Best Bachelor's Programs
Compiled and Written By Staff

Accountants, auditors, and tax professionals provide services across economic sectors. With an estimated 90,700 new accounting jobs in the United States from 2018-2028, online bachelor's in accounting programs build the knowledge and skills workers need to thrive in this field.

Accounting degrees prepare learners to earn credentials as certified public accountants (CPAs). Many states require prospective licensed accountants to hold bachelor's degrees in the field, including a requisite number experience hours.

Coursework in accounting bachelor's degrees blends business, mathematics, and economics fundamentals. Students build qualitative and analytical skills applicable to careers in public, private, and governmental settings. Online accounting bachelor's degrees help graduates adapt to the discipline's increasingly automated and technological aspects, as well.

Here is our list of the Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Accounting Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Regis University Denver, CO
2 Trine University Angola, IN
3 Concordia University-St. Paul Saint Paul, MN
4 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA
5 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
6 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
7 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
8 Champlain College Burlington, VT
9 The College of St. Scholastica Duluth, MN
10 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
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Top Online Accounting Degree Programs and Schools for 2020

How We Rank Online Accounting Degree Programs

Want to know how we create our rankings? We assess schools based on affordability, academic quality, student success and online flexibility.

Quality (35% of total score)

Quality schools are those with a low student-to-faculty ratio and high retention rates of returning freshmen, that ideally also offer a wide range of specialized accounting programs.

Affordability (15% of total score)

When weighting affordability, a low net price and high percentage of students receiving financial aid were particularly important, though a low percentage of graduates defaulting on their student loans also factored in.

Online Flexibility (15% of total score)

Schools with a high percentage of fully online graduate students ranked highest for online flexibility, but consideration was also given to those with a good percentage of students enrolled partially online in hybrid programs.

Student Success (35% of total score)

When calculating student success, the metrics of a high graduation rate and a high 20-year net present value (i.e., a student's ROI on their tuition 20 years later) were weighted equally.
Rank School Name Type Accreditation Description Quick Facts

Regis University

3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO
(800) 388-2366 x2111

Founded in Denver in 1877, Regis University is grounded in Jesuit traditions. Over 90% of Regis alumni report employment within half a year of completing their program. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the university.

Regis offers a bachelor of science in accounting through the College of Business and Economics. This degree hones the analytical and reasoning skills needed for accounting professions.

To graduate, degree-seekers must earn 120 credits in areas such as macroeconomics, communication, accounting ethics, and business law. The program also mandates a senior capstone. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or similar credential and should list their work history on the application.

Learners can work toward almost any master's from the Anderson College of Business while earning this bachelor's degree in accounting.


Trine University

1 University Ave
Angola, IN
(260) 665-4100

Trine University in Angola, Indiana, educated 5,184 students in Fall 2017 and boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Nearly 100% of Trine 2018 graduates earned careers or entered advanced programs in six months or less.

Learners can earn a bachelor of science in business administration. This 120-credit accounting program introduces learners to QuickBooks and PeachTree software and helps learners prepare for certified public accountant or certified management accountant exams.

The curriculum addresses concepts such as strategic management, organizational behavior, business law, and cost accounting. These courses are taught by field professionals.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits this program. Trine does not charge higher tuition for out-of-state learners and offers military personnel financial assistance through the Yellow Ribbon Program.


3. Concordia University-St. Paul

1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MI
(213) 740-2311

Concordia University has been a Christian institution since it was founded in 1893. This school offers a bachelor of science in accounting that prepares learners to tackle financial issues, maintain budgets, and oversee tax processes for companies.

Coursework in this 120-credit degree examines the basics of Microsoft Excel; financial concepts such as cost accounting; and business topics such as marketing, organizational behavior, and legal concerns for entrepreneurship.

This online bachelor's in accounting can help degree-seekers pursue certified public accountant and certified management accountant credentials. Graduates may qualify for positions as credit analysts, loan officers, and treasurers.

Around 95% of university alumni earn career opportunities within 12 months of graduation, and 44% of alumni obtain salaries that surpass the U.S. average income. Concordia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Peirce College

Private MSCHE
1420 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA
(888) 467-3472

Peirce College began as Union Business College in 1865. This Philadelphia-based school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls around 2,000 students.

Peirce learners enter the school's bachelor of science in accounting program to explore administrative, analytical, and ethical issues related to accounting. The program also emphasizes research and relevant technology.

This 121-credit online accounting degree includes classes such as auditing, statistics, and a capstone. The department features a generous transfer policy, accepting as many as 90 transfer credits. Alumni can pursue careers as staff accountants, cost analysts, and auditors.

All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, and learners may earn discounts by working for companies such as Cigna, UPS, and Penn Medicine. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.


Misericordia University

Private MSCHE
301 Lake St
Dallas, PA
(570) 674-6400

Founded in 1924, Misericordia University is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The school offers over 400 bachelor's programs, including the bachelor of science in accounting. This online accounting degree equips learners with technical, problem-solving, and communication skills for accounting careers in various industries.

Learners can choose the accelerated learning path for this 121-credit degree to graduate in under three years. Specific courses for this bachelor's in accounting include microeconomics, information systems, management of human capital, and international business. The International Accreditation Council for Business Education accredits this program.

Applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA or at least be in the 50th percentile of their high school class. Candidates must submit ACT or SAT scores for admission. The university's accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Thomas Jefferson University

Private MSCHE
1020 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 955-6000

Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1824. The university hosts a dozen colleges and schools, including the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which offers the bachelor of science in accounting program.

The curriculum for this 120-credit bachelor's degree in accounting incorporates eight-week classes in economic decision-making, managerial accounting, and auditing. With the help of advisors, students select electives to customize their degree path.

Students can complete the program in under three years. Career opportunities for alumni include tax specialist, treasurer, and businesses analyst. Graduates can also pursue certified public accountant credentials.

Program tuition does not vary by residency. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits this Pennsylvania-based institution.


DeSales University

Private MSCHE
2755 Station Ave
Center Valley, PA
(610) 282-1100

Designated as a military-friendly school, DeSales University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The institution offers several distance programs, including the accelerated bachelor of science with a general accounting path. This curriculum teaches students to make business decisions at national and international levels.

This bachelor's degree in accounting online requires 120 credits. The department accepts as many as 75 transfer credits for prior classes, training, and military experience.

Coursework for this bachelor's is delivered through Blackboard and examines topics such as quantitative business analysis, managerial accounting, and strategic cost management. These classes may use synchronous or asynchronous delivery.

Bachelor's students can also choose a specialization in forensic accounting. The program's accreditation comes from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.


Champlain College

Private NECHE
163 S Willard St
Burlington, VT
(802) 860-2700

Champlain College is a private institution in Burlington, Vermont, that holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

The school offers a bachelor of science in accounting that embraces standards set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Core Competency Framework. Students learn to identify financial problems and risk areas, as well as apply legal regulations to accountancy practices. Candidates also build communication and technological skills for analysis and consultation purposes.

Degree-seekers must earn 120 credits in courses such as internet security, federal tax concepts, and business law, along with a capstone. These asynchronous courses last seven weeks each.

Students can also pursue a certificate in accounting, advanced accounting, cost accounting, or forensic accounting. Career options for this bachelor's degree in accounting include accounting clerk, budget analyst, and bookkeeper.


The College of St. Scholastica

1200 Kenwood Ave
Duluth, MN
(218) 723-6000

Founded in 1912, the College of St. Scholastica is a Catholic school located in Duluth, Minnesota. The college maintains accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The institution's bachelor of arts in accounting trains learners to deal with frauds, consult on tax concerns, and conduct audits for corporations. This bachelor's degree in accounting requires 128 credits and addresses topics such as financial accounting and microeconomics. Classes last eight weeks each and use Zoom and Blackboard technology.

By completing two courses during each of the college's six terms, learners can graduate in less than three years. Candidates can graduate sooner by earning transfer credits. Graduates can pursue certified public accountant or certified management accountant credentials. Tuition rates are the same for resident and nonresident students.


Maryville University of Saint Louis

650 Maryville University Dr
Saint Louis, MO
(800) 627-9855

Maryville University of Saint Louis boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers over 90 programs, including a bachelor of science in accounting.

Learners in this program study modern trends in technology. This exploration includes insights into related fields, including marketing and finance, as well as relevant technologies and processes for tax, audits, and fraud detection.


This 128-credit program is customizable, allowing students to focus electives in areas such as financial reporting or data analytics. Learners can also gain early access to graduate classes to earn credits for the school's master's in accounting.

The department offers courses asynchronously and does not require on-campus attendance for this bachelor's degree in accounting. Candidates may graduate in 30 months to pursue careers as financial advisors, actuaries, and auditors. The program also helps candidates prepare for the certified public accountant exam.


Bay Path University

Private NECHE
588 Longmeadow St
Longmeadow, MA
(413) 565-1000

Bay Path University offers innovative online and on-campus programs for women. Founded in 1897, the university boasts an alumni network of 16,000 professionals around the world. The institution's accreditation comes from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Bay Path's bachelor of science in business with an accounting major builds skills for careers in management. Learners complete courses in cost management, legal environments of business, federal income tax concepts, and communicating in business.

The program helps to prepare degree-seekers for the certified public accountant exam, and many learners go on to graduate school to meet all educational requirements for CPA certification. Students may also gain field experience by participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Possible careers for graduates include treasurer, stockbroker, payroll manager, and budget analyst.

Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA for admission and may undergo an interview.


Northwood University

4000 Whiting Dr
Midland, MI
(800) 622-9000

With history dating back to 1959, Northwood University emphasizes business education. The school, located in Midland, Michigan, holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The university's bachelor of business administration in accounting gives learners concrete skills in both finance and leadership. Freshmen begin accounting courses immediately, rather than after a year or two of general education.

Courses in this 123-credit program include principles of management, federal taxation, and statistics. Over 75% of program alumni earn accounting careers, including as forensic accountants, tax managers, and chief financial officers. Employers of program alumni include Walt Disney World, Deloitte, and Titan International.

The university also delivers a bachelor's/master's of business administration path that learners can complete in four years.


Linfield College

Private NCCU
900 SE Baker St/span>
McMinnville, OR
(503) 883-2200

Chartered in 1858, Linfield College educates nearly 2,000 students from over 20 countries through an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Oregon institution features accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The college's bachelor's in accounting explores accounting careers in different industries, both public and private. Learners take classes in business law, strategic management, cost accounting, auditing, and organizational behavior and management. The program includes no on-campus components.

Program graduates go on to careers as bank examiners, tax specialists, actuaries, and financial analysts. The department accepts transfer credits for certain classes.


St. Catherine University

2004 Randolph Ave
Saint Paul, MN
(651) 690-6000

St. Catherine University is a private school in Minnesota that focuses on providing a Catholic, liberal arts education to women. The university boasts an alumni network of more than 55,000 graduates and accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The College for Adults and the School of Business deliver a bachelor's in accounting that emphasizes analytical thinking in accounting processes. This program requires coursework in business finance, statistical analysis, and microeconomics. Candidates must submit a business portfolio to earn this online bachelor's in accounting.

The department uses case studies, discussions, and group assignments, and classes typically feature no more than 20 students. Learners may also complete a practicum for field experience. Students can graduate in under two years.

Organizations such as PwC, Deloitte, and Wipfli, have hired past alumni. Potential careers for graduates include internal auditor, public accountant, and financial analyst.


Washington State University

Public NCCU
French Administration Building
Pullman, WA
(509) 335-3564

Founded in 1890, Washington State University currently educates more than 20,000 learners. The university holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Learners at WSU can pursue the accounting option for the bachelor of arts in business administration. This program priorities problem-solving and leadership skills. Graduates often move on to careers with nonprofit agencies, accounting firms, and government organizations.

Students must earn 120 credits in general education and core business requirements. Topics include cost accounting, taxation, and accounting systems. The College of Business also gives learners international experience through study abroad and internship opportunities.

The program's accounting accreditation comes from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Alaska Pacific University

Private NCCU
4101 University Dr
Anchorage, AK
(907) 561-1266

Alaska Pacific University began offering coursework in 1960. The institution is affiliated with the Methodist Church and boasts accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

APU's bachelor of arts in accounting prepares learners to carry out accounting tasks in an ethically sound manner. Students build research, communication, and analytical skills for careers in various industries. The curriculum also helps degree-seekers prepare for certifications in public accounting, internal auditing, and managerial accounting.

The 128-credit curriculum examines auditing, accounting information systems, and business finance. The program culminates in a senior project. Candidates can also declare a 12-credit nonprofit management emphasis.

Applicants should hold experience in a business or accounting position. Degree-seekers must complete six credits in accounting coursework before entering the program. The department accepts exam scores and portfolios for this prerequisite.


University of Mary

7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ID
(701) 255-7500

The Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation founded the University of Mary in 1959. Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, this Catholic institution has earned accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The Gary Tharaldson School of Business delivers a bachelor of science in accounting that addresses regulations from organizations such as the IRS and SEC. Students explore international business concepts and enhance their problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills. Degree candidates also learn how to perform detail-oriented accounting tasks.

Through courses such as fund accounting, fraud examination, and auditing, students explore concepts relevant to the certified public accountant exam. Graduates may work as bookkeepers, tax preparers, accounting clerks, and auditors.

Degree-seekers all pay the same flat-rate tuition rate, regardless of location. The business department is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.


Pace University

Private MSCHE
1 Pace Plaza
New York, NY
(212) 346-1200

Pace University began in 1906 as an accounting-focused institution. As a result, the school has a strong legacy of business and accounting programming. Pace also maintains a number of career-focused institutes, labs, research facilities, and clinics. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits this university.

The Lubin School of Business offers a bachelor of business administration in business studies. This degree focuses on accounting and internal accounting, introducing students to relevant software and preparing them to detect fraud, create statements, and conduct other accounting tasks.

This 120-credit program features coursework in marketing, financial management, business law, and statistics. The curriculum also prepares learners for the certified public accountant exam. Candidates can earn transfer credits for life experience and prior college courses.

More than 90% of the Lubin School of Business's 2018 bachelor's alumni secured employment after graduation. Accounting graduates often pursue roles as internal auditors and forensic investigators.


McKendree University

701 College Rd
Lebanon, IL
(618) 537-4481

Founded in 1828, McKendree University is the oldest university in Illinois. Around 97% of undergraduate alumni secure employment or enter graduate studies within six months of graduation. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this university.

The McKendree University School of Business offers a bachelor of business administration with several concentrations, including accounting. This online program includes coursework in ethics, auditing, information systems, and taxation, and fulfills a significant portion of the requirements for the certified public accountant exam.

Graduates can pursue tax planning, managerial accounting, and finance positions at government, nonprofit, and corporate organizations. The curriculum also provides a solid foundation for graduate coursework.

Courses follow eight-week sessions and are available through Blackboard. The program holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. McK charges equal tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state learners.


University of Minnesota-Crookston

2900 University Ave
Crookston, MI
(800) 862-6466

The University of Minnesota Crookston is a small university that offers personalized attention and hands-on learning opportunities. The institution holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The school's bachelor of science in accounting equips learners with problem-solving skills and the accounting knowledge needed to excel in different industries. To earn this online accounting degree, learners complete 120 credits that address topics such as income tax, audits, and ethics.

This curriculum prepares students to pursue certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, and certified management accountant credentials. Candidates may also qualify for positions as tax accountants, financial advisors, and management advisory consultants. Over 90% of UMC graduates obtain work in their field within half a year.

Resident and nonresident students pay equal tuition rates. The university also offers a certificate in taxation and provides learners with internship opportunities.


Saint Leo University

Private SACS/CC
33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL
(352) 588-8200

Saint Leo University began in 1889 and embraces its Catholic heritage to this day. The institution boasts regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Saint Leo offers a bachelor of arts in accounting focused on relevant concepts for working in multicultural organizations of different sizes and various industries. Classes for this bachelor's degree in accounting include intermediate accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and financial statement analysis. Learners can also complete an internship.

Graduates can move into careers dealing with fraud, financial reporting, and business regulations. This 120-credit program may also help candidates earn hours for certified management accountant or certified public accountant credentials. Graduates can also apply for admission into Saint Leo's online master's in accounting program.


Temple University

Public MSCHE
1801 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 204-7000

Temple University is a public, Carnegie-classified institution in Philadelphia. The school's accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The Fox School of Business and Management offers a 124-credit bachelor of business administration with an option to major in accounting. This program covers accounting concepts such as financial reporting, liabilities, cost analysis, and information systems.

Degree-seekers examine topics in federal taxes and cost accounting. Program courses may last six, seven, or 15 weeks. In order to graduate, learners must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and participate in the Fox leadership development program.

Learners all pay the same tuition rates, regardless of residency. Candidates can increase their professional networks by interacting with student groups such as Ascend and the Fox Accounting Association.


University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Public NECHE
181 Presidents Dr
Amherst, MA
(413) 545-0111

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a renowned research institution that holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education. The school is nationally recognized for its strong academics, and graduates have obtained employment with prestigious organizations such as NASA, CNN, and General Electric.

The Isenberg School of Management's bachelor of business administration in accounting trains students to provide financial services to corporations in diverse fields. Courses in this 120-credit program cover subjects such as certified public accountant law and accounting information systems. Graduates often pursue careers as auditors, treasurers, and bank examiners.

The program accepts as many as 75 transfer credits. UMass also offers online certificates in areas such as business studies and sustainable business practice. After completing the bachelor's, learners may pursue the university's master's in accounting.

Tuition for the online bachelor's degree in accounting does not increase for out-of-state learners.


Albertus Magnus College

Private NECHE
700 Prospect St
New Haven, CT
(203) 773-8550

The Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs founded Albertus Magnus College in 1925. This Catholic institution in New Haven, Connecticut, is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

The Tagliatela School of Business and Leadership delivers a bachelor of science in accounting that emphasizes practical application of business knowledge. The curriculum includes courses such as cost accounting, business spreadsheet development, and corporate financial management. Learners also complete a capstone and an internship to earn this bachelor's degree in accounting.

Alumni often pursue careers as grant administrators, government accountants, and IRS agents. Students may also apply to the college's 30-credit master's in accounting program. For interested learners, the bachelor's degree fulfills requirements to sit for the certified public accountant exam in most states.


California Baptist University

8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA
(877) 228-3615

California Baptist University began in 1950 with connections to the state's Southern Baptist Convention. This Christian institution's accreditation comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

CBU's bachelor of science in accounting trains learners in business, marketing, legal, and financial concepts relevant to accounting professions for international, government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. The program incorporates classes such as quantitative business analysis, intermediate accounting, and federal income tax.

Students can graduate in 36 months and pursue credentials as certified management accountants or certified public accountants. Alumni can earn employment as tax examiners, internal auditors, and forensic accountants. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs accredits this degree path.

Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Tuition does not vary by location.

Should I Get a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting?

Individuals with previous coursework or an associate degree in accounting can earn a bachelor's degree in accounting in less than four years. Students with accounting bachelor's degrees build employment prospects and grow their earning potential. Entry-level bookkeepers, tax preparers, and payroll clerks also expand their career options with bachelor's degrees in accounting. By gaining knowledge in finance, economic principles, and business, learners can transition into managerial and leadership roles.

Accounting bachelor's degrees build quantitative and analytical skills through mathematics, statistics, and data analytic coursework. Learners develop an understanding of financial practices, principles, and processes, while also exploring aspects of taxation, revenue regulations, and cost estimation.

Accounting professionals need strong communication skills. As students learn to analyze, prepare, and disseminate complex financial information, they also develop techniques to share that content with others. While honing verbal and nonverbal communication skills, accounting students also build skills in time management and problem-solving.

Accounting graduates can work as accountants, auditors, tax examiners, and revenue agents. Learners in this field may focus on financial, managerial, or forensic accounting. Additional career options include compliance officer, accounting software technician, and budget analyst.

What Can You Do with a Bachelor's in Accounting?

An online bachelor's in accounting opens career opportunities with private and public companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Accounting degrees train students in principles and practices of finance, economics, and business, applicable across economic industries.

Graduates with bachelor's degrees also gain valuable competencies to prepare for the CPA exam. Entry-level financial service professionals, such as bookkeepers and accounting clerks, build knowledge to advance in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accounting clerks earned an annual median salary exceeding $40,000 as of 2018. In contrast, accountants, who typically need a bachelor's degree, earned more than $70,000 in 2018.


Accountants prepare, analyze, and produce financial records. They ensure accuracy and compliance with laws and regulations while assessing financial operations. Accountants also suggest techniques to reduce costs, improve revenues, and keep financial records. Accountants may help prepare tax documents, as well.

Median Annual Salary: $70,500

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts organize finances within companies and organizations. They assess budget proposals, review budget requests, and keep detailed records about budget activities. Budget analysts estimate future financial trends and needs, prepare cost-benefit analyses, and present alternatives and tradeoff options.

Median Annual Salary: $76,220

Projected Growth Rate: 4%

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts make recommendations to clients about investment decisions. They work with individuals, businesses, and large corporations to evaluate past and present financial data to determine future financial paths. Financial analysts assess financial statements, study economic trends, and prepare reports on their findings.

Median Annual Salary: $85,660

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors provide guidance on investments, insurance, savings, and related financial activities. They help clients determine financial goals, explain options for financial services, and recommend changes to accommodate individual financial goals.

Median Annual Salary: $88,890

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee financial activities within an organization. They work with financial analysts, accountants, and executives to determine financial goals and needs. These professionals maintain detailed records, direct financial decisions based on market trends, and ensure compliance with financial regulations and laws.

Median Annual Salary: $127,990

Projected Growth Rate: 16%


Auditors review financial accounts for organizations to ensure legal and regulatory compliance. They may work internally, checking for irregularities in organizational funds, or as external employees. Auditors may report their findings to government bodies, investors, or organizational leaders.

Median Annual Salary: $70,500

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

FAQs About Online Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting

Can I Get an Accounting Degree Online?

Online accounting degrees offer students a flexible, convenient option. Full-time students can earn an online accounting bachelor's degree in four years, while part-time learners complete their programs in 5-8 years. When choosing an online accounting bachelor's degree, students should consider what best meets their personal and professional goals.

Is an Online Accounting Degree Worth It?

Licensed accountants in most states need accounting degrees. Online bachelor's degrees in accounting prepare students to sit for the CPA exam, the standard credential held by accountants across the country. Accounting students prepare for careers in finance, accounting, and tax preparation.

Are Online Accounting Degrees Respected?

Online accounting bachelor's degrees match traditional program curricula, objectives, and outcomes. Students should check their prospective schools' accreditation status. Programmatic accreditation for an accounting degree adds reputability to the program.

Is an Online Accounting Degree Right for Me?

An online accounting degree allows students to take and complete coursework on a schedule that meets their needs. Working professionals and individuals with busy schedules benefit from taking classes full or part time. Online accounting degrees may provide more affordable options, as well, reducing accommodation and commuting expenses and student fees.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor's in Accounting Program

Online bachelor's degrees in accounting mirror traditional programs in coursework, objectives, and outcomes. Distance learners can pursue their degrees on a full- or part-time basis, depending on their needs and goals.

Core classes in accounting bachelor's degrees emphasize principles of financial accounting and managerial accounting, plus knowledge of accounting software and information systems. Learners also study auditing, business law, and ethics while building quantitative skills. Coursework in statistics and data analytics accompany advanced economics classes. Bachelor's degrees in accounting may include internships or comprehensive projects. Students should refer to graduation requirements as they assess overall degree requirements.

When choosing an online bachelor's in accounting program, students should check the accreditation status of each prospective college and university. Higher learning institutions may hold either national or regional accreditation.

Accounting degrees can maintain additional accreditation through a field-specific organization. Programmatic accreditation indicates that a degree meets high standards of excellence as determined by the accrediting body. Accrediting agencies for business and accounting degrees include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

Online bachelor's degrees in accounting may provide more affordable options for learners. Many schools offer flat, per-semester tuition rates, while per-credit courses allow students to take only the courses they need. Online students avoid costs associated with room and board, commuting, and any on-campus fees.

How to Get Into a Bachelor's in Accounting Program

Application requirements for online bachelor's in accounting programs vary. Individuals submit required documents by deadlines determined by the college or university, plus any additional materials needed for the accounting program. Common application materials include transcripts, letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and personal statements.

  • Minimum GPA

    Minimum GPA requirements vary by college and university. Students submit transcripts from high school and previous college coursework to demonstrate previous academic success. Students who do not meet minimum GPA requirements may receive provisional or conditional admission contingent upon their GPA during their first semester or year.

  • Application

    Individual colleges and universities use their own applications, though an increasing number of institutions use services like CommonApp. CommonApp collects application materials and allows students to easily apply to multiple institutions.

  • Transcripts

    Applicants send transcripts from high school and previous college coursework to their potential colleges and universities. They may do this by contacting a guidance counselor from their previous institution. Schools may send transcripts directly to a college or to the student as an intermediary.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Undergraduate program applications may not require letters of recommendation, but specific degrees often do. Applicants should submit 1-3 letters of recommendation from individuals who can vouch for their academic abilities, work ethic, character, and potential.

  • Test Scores

    Colleges and universities may require students to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission. Minimum scores on these exams often factor into admissions decisions. When learners take the SAT or ACT, they can submit their scores directly to potential institutions.

  • Application Fee

    Application fees for online bachelor's degrees in accounting vary. Many schools waive fees for online learners. Students who demonstrate financial need may also receive fee waivers.

What to Expect in a Bachelor's Degree Program

Online accounting bachelor's degrees generally comprise 120 credit hours. Students complete general education classes, plus core courses in accounting practices and principles, economics, and business. Electives provide opportunities for learners to study topics beneficial to their professional goals.

Full-time students earn their degrees in four years, while part-time students complete their accounting programs in five years or more. Learners with previous coursework or an associate degree may apply transfer credits and earn an accounting degree in as little as two years.

Curricula vary by program, but learners study topics such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, and business finance. Additional classes in business statistics and accounting software build skills applicable to careers in the field. Accounting programs often include a comprehensive project, internship, or research component during which students demonstrate degree knowledge and skills.

Many accounting degrees allow students to concentrate their studies in a specific aspect of the field. Concentrations include auditing, forensics, government accounting, and managerial accounting.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Accounting

Auditing emphasizes working with financial records, tracking financial transactions, and reporting on findings. An auditing concentration also focuses on taxation, tax law, and regulations related to tax declaration and payment. Auditing students learn the intricacies of internal and external auditing. They may work in organizations and companies, as government employees, or as private consultants.
Financial Accounting
Financial accounting focuses on the public reporting of organizational financial activities. Financial accountants collect and maintain records, identify trends, and project future needs. They produce financial statements, presenting the content to executives, shareholders, and general audiences. Financial accountants disseminate complicated financial information verbally and in written form.
Forensic Accounting
Forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Tasked with detecting financial irregularities, forensic accountants identify, trace, and gather evidence of fraud and similar crimes. These professionals may present their findings in court, offering evidence in civil cases. Forensic accountants boast expertise in accounting, information technology, and legal aspects of finance.
Government Accounting
Government accountants provide financial services at the local, state, and federal levels. They oversee budgets, expenses, and revenues for military, law enforcement, and educational organizations and agencies. Government accountants may conduct audits, investigate financial crime, and research financial trends. These professionals tackle specific duties as determined by their pay grade.
Management Accounting
Management accounting involves overseeing financial and accounting activities within an organization, business, or agency. Managerial accountants coordinate financial processes, keep track of costs, supervise budgets, and advise executives on financial decisions. Managerial accountants focus on informing company leadership and internal employees about finances, while financial accountants relay financial information to outside entities.
Public Accounting
Public accountants may work with companies and organizations or independently. They maintain financial information for clients, conduct audits, and calculate and prepare taxes. Public accountants also provide guidance on expenditures, financial practices, and increasing revenues. Often functioning as accounting generalists, public accountants may concentrate on specific services or industries.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Bachelor's in Accounting Prepares For

To demonstrate the highest standards of competence, accounting professionals must obtain CPA certification. For licensure in most states, accountants should pass the uniform CPA exam and meet experience requirements.

Accountants can earn certifications in specific aspects of the field, honing relevant knowledge and skills while demonstrating expertise to potential employers. Certification areas include auditing, forensics, and managerial accounting.

  • Certified Public Accountant

    CPAs must meet education, experience, examination, and ethics requirements. The uniform public accountant exam, administered by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), comprises four sections. Students complete 16 hours of testing in auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation. For CPA certification, learners must also pass the AICPA ethics exam and fulfill work experience requirements.

  • Certified Management Accountant

    The CMA exam includes two sections, each covering six competencies. CMA credentials indicate knowledge of financial planning, analysis, and decision-making. Prospective CMAs must hold bachelor's degrees from accredited institutions and two years' experience in managerial and financial accounting.

  • Certified Fraud Examiner

    CFEs must pass the CFE exam, administered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The exam includes 500 questions divided into four sections: fraud prevention and deterrence, financial transactions and fraud schemes, investigation, and law. Prospective CFEs must be members of the ACFE, demonstrate moral character, and meet educational requirements.

  • Certified Bank Auditor

    With CBA credentials, bankers demonstrate understanding of internal audit processes and regulations. To become CBAs, individuals must meet requirements established by the Banking Administration Institute. Alongside education and experience prerequisites, learners must pass the CBA exam. To maintain CBA status, individuals must complete 30 hours of professional education annually.

  • Certified Government Auditing Professional

    As CGAPs, accountants demonstrate knowledge and skills to perform audits in the public sector at state, local, and federal levels. Candidates must hold associate degrees, provide character references, and meet work experience requirements. The CGAP exam includes questions in four domain areas: standards, governance, and risk/control frameworks; government auditing practice; government auditing skills and techniques; and government auditing environment.

Resources for Accounting Graduate Students

  • AICPA Career GuidanceAICPA's career page hosts a job board and salary information to help students transition into the workforce. The page also provides access to mentoring opportunities.
  • Accounting CoachStudents can use the resources on Accounting Coach's website to learn about accounting terms and complete online training sessions related to different areas of accounting.
  • AICPA ScholarshipsStudents enrolled in online accounting programs qualify for several AICPA scholarships, including one for community college students transferring into bachelor's programs.
  • ACFE Career CenterACFE offers a career center for those considering careers in fraud examination. The center includes a job board with current openings, information about fraud examiner career paths, and tips for putting together a resume.
  • Accounting & Financial Women's AllianceIn addition to helping professional women in the field, AFWA offers resources for students and scholarships for women pursuing accounting degrees.

Professional Organizations in Accounting

Professional organizations offer networking opportunities at conferences and events, professional development resources, and career services. Accounting students can join professional organizations while in school to gain access to special student discounts and scholarship opportunities. Many organizations also provide job boards, career counseling, and tips for interviews and resumes.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

The AICPA designs and administers the CPA exam. This organization, which dates back to 1887, also maintains professional standards for CPAs, offers career guidance, and awards scholarships.

Institute of Management Accountants

The IMA provides educational resources and career guidance, and it conducts research on accounting and financial services. The institute also confers the certified management accountant credential.

National Society of Accountants

Emphasizing tax accounting, the NSA provides a tax resource library, a tax help center, and several publications. It also hosts a professional member directory.

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

The ACFE administers the certified fraud examiner examination. It also oversees events, training sessions, and professional development resources.

American Accounting Association

The AAA focuses on academic accounting and publishes research. It also hosts conferences, other events, and a career center with job postings.