose between them, it is important to understand the difference between both of them.

Key Takeaways

  1. CPA focuses on accounting and financial management, while MBA covers various aspects of business management
  2. CPA requires passing a certification exam, while MBA requires completing a graduate degree program.
  3. CPA is more specialized, while MBA offers a broader range of business knowledge.


CPA means Certified Public Accountant and is an advanced course that focuses on accounting and financial subjects. It is equal to the Chartered Accountant course. MBA means Master of Business Administration, and it is a degree that is offered by business schools after graduation.


Certified Public Accountant is an advanced course that is also considered equivalent to the Chartered Accountant course. It is divided into four parts, mainly focusing on accountants and financial subjects.

The duration of this is 18 months. It is affordable for many but still offers many career options after the completion of the course.

Master of Business Administration is a degree pursued after graduation. It can be persuaded and offered by different business schools.

Subjects or the pattern of MBA is divided into different semesters or trimesters that depend on respective institutions. The duration of this course is 1 year in executive and 2 years in regular.

It can be quite expensive but offers several jobs after the completion of the course.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCPAMBA
Organizing BodyAmerican Institute of Certified Public Accountants.Business Schools.
PatternDivided into 4 parts.Divided into semesters or trimesters.
Duration18 months1 or 2 years
JobsPublic and forensic accountants, etc.Financial analyst, financial advisor, etc.

What is CPA?

In some countries, it is given the most value, while in some, it is not. The following are career scopes or benefits of CPA:

  • Public Accounting Firms: CPA includes subjects focusing on auditing tax, accounting, and consulting services for different types of customers. Public accounting firms are among the most desirable jobs in the world, which pays the highest salary. 
  • Financial Advisor: It also trains the students to give advice related to monetary decisions, such as savings, business investments, home purchases, retirement plans, etc.; everyone in their life requires these bits of advice, and therefore, this profession holds good value. 
  • Government or Not-for-Profit: Government and not-for-profit-organising are most of the time in need of good financial and accountant employers. Mainly, they are responsible for drafting budgets and checking all the expenses of the organization.
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In some countries, it is a more important course than CA. This mainly focuses on accounts and financial jobs mainly. It is said to be difficult as it is not cleared by many students. There is certain advantage of earning a CPA license, these include:

  • Higher job opportunities.
  • More incentives.
  • Rising job adaptability.
  • Job stability.
  • The higher the additional potential of earnings.

What is MBA?

MBA is said to be one of the difficult courses, and the following are some of the career scopes for a person after pursuing an MBA:

  • Investment Banking: While MBA students undergo subjects that include topics related to investments, this is the most desirable career option after an MBA. This job includes helping people related to the decisions of investments.
  • Private Equity: Apart from the investment banking role, private equity is also an important option in which investment-related decisions and advice are sought.
  • Marketing: This is the most important career option for people as it plays an important part in business to be successful. Marketing is an important topic in the syllabus of an MBA. Marketing is a position that can make or end a product. 
  • Product Management: a function under marketing where a separate person is appointed as product management so that proper measures are taken for marketing a product. This is also taught during the course of the MBA.
  • Project Management: In MBA, students are taught how to manage a project, and companies hire employees to manage projects in the long and short term.
  • Business Development: MBA aspirants also look for a career option in the field of business development where advice is given for growing and managing the business. 
  • Human Resource Management: This is becoming an important career nowadays where the employee has to manage the human and the manpower for proper working.

Main Differences Between CPA and MBA

  1. Both courses involve different types of subjects and courses, subjects included in the course of CPA are Financial Statements Accounts, Entity Federal Taxation, Ethics, and General Principles, etc. and subjects or syllabi included in the course of MBA are Accounting Financial Management, Business Statistics, etc.
  2. Both of the courses required to pay fees for the examination purpose. In comparison to this term, a CPA is quite more affordable, whereas an MBA is expensive and cannot be afforded by most people.
  3. As both of them focus on different subjects, jobs after the completion of courses are also different, CPA jobs after this are Forensic Accountants, Internal Auditor, Public Accountants, etc., whereas MBA includes jobs such as Financial Advisor, Human Resource Managers, Marketing Manager, Operation Manager, etc.
  4. In terms of difficulty, both of them are difficult, but in comparison, CPA is relatively more difficult. CPA is mostly cleared by 50 percent of the candidates and is considered moderately difficult, whereas MBA is quite not as difficult as CPA as almost all candidates can clear it after joining.
  5. Both of them are divided into different parts, CPA is divided into four parts, and continuous examination takes the place of respective parts, whereas MBA is divided into semesters or trimesters and examination depends upon the institutes.
  6. Lastly, they also differ in terms of duration. MBA is a long-term course; it can be of either 1 or 2 years, while CPA is of 18 months of one and half years only.
Difference Between CPA and MBA
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Last Updated : 29 August, 2023

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8 thoughts on “CPA vs MBA: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I found the job opportunities after completing a CPA very interesting. That’s something to consider when choosing a career.

  2. I agree with the assessment. Both CPA and MBAs are equally important in their own way. It all depends on the career path you want to pursue.


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