Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting 2022

| Accounting.com Staff Modified on April 15, 2022

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting 2022

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A bachelor's degree in accounting can pave the way for profitable jobs in accounting and auditing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants made a median annual salary of $73,560 in May of 2020, nearly twice the median salary for all occupations.

Graduates can also complete certified public accountant (CPA) requirements. A bachelor's degree in accounting yields 120 academic credits out of the 150 required to sit for the CPA exam in most states. Many employers hire candidates with a bachelor's in accounting for entrych-level accounting positions, but companies may prefer CPAs for higher-paying accounting positions.

The ranking below provides detailed information about the nation's top accounting schools online.

What Is Accounting?

Accounting involves collecting, processing, and presenting financial data to help with decision-making. Accountants are essential to a business as they oversee regulatory compliance, gather and analyze financial information, and produce quarterly reports for business leaders and shareholders.

A bachelor's degree in accounting focuses on developing transferable business skills, such as critical thinking, statistical analysis, strategic problem-solving, and business ethics. Bachelor's in accounting graduates can pursue various careers across industries and occupations. Common jobs include accountant, auditor, budget analyst, and financial advisor.

Accountants are important to a business as they oversee regulatory compliance, gather and analyze financial information, and produce quarterly reports for business leaders and shareholders.

Many bachelor's in accounting programs offer concentrations in the field. Graduates seeking specific jobs may pursue a specialized bachelor's degree to gain an edge over candidates.

Bachelor's graduates can apply to accounting master's programs. Master's in accounting graduates can get their CPAs or pursue higher-paying accounting positions, such as financial analyst, financial manager, management analyst, or top executive.

Why Get an Accounting Bachelor's Degree Online?

A bachelor of accounting online can open the door to a lucrative career with a high return on investment (ROI). Most accounting bachelor's degrees online offer flexibility to working professionals. Read on for three key benefits of earning an online bachelor's degree in accounting.

Versatility
A bachelor's degree in accounting delivers highly transferrable skills in economics, statistical analysis, effective communication, and business law. The degree's versatility makes it an attractive credential.
Flexibility
Most bachelor of accounting online programs enable students to study at a pace that fits their busy schedules. An online accounting degree can be a great option for learners with other work or family commitments.
CPA Certification
A bachelor's degree from an accredited school for accounting provides 120 credits, which count toward fulfilling the requirement to sit for the CPA exam. Aspiring public accountants can earn the additional 30 credits by taking a graduate certificate or a master's degree.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.


What to Expect From a Bachelor of Accounting Online

Typical bachelor's in accounting programs expose learners to an array of foundational and specialized topics in accounting such as financial and managerial accounting, auditing, macro- and microeconomics, business statistics, federal taxation, compliance, business law, and forensic accounting. Each degree-granting institution offers its own bachelor's degrees in accounting and concentration options.

During the first part of a typical curriculum, students take required foundational courses. During the second part, degree-seekers can choose to complete electives or concentration courses. Some bachelor's in accounting programs offer an optional capstone or thesis seminar, in which learners can apply the knowledge acquired from their studies to real-world business problems or academic, theoretical problems.

Accounting schools bachelor's degrees online follow different formats. Some run synchronously, allowing for an immersive experience with contemporaneous online lectures, classroom discussions, and peer collaboration. Other programs provide fully asynchronous courses, in which students listen to prerecorded lectures and complete readings, homework, and tests at their own pace, provided that they meet the deadlines for each course module.

Admission Requirements for Accounting Schools

To apply to a bachelor's in accounting program, learners must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate, typically with an unweighted GPA of at least 2.0. Though top-tier schools may require a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Many schools also factor in standardized test scores like the SAT or the ACT.

The Common App can help streamline the application process, allowing applicants to apply to many colleges through one application. More than 900 schools accept the Common App.

Degree and Concentration Options

Higher education institutions offer several types of accounting bachelor's degrees. Common accounting degrees include the bachelor of accountancy (BAcc), the BS in accounting, and the bachelor of business administration (BBA) with a concentration in accounting.

The main BS degree requires more courses in quantitative areas like math and statistics. In contrast, a BBA emphasizes business fundamentals.

Business schools typically allow students to add a concentration in a specialized topic. Popular areas of concentration include:

Students planning to work in accounting immediately after graduation should keep in mind that a specialized bachelor's could narrow their career options. However, a concentration can help applicants stand out in a crowded job market.

Popular Accounting Courses

A typical bachelor's in accounting program offers courses that build foundational accounting skills, electives that explore specialty areas, and sometimes a capstone or thesis. The following are examples of classes you may find in a typical accounting curriculum.

  • Federal Taxation: Most programs require students to take a class in taxation. A course in federal taxation focuses on core concepts in preparing a federal tax return, such as itemized deductions, personal exemptions, and property taxes.
  • Assurance Services: Assurance services is a common component of a bachelor's in accounting curriculum. In this class, students learn how to assess a business' processes and controls to minimize risk.
  • Financial Management: Most business programs require learners to take a class in financial management. In this class, students learn a various strategies and analytical skills to assess financial risks and opportunities, make economic decisions, and set financial goals.
  • Forensic Accounting: In most online accounting programs, degree-seekers can choose an elective in forensic accounting. A newer addition course, forensic accounting develops the skills for investigating financial crimes, such as organizational fraud and money laundering.
  • Capstone or Thesis Seminar: Capstone or thesis seminars allows students to apply their knowledge to real-life or theoretical business problems. For example, a final thesis in accounting might address the problem of how to minimize the adverse effects of a pandemic on local businesses' financial health.

How Much Will a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting Cost?

The typical costs of a bachelor's in accounting depends on a variety of factors, including whether the school is public or private, whether the degree is online, and the student's state residency.

The average cost of tuition and fees for an in-person degree at a top-ranked private college is $38,185 annually. The cost of tuition and fees at top-tier public colleges depends on whether you are a resident of that state. In-state residents pay $10,388 annually on average. Out-of-state residents pay $22,698 per year for an in-person degree.

An online accounting degree at a private school or a public school as an out-of-state resident is more cost-effective. The average total cost of an online bachelor's degree is $60,593 at a private school, $38,496 for in-state residents at a public school, and $54,183 for out-of-state residents.

A bachelor's normally takes four years to complete, and students can cut costs by transferring previous credits. Many schools automatically consider applicants for merit-based scholarships. Alternative ways to finance accounting schools include financial aid and student loans. The links below provide more information about these options.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Jobs for Bachelor's in Accounting Graduates

A bachelor's in accounting can be a stepping stone to a high-paying career. The BLS reports that the median salary for accountants and auditors is $73,560, which is nearly 80% higher than the median salary for all occupations. Additional education, such as a master's or graduate certificate in accounting, can significantly increase graduates' earning potential.

The BLS projects a 7% growth in accountant and auditor jobs from 2020 to 2030. The outlook is even better for some of the occupations reviewed below:

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts help analyze and identify shortcomings in a corporation's budgets and propose changes to the budget going forward.

  • Required Education: A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +5%
  • Median Annual Salary: $78,970

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators estimate the cost of the resources, such as labor and materials, a startup or organization needs to produce a product or provide a service.

  • Required Education: A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +1%
  • Median Annual Salary: $66,610

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners scrutinize corporations' financial records to ensure that they comply with the financial regulations and identify strategies for ensuring compliance going forward.

  • Required Education: A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +18%
  • Median Annual Salary: $81,430

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors advise people on how best to manage their finances and budget for the future.

  • Required Education: A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +5%
  • Median Annual Salary: $89,330

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts analyze and evaluate the financial health of public and private organizations and provide guidance on where to cut costs.

  • Required Education: A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $83,660

Choosing the Right Online Accounting College

Aspiring accountants contemplating where to apply should consider several other factors besides a school's ranking or prestige. Key factors to weigh before selecting a program include accreditation, alumni network, and future education opportunities.

Two types of accreditation can affect the credibility of a bachelor's degree in accounting: regional and program-specific accreditation. Prospective students should prioritize a degree-granting institution that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies, as regionally accredited schools allow students to apply for federal aid and more easily transfer credits between schools or toward a graduate degree.

Program-specific accreditation is also important for boosting the credibility of a bachelor's degree in accounting. Additional accreditation by agencies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business ensures that the program has a proven track record of high educational quality.

A program's alumni network can also impact learners' future careers in positive ways. Many quality programs organize events where students meet or interact with alumni. Professional networkworking events can provide students with career advice, recommendations, and contacts in the field.

Future education opportunities offered by a program are pivotal to the ROI on your degree. While some undergraduates seek a job immediately after graduating, a certificate or graduate degree can increase your earning potential and help you meet the requirements for the CPA exam.

Why You Should Get Your Bachelor of Accounting Online

Many working professionals and busy learners opt to pursue an online accounting degree, which can be a more affordable and convenient alternative to an on-campus degree. Highly ranked online programs generally boast similar educational outcomes and networking and recruitment opportunities as their on-campus equivalents.

The online degree format varies by school and program. An asynchronous format allows learners to study at their own pace, whereas a synchronous format requires students to attend lectures and tests at set times. An allochronic format provides maximum flexibility and convenience but also requires substantial self-direction and time management skills.

Many working professionals and busy learners pursue an online accounting degree, which can be a more affordable and convenient alternative to an on-campus degree.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents another impetus for pursuing a degree online. Many universities and colleges made the transition to a fully online or hybrid format, and institutions that offer on-campus classes predominantly host professional activities and office hours online. Given the lower cost and higher quality of a degree designed to be online, a 2022 online bachelor's accounting degree may be a smart choice.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Top Five Accounting Bachelor's Degrees Online

As a popular business major, online accounting degrees can prepare aspiring accountants for CPA, certified management accountant (CMA), or certified financial manager (CFM) designations. Read on to discover the best online accounting degrees for 2022, and see below to learn more about our methodology for ranking the best bachelor's degrees in accounting.

  1. University of Arkansas at Little Rock
    Location

    Little Rock, AR

    Tuition

    $13751

    Established in 1927, UA Little Rock is located in the state's largest city. The school enrolls about 9,500 students in 161 programs. Distance learners can choose from dozens of accredited programs delivered fully online. 

    BBA in Accounting

    The BBA in accounting provides a strong business background and accounting specialization. Students complete 120 credits entirely online. The curriculum requires general education coursework in several disciplines. 

    The major explores topics in business, finance, and operations management. Enrollees build accounting expertise in financial accounting, federal taxation, and auditing theory and practice. 

    Students receive preparation to sit for the Arkansas certified public accountant exam. The BBA's Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation helps ensure academic excellence. UA Little Rock offers one of the most affordable bachelor's in accounting.

    Applying to UA Little Rock

    Students admitted to UA LIttle Rock can begin taking business classes at any time. Admission to the BBA in accounting requires a minimum 2.25 GPA and college algebra and composition coursework.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
    • Tuition: $280/credit 
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online asynchronous
  2. Franklin University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Franklin University specializes in affordable programs for nontraditional learners. Students can take classes online or at locations throughout Ohio. A generous transfer policy allows more than 90% of students to transfer credit into the program.

    BS in Accounting

    Franklin offers the BS in accounting entirely online for students who work. Enrollees prepare for certification such as certified public accountant. The 124-semester-credit curriculum includes general education coursework. Enrollees complete business foundation courses that cover business law, management, and marketing principles. 

    The accounting major develops skills in auditing, cost management, and accounting research and analysis. Students learn how to use industry-standard accounting software. Participants can use elective credits for an internship experience. 

    The program culminates with a business simulation. This allows students to work with peers to conduct an audit that investigates financial statements.

    Applying to Franklin

    Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. Transfer students submit all college transcripts for review. Students can transfer up to 94 credits during the admissions process.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; International Accreditation Council for Business Education
    • Tuition: $398/credit
    • Required Credits: 124 
    • Program Length: 4 years or fewer 
    • Delivery Format: 100% online asynchronous
  3. Brenau University
    Location

    Gainesville, GA

    Brenau is a private college located in Gainesville, Georgia. The university operates a women's college as part of the undergraduate school. Brenau also administers undergraduate and graduate programs online and on three campuses in Georgia and Florida.

    BBA in Accounting

    The BBA in accounting develops business and accounting expertise. The program enrolls both first-year and transfer students, preparing them for the certified public accountant exam. 

    The business foundation courses cover topics in business statistics, managerial finance, and strategic thinking and innovation. Enrollees learn cost accounting, fraud examination, plus auditing and assurance services. 

    All enrollees develop taxation and intermediate accounting skills. A maximum of 20 students in each class promotes personalized learning. Most classes run seven weeks so students can complete their degrees faster.

    Applying to Brenau

    Admission to the BBA in accounting requires a minimum 2.75 GPA for first-year students and a 2.0 for transfer students. 

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
    • Tuition: $690/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 
    • Program Length: 4 years or fewer
    • Delivery Format: 100% online asynchronous
  4. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, LU is one of the nation's top Christian colleges. In addition to on-campus programs, LU offers online degrees through their virtual college. The school's affordable tuition and generous credit transfer policy attracts students nationwide.

    BS in Accounting

    The BS in accounting teaches accounting principles and best practices within a Christian worldview. The degree prepares enrollees for the certified public accountant exam and other certifications. 

    Students complete 120 credits, including general education classes and supplementary coursework on the Bible and theology. Students learn how to use business computer applications to collect, store, and process financial data. Enrollees develop key skills in auditing and financial statement analysis. 

    Students can transfer up to 75% of the total required credits. LU provides electronic textbooks for undergraduate courses at no cost. Eight-week sessions help accelerate degree completion.

    Applying to LU

    Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA and high school and college transcripts. Applicants do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
    • Tuition: $390/credit (full time); $455/credit (part time)
    • Required Credits: 120 
    • Program Length: 3.5 years average
    • Delivery Format: 100% online asynchronous
  5. McKendree University
    Location

    Lebanon, IL

    Founded in 1928, McK is the oldest college in Illinois. The school enrolls about 2,200 students in programs on campus in Lebanon and online. McK also offers online programs such as the BBA in accounting on the Scott Air Force Base.

    BBA in Accounting

    McK offers an online BBA with several majors. The BBA in accounting provides a sound business background. The major develops skills in auditing and managerial accounting. 

    Students learn how to present financial data and prepare tax returns. Students complete a business strategy and policy capstone course, applying the skills they've learned in the program. Graduates can apply their credits toward the educational requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination. 

    Students complete the BBA in eight-week classes. Online learners pay the same tuition regardless of residency status. Military personnel enjoy generous tuition discounts. Students can transfer up to 90 credits into the program.

    Applying to McK

    Admission to the BBA in accounting program requires a high school transcript or GED certificate. Transfer students must have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; International Accreditation Council for Business Education
    • Tuition: $400/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online asynchronous

Questions About Going to School for Accounting

What should I major in to become an accountant?

To become an accountant, you should pursue a bachelor of art in accounting, a bachelor of science in accounting, or a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting. All of these options amount to "majoring" in accounting.

Can I get a bachelor of accounting online?

Yes, you can get a bachelor's degree in accounting online. The recent surge in the popularity of distance learning has incentivized many reputable business schools to develop top-quality online accounting degrees.

What do you do with a degree in accounting?

A bachelor's degree in accounting can be a stepping stone to a lucrative and highly gratifying career as a forensic accountant, a financial analyst, a financial manager, a controller, or a CFO.

Is accounting a good degree?

Yes, accounting is a good degree. A bachelor's degree in accounting builds skills that are transferable across industries and occupations. Accounting graduates also command high wages: In the U.S., accountants make a median annual salary of $71,550 — almost double the median salary for all occupations nationwide.

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