Best Accounting Online Bachelor's 2023

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Updated January 23, 2023

Are you looking for a flexible way to obtain a bachelor's degree in accounting? Enrolling in an online program could be the solution for you.

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As the job market continues to evolve, so does the landscape of higher education. Many students rely on online degree programs to accomplish their educational objectives. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows over 7 million postsecondary students enrolled in distance education courses in fall 2019. A 2020 study from Wiley Education Services revealed 79% of students who completed distance learning coursework felt the online experience felt the experience was worth the cost.

A bachelor's degree in accounting can provide a competitive edge in the job market. The profession demonstrates steady growth and higher-than-average salaries: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% increase in accounting and auditing jobs from 2020 to 2030. The BLS also reports the median annual salary for accountants and auditors was $77,250 as of 2021, higher than the national average salary for all jobs.

Students in accounting bachelor's degree programs learn to use in-demand accounting software and apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations. Online accounting bachelor's degree graduates can pursue careers as certified public accountants (CPAs), forensic accountants, auditors, and financial analysts. Industries hiring accountants include finance, banking, insurance, and real estate.

Below, we provide a comprehensive guide to the best online bachelor's degrees in accounting.

What to Expect From an Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree

Online programs often employ the same faculty who teach in-person courses. The classes comprising on-campus and online degrees are also usually similar. However, a few differences separate the two styles of learning.

For instance, on-campus degree programs require students to attend classes in person. These courses have predetermined meeting times and offer opportunities for face-to-face interaction with peers and instructors.

Students in online programs, on the other hand, do not attend classes on a physical campus. Synchronous courses use technology like web conferencing to provide learners with live virtual lectures and class discussions. Asynchronous classes usually offer more flexible scheduling, as they do not require enrollees to log in at set times.

Best Accounting Online Bachelor's Degrees

Explore the five best online accounting bachelor's degrees of 2023. Find out the methods for how we rank our schools at the link below.

#1 Best Accounting Online Bachelor’s 2023

The University of West Florida

  • Pensacola, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established in 1967, the University of West Florida (UWF) in Pensacola, Florida, offers over 110 degree programs and enrolls more than 13,000 students. The public university values innovation, integrity, and equity. 

Accounting, BSBA

University of West Florida offers an AACSB-accredited, fully online accounting BSBA program that employs instructors with real-world experience as CPAs. Students can develop their communication, problem-solving, and ethical decision-making skills while preparing for the CPA exam preparation.

The 120-credit program includes 60 general education credits, 30 required core credits, and 30 accounting specialization credits. The program accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Students take classes like advanced financial accounting, accounting information systems, auditing, and tax accounting. The program also offers a supervised field practicum/accounting internship.

UWF's accounting program alumni rank third in the nation for first-time pass rates on the CPA exam.

Applying to UWF

Applicants to UWF's online accounting program must complete prerequisite courses and all lower-division general education courses with a grade of C or better. To apply, submit official transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and a departmental application form.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $212/credit (Florida residents), $317/credit (Alabama residents), $642/credit (non-residents)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 24-48 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,735
Out-of-state
$16,004
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
13,061
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Accounting Online Bachelor’s 2023

Buena Vista University

  • Storm Lake, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Storm Lake, Iowa, Buena Vista University (BVU) is a small, private institution that serves over 1,900 students through in-person, online, and hybrid programs with an average class size of under 20.

Bachelor's in Accounting

Buena Vista University's Harold Walter Siebens School of Business offers a bachelor's degree in accounting with options for completely online or hybrid study. Students can complete the accounting professional licensure emphasis by earning 150 credits. The school's accelerated plus one program allows each enrollee to earn bachelor's and master's accounting degrees in five years. 

The curriculum requires major classes like individual taxation, cost accounting, accounting information systems, and business taxation. Each accounting major must complete a business practicum and can take an accounting internship. Students can also participate in BVU's Accounting Interview Day, where Big Four firms and other accounting companies recruit professional candidates. 

Applying to BVU

Admission requirements include an online application and official college transcripts. The school accepts applications on a rolling basis and does not charge an application fee.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $451/credit
  • Required Credits: 150 for the professional licensure emphasis
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid
Average Tuition
In-state
$36,426
Out-of-state
$36,426
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
1,863
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Accounting Online Bachelor’s 2023

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

A private online university based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Western Governors University (WGU) offers competency-based education in business, information technology, teaching, and health and nursing.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) Accounting Degree

Distance learners enrolled in Western Governors University's online BSBA in accounting program learn about financial planning, financial recording, auditing, and payroll. WGU also offers an online master of accounting degree for students who want to continue their education at the graduate level and earn the requisite credits to sit for the CPA exam.

The ACBSP-accredited curriculum requires courses like cost and managerial accounting, accounting information systems, and business law for accountants. Accounting majors complete capstone projects at the end of the program. The 120-credit, competency-based degree lets learners with experience and knowledge graduate more quickly by moving on to new courses after passing assessments. 

Applying to WGU

Admission requirements include an online application, official transcripts, and an interview.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Tuition: $3,575/six-month term
  • Required Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 4 years or less
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,380
Out-of-state
$6,380
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
147,866
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Best Accounting Online Bachelor’s 2023

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online

The University of the Cumberlands (Cumberlands) in Williamsburg, Kentucky, enrolls more than 19,000 students. The private school offers over 40 undergraduate degrees and graduate and pre-professional programs.

Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

University of the Cumberlands offers an IACBE-accredited online accounting bachelor's degree that covers financial reporting, auditing, and bookkeeping. Students learn to create financial records, examine records for risk or errors, and keep budgets on track. Faculty members include professionals with expertise as tax consultants, financial officers, and corporate officers. 

The 120-credit degree requires 37 general education credits, 25 general elective credits, and 60 accounting major credits. The curriculum includes general business and accounting courses like federal taxation, principles of management, financial management, and accounting information systems. Students can gain real-world experience and earn up to 15 credits through corporate internships. 

Applying to Cumberlands

Applicants must submit an online application and official transcripts. The program requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Tuition: $199/credit
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,875
Out-of-state
$9,875
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
19,110
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Accounting Online Bachelor’s 2023

Mayville State University

  • Mayville, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The small, student-focused Mayville State University (MSU) has been a fixture of North Dakota's higher education network since 1889. According to MSU, its tuition rates are more than 37% lower than North Dakota's typical large public college.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The bachelor of science in accounting program at Mayville State University balances a strong focus on accounting with in-depth business studies. Together, required accounting and business courses make up almost two-thirds of the degree requirements. Graduates emerge with precise accounting skills and a strong working knowledge of business management.

The program fulfills most of the academic requirements needed to take North Dakota's certified public accountant licensing exam. It also actively helps students build their professional networks and post-graduation job opportunities through paid internship programs.

Notably, all students also qualify for MSU's low tuition rates regardless of their residency status.

Applying to MSU

Each candidate applies online through MSU's application portal. A first-time, first-year applicant must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 and meet North Dakota's College Prep Core Requirements standards. ACT/SAT scores are optional but not required through the Summer 2023 term.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $336/credit
  • Required Credits: 114
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,025
Out-of-state
$9,038
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
1,168
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Top Online Bachelor's Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

How Does an Online Accounting Degree Differ From an On-Campus Bachelor's?

Comparing Online and On-Campus Bachelor's in Accounting Degrees
Factor Online Program On-Campus Program
Tuition Cost Per Credit Hour $239-$718 $682-$1,350
Course Load At least 12 credit hours for full-time students; at least 3 credit hours for part-time students At least 12 credit hours for full-time students; at least 3 credit hours for part-time students
Program Credit Hours 120 credits 120 credits
Scheduling Online accounting programs are available in synchronous and asynchronous formats. Asynchronous classes allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule, while synchronous courses arrange live virtual classroom sessions. At scheduled times, classes take place in a physical classroom. Some programs offer hybrid formats that combine online learning with on-campus learning opportunities.

Sources: Brenau University, Franklin University, Indiana University, Liberty University, NC State University, Purdue Global, Seton Hall University, Syracuse University

A key difference between online and traditional degrees is flexibility. Depending on course format, online accounting degree classes may not have the same rigid schedules as their on-campus equivalents. Students can view prerecorded lectures and complete assignments when their work and family obligations allow.

Online schools sometimes offer accelerated programs, which allow learners to complete their degree in fewer than four years of full-time study. Some institutions also offer special tuition rates for online students or charge in-state tuition for all distance learners regardless of state residency. This can make an online degree more affordable than an on-campus program.

Many on-campus accounting programs require students to complete internships or fieldwork to graduate, which may be difficult to arrange for remote students. However, learners can network with local organizations to develop approved internship opportunities.

Delivery Formats for Online Accounting Degrees

A major distinction between asynchronous and synchronous accounting degree programs is that asynchronous programs allow students to complete coursework on a more flexible schedule.

Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require students to meet online at predetermined times for video conferences or other real-time learning experiences. Fully online accounting degree programs are typically asynchronous.

Hybrid programs require learners to spend some time on campus, including in-person orientations, residencies, or full courses offered only on campus. One advantage hybrid delivery formats yield is more opportunities for in-person networking and collaboration.

Common online learning formats include:

  • Self-Paced Learning: This online learning format allows learners to move through course material at their own pace. There is usually no set schedule or deadlines beyond completing class assignments by the end of the academic term, and learners can access the material at any time.
  • Guided Learning: In this online learning style, students receive more structure and guidance from instructors. This can include weekly or monthly deadlines for quizzes and assignments. Learners typically have regular interaction with an instructor or mentor.
  • Collaborative Learning: This type of online learning takes place in a more interactive environment, where learners work together to complete tasks or solve problems. Collaborative learning occurs in synchronous and asynchronous environments.

Students should consider which of these formats suits their learning style and goals before choosing an online program.

Accreditation for Online Accounting Programs

Accreditation is a process that verifies whether schools and programs meet standards of academic excellence. Accrediting agencies are the independent groups that evaluate institutions and offer their seal of approval.

Completing an accredited online accounting bachelor's degree offers many benefits: Most schools only accept transfer credits from accredited institutions. Only students who attend accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid. Employers may only hire job applicants with accredited degrees.

There are three main types of accreditations: regional, national, and programmatic.

Institutional Accreditation and Programmatic Accreditation

Though there is no national board that oversees accreditation, the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education maintain lists of approved accrediting agencies. Regional and national accrediting bodies evaluate at the institutional level. Programmatic accreditors focus on specific departments and programs to confirm degree curricula prepare students for careers in the field.

Accrediting Agencies

Accrediting agencies assess schools to validate academic rigor and educational quality. Regional accreditors include the Higher Learning Commission, the New England Commission of Higher Education, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Relevant programmatic accreditors for accounting programs include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

State Authorization

State authorization protects distance learners by ensuring that institutions can legally deliver education to students in other states. Schools need to pursue state authorization to qualify for federal aid.

List of States with Accounting Degrees

Alabama Louisiana Ohio
Alaska Maine Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
California Michigan Rhode Island
Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
Delaware Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming
Kentucky North Dakota

How Much Will an Online Accounting Bachelor's Cost?

The typical cost of an online bachelor's degree in accounting varies. Typically, in-state public institutions charge the lowest tuition rates: NCES data for the 2019-20 academic year shows average full-time tuition for in-state public schools was $9,349. Full-time tuition for private schools in the same year was $32,769.

Public institutions sometimes charge all online students in-state tuition regardless of state residency. Other institutions may offer special tuition rates for distance learners.

Financial aid helps students cover the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses associated with their education. There are many financing options available for students pursuing an online accounting bachelor's degree. These include scholarships, grants, loans, employer reimbursement, and work-study programs.

Typically, students receive scholarships and grants based on financial need or academic merit. Learners must repay loans. Federal student loan programs may offer lower interest rates than private loans. Work-study programs allow students to earn money to help pay for their education.

In addition to tuition, online students should consider other costs like technology fees, textbook expenses, and monthly fees for high-speed internet access.

Why Get Your Bachelor's Degree in Accounting Online?

Earning an online bachelor's degree in accounting lets learners study at their own pace. Traditional students meet at established class times and locations, but online enrollees can complete courses from home.

Some distance learning programs are self-paced or accelerated. As a result, remote students may complete their degree faster than on-campus students, allowing them to finish in fewer than four years of full-time study.

There are other factors to consider when deciding to pursue online education: Is the school accredited? Does the learning style of the program meet your needs? Does the degree require in-person attendance for some components?

Pros

  • Online education grants students more freedom to select an online program that meets their preferences, regardless of location.
  • Students with varied personal and professional commitments can enjoy the flexibility of online learning when completing coursework.
  • Online programs may offer lower tuition rates, making a distance learning degree more affordable than its on-campus equivalent.

Cons

  • Students may find it difficult to complete an online degree because of the lack of face-to-face interaction with professors and classmates.
  • Online students may not have access to the same resources — such as job fairs — as in-person students.

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Questions About an Online Accounting Bachelor's Degree

How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in accounting online?

It typically takes 2-4 years of full-time study to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting. Students with previous coursework can typically complete their degree in fewer than four years. Some programs offer accelerated tracks that can also hasten learners' completion timeline.

How much is an online degree in accounting?

The cost of an online bachelor's in accounting degree varies by institution. In-state public schools typically offer the lowest tuition rates, while private institutions and out-of-state public schools charge higher tuition. Some online programs charge in-state or online-only tuition rates, regardless of state residency.

Is an online accounting degree worth anything?

Yes. Given the rise in online learning, especially fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, employers often perceive online degrees as equal in value to on-campus degrees, especially if those degrees come from an accredited institution.

Which is better, a BA or BS in accounting?

A BS in accounting typically focuses more on the quantitative aspects of accounting and may be more beneficial to those planning to earn a graduate degree and pursue CPA licensure. Accounting BA programs usually require more liberal arts courses in the general education curriculum, which can allow students to take more classes outside the accounting and math fields.

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