Hero Image The 25 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs

The 25 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs

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Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Programs

By pursuing bachelor’s degrees in accounting, students learn foundational practices in tax preparation, auditing, and financial analysis to qualify for entry-level jobs in the field. Many accountants continue to master’s-level studies, qualifying them to earn certified public accountant (CPA) credentials.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $71,550 as of May 2019. Accountants enjoy flexibility and job security in many different industries.

This page highlights the 25 most affordable online accounting degrees for 2021, offering an excellent starting point for prospective accounting students. Readers can also find information about degree expectations, career paths, and tips for choosing the right program.

Top 10 Cheapest Online Accounting Degrees

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What Is Accounting?

The concept of tracking business transactions dates back to 2,000-3,300 B.C., as evidenced by unearthed clay tablets from the period. Luca Pacioli’s 1494 treatise on bookkeeping practices, which measures expenses against income, makes him the “Father of Accounting” in the eyes of historians. The Industrial Revolution saw the development of professional accounting organizations. Emerging technologies continue to catapult the field into the future. 

Today, the BLS reports 1,436,100 accountant and auditor positions in the United States, projecting employment in the field to grow by 4% from 2019-2029 and keep pace with the average growth for all occupations.

As of 2019, the largest accounting employers included accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services; finance and insurance; government; and management of companies and enterprises. 

Accountants maintain financial records for organizations and individuals. They oversee tax preparation and ensure their employers adhere to all necessary regulations. Accountants often possess excellent analytical, communication, and math skills, plus a strong eye for detail. With a bachelor’s in accounting, students can hone these skills and qualify for diverse roles in the field. 

A bachelor’s often meets the minimum educational requirement for entry-level jobs in accounting. Some organizations offer advancement opportunities to bachelor’s graduates, while others require additional education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Why Get an Affordable Accounting Bachelor’s?

By obtaining online accounting degrees, students enter a job market that continues to grow along with the overall economy. These in-demand professionals enjoy ample choices when it comes to location, business size, and industry. 

An aspiring accountant should consider their career goals and ideal professional role before committing to an online accounting degree. Prospective students may want to consider whether the curriculum emphasizes CPA readiness or attractive concentration options. As a common entry-level expectation, a bachelor’s in accounting paves the way to success in the field. 

Even in a field with well-paying job prospects, students often seek out affordable programs. Graduates can enter the job market with more options as they look toward future career goals. Benefits of pursuing an affordable online accounting program include: 

Further Education Requirements

Many employers want their accountants to obtain CPA credentials. Specifics vary by location, but most states mandate more than the typical 120 college credits of a bachelor’s degree, making further education a necessity for aspiring CPAs.

Faster Return-on-Investment

By obtaining an affordable degree, a graduate can earn back the money they spent on tuition more quickly. Whether paying off loans or avoiding them altogether, earning an affordable degree can help to minimize debt.


Online degrees carry the same level of prestige as their on-campus equivalents. An affordable degree can offer a solid accounting background that qualifies graduates for excellent job opportunities.

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

  1. Western Governors University

    Salt Lake City, UT



    Western Governors University offers an affordable online accounting degree that prepares students for CPA certification. The 150-credit bachelor of science in accounting covers topics like Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, financial planning, taxes, financial records, and payroll. Students take courses such as business ethics, organizational behavior, taxation, and managerial accounting.
    WGU accepts an average of 38 transfer credits per student. WGU requires applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED, complete an interview, and submit official transcripts from prior learning. Prospective students must be at least 16 years old to apply. Once accepted, students can begin coursework on the first day of any month.

    In addition to holding regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, WGU's accounting program boasts accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  2. Bellevue University

    Bellevue, NE



    Students seeking an online accounting degree should consider the bachelor of science in accounting from Bellevue University in Nevada. Distance learners pay a flat rate per credit for tuition, and active-duty military receive discounted pricing.

    The program provides an overview of accounting principles and teaches the skills necessary for auditing, cost accounting, tax accounting, financial accounting, and analysis. The 127-credit degree requires 36 general education credits, 19 electives, and 72 credits within the accounting major.

    Courses include advanced accounting problems, tax planning and strategies, and advanced cost accounting. Learners can also minor in tax accountancy, add a concentration in business finance, and take an accountancy internship. Graduates qualify for entry-level accounting positions and begin to prepare for the CPA exam.

    Bellevue's accounting program holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

  3. Colorado State University-Global Campus

    Aurora, CO



    Distance students can pursue an affordable online accounting degree from Colorado State University – Global Campus, which is based in Greenwood Village. CSU's bachelor of science in accounting explores issues like quantitative decision making, legal compliance, leadership, ethics, and organizational management.

    The program includes three awards of completion: foundations of accounting; 21st-century accounting; and financial analysis, reporting, and auditing. Students learn the fundamentals of accountancy while gaining skills in time management, mathematical reasoning, complex problem solving, perceptual speed, and inductive and deductive reasoning.

    Courses include government and nonprofit accounting, information systems for accounting, and a capstone project exploring accounting research and analysis. Students can also take an optional practicum to gain experience in a real-world accounting organization. Accounting majors can add one of more than a dozen specializations in areas like information technology management, organizational leadership, and project management.

    CSU's accounting program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  4. Brandman University

    Irvine, CA



    Brandman University in Irvine, California, boasts an affordable online accounting degree with a focus on financial reporting and analysis, accounting information systems, cost analysis and budgeting, and income taxation. Delivered through its Business & Professional Studies Division, Brandman's program approaches accounting problems from a global perspective, incorporating marketing strategies, business management, and communications.

    The 120-credit degree includes core courses in advanced accounting, income taxation, auditing, and leadership in diverse and multicultural organizations. Students can choose either a fully online or hybrid program. Brandman's flat-rate tuition makes it easy for students to plan their budgets while limiting unexpected financial costs.

    Applicants to the bachelor's of business administration in accounting must hold at least 12 transfer credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. If students lack the required credits, Brandman offers a four-course program through its School of Extended Studies to complete the 12 required credits.

    Brandman is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

  5. Golden Gate University-San Francisco

    San Francisco, CA



    The bachelor of science in business from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California, includes the option to add an accounting concentration. GGU's online accounting degree prepares graduates to sit for the CPA and CMA exams and provides them with the technical accounting skills needed for entry-level positions in managerial and financial accounting, consulting, internal and external auditing, and taxation.

    Students take courses like cost management, auditing, and federal income tax. Graduates establish foundations in management, economics, finance, quantitative methods, information systems, communications, and law.

    GGU offers a $2,000 annual leadership grant to help students complete their undergraduate degrees. To qualify for admission to the program, students must hold at least 12 transferable undergraduate credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective students who do not meet these requirements may receive conditional admission if they hold a high school minimum 3.0 GPA and at least three years of professional work experience.

    Golden Gate University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

  6. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

    Denver, CO



    Students searching for online accounting programs should consider the BS in business administration with an emphasis in accounting at the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus. The program focuses on auditing, consulting, taxes, and financial and managerial accounting.

    UCD's close ties to Denver's accounting community facilitate a variety of networking, internship, and job opportunities for students. Learners take courses like financial accounting and financial statement analysis; accounting systems and data processing; and accounting and information systems processes and controls. Accounting majors take a mix of general education, business, and accounting courses.

    Students can take all courses online or pursue a hybrid format. The same instructors teach classes on campus and online. Online out-of-state students pay higher tuition rates than Colorado residents but receive a substantial discount. UCD's accounting program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  7. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    One of the best online colleges for accounting, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton offers a comprehensive bachelor of business administration major in accounting. FAU's accounting program distinguishes itself with its networking and job placement services for students post-graduation.

    Students learn the foundations of accounting and gain communication, analytical, interpersonal, and technical skills to help them succeed in the field. They also learn to identify and analyze economic and financial information to inform decision making. The 120-credit degree includes required courses in accounting information systems, federal tax, and intermediate accounting theory I and II.

    Students can apply to FAU's honors Accounting Scholars Program, which helps accounting majors prepare for professional accounting careers and graduate work in the field. To apply to FAU's BBA in accounting, students must hold at least 60 credits, satisfy a foreign language requirement, complete FAU's Intellectual Foundation Program, and earn a minimum 2.5 GPA in a variety of pre-business foundation courses.

    Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. Walsh College

    Troy, MI



    Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration's bachelor of accountancy (BAC) ranks among the top cheap online accounting degree programs. Graduates work at every Fortune 500 company in Michigan and go on to earn certifications as business accountants, CPAs, and CMAs.

    Walsh graduates pass the CPA exam at higher rates than the national average. Students must pass 127 credits to earn the bachelor's, taking courses like advanced managerial accounting, intermediate accounting, and financial accounting concepts. Learners also select a concentration in either certified public accountant or certified management accountant.

    All students and graduates can join the Walsh Accounting & Taxation Student Organization, which offers valuable networking and volunteer opportunities. Student's may also explore Walsh's accelerated program, allowing them to earn a bachelor's and a master's of accountancy in just five years.

    Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Thomas Edison State University

    Trenton, NJ



    Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey, offers an affordable online accounting degree to busy adults aiming to become accountants and auditors. The bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) in accounting covers topics like auditing, managerial accounting, cost accounting, financial accounting, and earnings performance analysis.

    The 120-credit degree includes 60 general education requirements, 36 professional business requirements, 18 accounting requirements, and six electives. Accounting courses include government accounting, advanced managerial accounting, and analysis of financial statements.

    Thomas Edison also offers BSBA in accounting students the opportunity to easily transition into its CPA and master's track, allowing students to earn the credits necessary for CPA certification while simultaneously earning a master's of science in management. Applicants must be at least 21 years old or at least 18 and a member of the military. They must also hold a high school diploma or GED.

    Thomas Edison State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  10. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    Minneapolis, MN



    The 120-credit bachelor of science in accounting from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is among the best online accounting programs. UMN faculty, researchers, and alumni boast three Pulitzers and 29 Nobel prizes.

    Of the 120 credits necessary to graduate with the BS in accounting, learners must complete 63 within the major. Courses cover topics like business ethics, income tax, auditing, managerial finance, and accounting systems. Students learn practical skills and gain the theoretical framework to work as accountants in a variety of public and private settings.

    Graduates find work as financial accountants, financial managers, and financial analysts. UMN also gives accounting majors the opportunity to complete CPA, CMA, and CIA certification on campus. Because licensure requirements vary by state, online students should determine rules from the licensing board in the state where they want to practice.

    University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  11. Texas Woman's University

    Denton, TX



    It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete the bachelor of business administration in accounting from Texas Woman's University in Denton. Students looking for an affordable online accounting degree should consider TWU's four plus one in accounting program, which lets students earn both a BBA and MBA with an accounting emphasis in just five years.

    Undergraduate costs at TWU are 23% lower than the national average. The 120-credit degree includes 66 credits within the accounting major, and TWU accepts up to 42 credits toward the BBA from transfer students. Students can complete the degree completely online, or combine in-person and distance courses. Students, recent grads, and alumni benefit from TWU's Career Connections Center, which provides help with a variety of career planning services, including networking, resume reviewing, and career advising.

    TWU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  12. University of Maryland-College Park

    College Park, MD



    Students take courses like accounting for government organizations, internal auditing, and federal income tax in the online accounting BS program at the University of Maryland – College Park. One of the best online colleges for accounting, UMUC combines theory and practice, helping students develop skills related to taxation, financial reporting, managerial accounting, internal controls, internal and external auditing, accounting systems, and budgeting.

    Learners must complete 120 credits to graduate and UMUC accepts up to 90 transfer credits. The distinguished faculty in the program combine academic knowledge with professional accounting experience. Instructors have experience working in roles like systems auditor, certified public accountant, and financial analyst.

    UMUC's accounting program helps students prepare to sit for the CPA exam in Maryland. Many other states require completion of 150 credits before candidates can sit for the exam, so students should contact the licensing board in the state where they intend to take the test.

    University of Maryland – College Park is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  13. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS



    The bachelor of business administration in accounting from the College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, prepares students for work in entry-level accounting positions. Students seeking to become certified public accountants must meet additional requirements that this program does not offer.

    The accredited online accounting degree requires learners to take courses such as auditing, cost accounting, and income tax procedure. Electives include fraud examination, ethics for accountants, and financial statement analysis. The 124-credit degree includes 30 credits within the accounting major.

    Faculty members in the program are experts in their field with valuable connections to the professional accounting world. FHSU's Department of Economics, Finance, and Accounting gives accounting majors personalized virtual mentoring and advising. The department also offers numerous scholarships to accounting students each semester and maintains an active internship program that helps learners gain hands-on experience in the accounting field.

    Fort Hays State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

  14. University of Hawaii-West Oahu

    Kapolei, HI



    The University of Hawai'i – West O'ahu offers one of the best cheap online accounting degree programs. Its BA in business administration with an accounting concentration provides a comprehensive overview of the accounting profession. Students learn to evaluate, analyze, and report financial information.

    The program explores accounting principles, the double-entry system, and how to use financial data to make business decisions. Students take classes in general education, business administration, and accounting. Course include estate and gift taxation, advanced accounting, and hospitality accounting. All students must complete a senior capstone, which can include either a senior project, administrative practicum, senior case study, or Small Business Institute-supervised field study.

    Graduates of UH-West O'ahu's accounting program find careers as tax specialists, auditors, controllers, and bank examiners in public accounting firms, nonprofit organizations, government offices, and private corporations. UH-West O'ahu hosts a student accounting club that maintains an email list with information about accounting news, upcoming events, and opportunities.

    University of Hawai'i – West O'ahu is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

  15. University of Maryland-University College

    Adelphi, MD



    The University of Maryland – University College's generous transfer policy allows online learners pursuing a bachelor of science in accounting to transfer up to 90 of the 120 credits necessary to graduate. All accounting coursework is available online, although some courses may include an optional hybrid format.

    Required classes include accounting information systems, ethics and professionalism in accounting, internal auditing, and fraud and forensic accounting. UMUC's accounting faculty develop the program's curriculum in consultation with accountancy employers. Of the 120 credits required to graduate, 51 must be in the accounting major.

    Students learn skills in financial reporting, internal controls, taxation, accounting systems, internal and external auditing, and budgeting. Graduates with UMUC's accredited online accounting degree can sit for Maryland's CPA exam. However, many other states require prospective CPAs to complete 150 credits before sitting for the exam, so out-of-state students should consult the licensing board in their state for requirements.

    University of Maryland University College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  16. Dickinson State University

    Dickinson, ND



    The School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota, offers one of the best cheap online accounting degree programs. Its 121-credit bachelor of science in accounting (professional track) includes classes in computerized accounting, business valuation, international finance, and financial statement analysis.

    Students can complete the entire degree online, with no in-person requirements. They learn about the foundations of financial accounting and reporting; the role of cost in decision making; international aspects of accounting; and federal tax law as it applies to businesses and individuals. Students also learn the fundamental principles of business and management and gain skills in strategic decision-making, leadership, and professional communication.

    Accounting majors at Dickinson can add a marketing concentration to their degree. To graduate with the BS, learners must earn a cumulative 2.25 GPA. The program prepares graduates to sit for a variety of professional exams, including the CPA.

    Dickinson State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  17. Missouri State University-Springfield

    Springfield, MO



    The bachelor of science in accounting program at Missouri State University – Springfield allows Ozarks Technical Community College students to finish their degrees at MSU. Students can earn an associate degree at OTCC, then easily transfer to MSU for the last two years of school.

    Unlike many accounting programs online, this one combines online coursework with some in-person evening classes. MSU offers the program with part-time and full-time options. Students take courses like managerial cost accounting, debtor/creditor rights and remedies, professionalism in accounting, and principles of marketing.

    The 125-credit degree requires that students take their last 30 credits at MSU and complete at least 90 credits outside of the accounting major. Of the 125 credits required to graduate, at least 40 must be upper division. Accounting majors benefit from networking events, membership in the accounting student group, and eligibility for a variety of scholarships.

    MSU's BS in accounting program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  18. Washington State University

    Pullman, WA



    Located in Pullman, Washington, WSU's college of business is home to the online bachelor's degree in accounting, one of the most affordable accounting degrees online. The college of business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and their accounting degree is one of only 165 programs to have separate AACSB accounting accreditation. Courses, taught through the Blackboard platform, are seven weeks long; other courses at the university may be offered in a 16-week format.

    To advance to upper-division courses in this accounting degree online, students must become certified in business administration with an accounting concentration through the university. Students who meet the minimum requirements are ranked and certified based on the number of spots available that semester. The program also includes a six-credit international experience requirement that can be fulfilled by study abroad, international internships, or approved coursework.

  19. Old Dominion University

    Norfolk, VA



    Designed as a degree completion program for students with an associate degree or significant undergraduate coursework, the BSBA in accounting from Old Dominion University is one of the best online accounting degrees. The program provides a strong overview of the principles and practices of accounting, helping students develop communication, analytical, and computer skills.

    Learners outside of Virginia pay only slightly more per credit than Virginia residents, keeping the program affordable for distance learners. Online courses at ODU include some live classes that meet at scheduled times, as well as asynchronous courses. The 120-credit bachelor's in accounting includes required courses like accounting information systems, taxation, and managerial accounting.

    ODU requires students to complete their last 30 credits at ODU. Accounting majors can choose between two concentrations: general or professional. ODU's accounting program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  20. University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Birmingham, AL



    Prospective students looking for cheap online accounting degree programs should consider the University of Alabama at Birmingham's BS in accounting. UAB's Collat School of Business offers the bachelor's degree entirely online with no in-person requirements. If learners encounter any technical difficulties they can access a 24/7 help desk.

    The program combines business knowledge with a thorough overview of conceptual accounting. It provides preparation for a variety of certification exams, including the CPA, CMA, CFE, CIA, and CISA. Students take courses like financial accounting, internal auditing, and an accounting capstone.

    UAB's accounting program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and an endorsement from the Institute of Management Accountants signifying leadership in CMA exam preparation. Faculty members maintain connections to the local accounting community, giving students the opportunity to network with groups like the Alabama Society of CPAs and the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy.

  21. Southern Utah University

    Cedar City, UT



    Southern Utah University, a public university founded in 1897 in Cedar City, offers a fully online bachelor of science in accounting. Students pursuing SUU's accounting degree online typically complete the degree in four years with full-time study. They take accounting courses like advanced accounting, auditing, and financial accounting, as well as business-focused classes like strategic management, business law, and marketing principles.

    The 120-credit degree requires learners to complete 40 upper-division credits, of which only 12 can be transfer credits. For students interested in earning their master's in accountancy, SUU offers a two-semester, fast-track option that allows students to complete both degrees in five years. Almost half of SUU's accounting majors pursue the fast-track master's.

    SUU's accounting program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  22. University of Alaska Southeast

    Juneau, AK



    Located in Juneau, the University of Alaska Southeast is among the best cheap online accounting degree programs. Its bachelor of business administration with an emphasis in accounting gives students a solid foundation in business theory and practice while providing a detailed course of study in accounting principles. Accounting majors can also add a dual emphasis in management, management information systems, or human resource management.

    The 120-credit degree must include 42 upper-division credits, with at least 24 of those credits completed at UAS. Students must earn a grade of C or better in all accounting and business administration prerequisite courses. Students pursuing a dual emphasis may need to complete more than the standard 120 credits required to graduate. The BBA requires classes like management skills, legal environment of business, financial management, and applied business research.

    University of Alaska Southeast is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  23. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

    Plattsburgh, NY



    The BS in accounting from SUNY College at Plattsburgh includes many internship and co-op opportunities. Unlike some online accounting degrees, which do not offer real-world experience, SUNY's accounting program gives students access to internships at successful international companies like IBM, as well as local, national, and regional accounting firms. Many students who complete the IBM internship receive job offers upon graduation.

    The director of career opportunities and internships at the School of Business Economics works one-on-one with students to match them with suitable experiential learning opportunities. Students gain leadership and team-building skills through their internships. The program helps students prepare for careers in corporate accounting, public accounting, and nonprofit and government organizations. Students complete courses in strategic management, business law for accounting majors, and a seminar in professionalism. Alumni of SUNY's accounting program work for Wall Street firms, multinational corporations, and reputable CPA firms.

    SUNY College at Plattsburgh is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  24. Ottawa University-Online

    Ottawa, KS



    Established in 1865, Ottawa University is a private, nonprofit school that offers a fully online BA in accounting through its school of business. The program gives students the conceptual framework necessary to successfully analyze and report financial information in a variety of public and private organizations. Learners also explore professionalism and ethics in the accounting field and fiduciary responsibility. Students gain skills in systems analysis, decision making, and problem solving.

    Students pursuing the accounting degree online take classes such as accounting for business, federal income tax, business statistics, and foundations of finance. A required capstone seminar in applied accounting helps students learn how accounting theories apply to financial accounting in the real world. Accounting majors must complete 124 credit hours. Graduates of Ottawa's accounting program find work as financial analysts, budget analysts, public accountants, and controllers.

    Ottawa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  25. Bemidji State University

    Bemidji, MN



    Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota, offers a fully online BS in accounting that students with an associate degree, or an equivalent amount of credits, can complete in as little as two years. The program does not require any in-person sessions. The 120-credit program accepts transfer students with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Courses cover topics such as accounting systems, strategic management, financial management, auditing, and fraud.

    Students seeking cheap online accounting degree programs will appreciate that online students at Bemidji pay resident tuition rates, regardless of residency. Distance learners also qualify for a variety of financial aid services, including distance learning scholarships from the school's Center for Extended Learning.

    Online students receive access to resources such as career services, advising support, library services, and technical support. Bemidji's accounting program holds accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

Jobs for Bachelor’s in Accounting Graduates

Accounting degree-holders qualify for occupations in many different work environments. Graduates can pursue careers as public accountants, auditors, tax experts, or personal financial advisors. 

Accountants can earn potentially lucrative salaries. Accountants and auditors made a median annual salary of $71,550 in 2019, while personal financial advisors earned a median income of $87,850. Accounting skills represent an important business foundation, and professionals often advance to high-paying managerial roles. Chief executives, for example, earned a median salary of $184,460 as of 2019. 

An accountant can expand their career opportunities by earning a master’s degree or pursuing industry credentials like CPA or certified management accountant (CMA). 

  • Tax Accountant

    Employed by organizations, government bodies, and individuals, tax accountants prepare and file tax documents for their clients. They analyze financial documents and help clients to improve their asset management. A tax accountant must hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum, though many employers prefer a master’s degree and CPA credentials.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $71,550

  • Personal Financial Advisor

    Working directly with individuals as self-employed accountants or members of a larger firm, personal financial advisors help clients organize their financial assets. They make recommendations to help clients meet their financial goals for retirement and college savings. Personal financial advisors also facilitate estate planning.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +3%
    • Median Annual Salary: $87,850

  • Budget Analyst

    Largely employed in industries like government, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services, budget analysts organize their clients’ finances. They analyze expenses and income, working with managers to develop appropriate budgets for the organization. Budget analysts also monitor an organization’s cash flow and make recommendations for budget cuts.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +3%
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,540

  • Internal Auditor

    Internal auditors monitor their organizations’ financial activities in strict detail, watching for inconsistencies or misuse of funds. They check for fraudulent activities, suggest potential cost-saving measures, and ensure that their companies adhere to financial regulations. They can seek professional credentials like certified internal auditor or certification in risk management assurance.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $71,550

  • Top Executive

    Responsible for their organizations’ overall strategies, top executives work with managers to set goals, enact plans, and oversee major projects. They monitor financial operations, sometimes reporting to a board of directors. Accountants interested in executive management can pursue master’s-level education, such as master of business administration degrees.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $104,690

What To Expect From Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Accounting degree programs emphasize foundational knowledge in accounting theory and practice, tax law, auditing, financial communication, and ethics. Often geared toward readying students for CPA and other industry credentials, accounting degrees present practical, career-focused curricula. 

A typical bachelor’s degree requires about 120 total credits for graduation, including general education coursework. Major courses comprise 30-50 credits. Generally, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. Timelines differ depending on a student’s academic background and how many courses they take each semester. Affordable tuition typically costs $300-$500 per credit hour, though rates vary widely among programs.

Admission requirements for online accounting degrees vary. Most programs require a high school diploma or GED certificate, and some look for high school GPA minimums in the 2.0-3.0 range.

Other programs require students to complete general education college courses before applying to the accounting program. Students may need to maintain a minimum GPA before qualifying for the accounting major. Some schools require ACT or SAT scores.

Applicants also need to consider how their academic background fits with program requirements. Some online accounting programs require transfer credits, such as those earned through an associate degree or a certificate, while others offer all necessary coursework through online study. Prerequisite examples include accounting I and II, introduction to business, and economics.

Prospective students can use the Common App to submit one application to multiple schools, streamlining the process.

When researching online accounting degrees, prospective students may encounter several types of programs. Degree-seekers should consider the types of jobs they want to pursue and pair them with the appropriate program. Common options include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting: The BS in accounting provides in-depth knowledge of financial analysis, tax preparation, and auditing. Graduates can concentrate in areas like forensic accounting. Related career paths include public accounting, fraud examination, external and internal auditing, and managerial accounting.
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting: The BBA provides a general business core in addition to accounting knowledge, with coursework that includes economics, business law, and statistics. Like the BS, the BBA opens the door to various accounting careers. With a more general business background, graduates may find more flexibility and advancement opportunities.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration: The BABA prepares students for leadership positions and adds a liberal arts emphasis. Aspiring accountants hoping to qualify for managerial positions might select this degree for a business core that includes courses like international business and operations management.

Prospective students can expect to encounter similar major requirements among online accounting degree programs. A typical curriculum requires a core set of accounting courses that provide solid foundations in accounting principles like financial analysis, reporting, and tax knowledge. Many programs allow students to explore their areas of interest through electives.

Some schools also require each student to complete a hands-on capstone project at the end of their program. Required courses in accounting often include:

  • Intermediate Accounting: This course builds on accounting principles. Topics cover foundational subjects of financial statement preparation, income concepts and value measurement, balance sheet and reporting standards, and statement analysis. Most programs require intermediate accounting I and II.
  • Federal Taxation: Federal taxation covers United States tax laws and the Internal Revenue Code, familiarizing students with forms and documents, income determination concepts, tax liability standards for individuals and organizations, and decision-making relating to taxation.
  • Auditing: This requirement for accounting majors teaches financial compliance, electronic data processing auditing, and strategies for communicating audit results to employers. The course also prepares students to use auditing software and design auditing systems for their organizations, including testing strategies.
  • Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting: Sometimes offered as an elective, this course covers accounting theories and procedures specific to state and local government, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, and other nonprofit entities. Topics include the use of special funds, tax requirements, financial statements and reporting, and budgets.
  • Accounting Ethics: This course covers ethical decision-making in accounting issues. The subject matter considers concepts from a political, societal, and technological point of view. Coursework explores legal, diversity, and other environmental factors.

Read More About Accounting Programs

Making Affordable Accounting Degrees Even Cheaper

Students looking for affordable online accounting degrees can benefit from many cost-saving tactics. Specific program attributes, such as delivery style and school size, can contribute to lower tuition rates. The following list offers several measures students can take to make their accounting degrees more affordable.

Online versus Traditional Delivery

Many institutions charge lower tuition rates for online degrees, sometimes matching in-state rates for non-residential distance learners. Online education eliminates the cost of living on campus or commuting. Students can continue to work while pursuing their degrees and even gain accounting experience in the process.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Accounting students can significantly lower the overall cost of their studies by pursuing financial aid opportunities like scholarships, grants, and loans. By filling out a FAFSA, degree-seekers open the door to work-study opportunities, low-interest loans, and need-based aid. Professional associations, nonprofit organizations, and local government agencies frequently offer scholarship opportunities.

Institutional Prestige

An institution’s reputation can play an important part in the school-selection process, but high price tags often accompany prestigious programs. Students can still find equally excellent degrees at more affordable rates.

Aspiring accountants should consider whether their career goals necessitate degrees from prestigious schools. Those hoping to pursue executive roles in large, competitive environments may garner a better return on their investment from more prestigious institutions.

Book Rentals

Students can often avoid buying expensive textbooks and materials outright. Online booksellers like Amazon offer textbook rental programs that allow learners to borrow books at very low rates. E-books and library resources also help reduce the cost of materials.

Credit Loading

When a school charges tuition by the semester rather per credit, degree-seekers can pack their schedules with extra coursework. This method accelerates the pace of a program, reducing overall tuition costs and allowing enrollees to graduate sooner. Before taking this route, students should carefully consider if their schedules and personalities allow for the increased workload.

Choosing the Right Affordable Accounting Program

While affordability represents a major factor in the search for an online accounting degree, students need to account for factors like accreditation, program setup, and university resources.

Candidates should ensure the accreditation status of every prospective school. Regional and national accreditation assess schools as a whole, and programmatic accreditation applies to particular programs. CPA licensure requires regionally accredited coursework, and many master’s programs do not recognize credits earned through unaccredited programs. 

Aspiring accounting professionals should also consider whether they want to pursue specializations, such as forensic accounting. Some students prefer online accounting degrees that feed directly into master’s-level studies. 

For many students, university resources and extracurricular opportunities factor as important elements in the decision-making process. Distance learners can ask how programs include online students in school culture. The availability of online clubs, events, and professional organization chapters may appeal to some learners, as well. Likewise, students can seek access to important resources like career centers, tutoring departments, and library services.

Why You Should Get Your Bachelor’s in Accounting Online

Online education increases in popularity each year as schools recognize the rising demand among prospective students. Distance learning can make higher education more affordable and accessible. With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to affect the state of education into 2021 and beyond, online degree options can help future accountants to begin their studies without delay. 

Accounting translates well to online education. With the help of their faculty, students can arrange any in-person program components, like capstones or internships, from afar. 

Online coursework requires the same focus and attention as face-to-face classes, and students should consider their self-motivation and time management skills before committing to a program. Some may crave the energy of on-campus activities, while others prefer to complete their studies from home. 

Degree-seekers with jobs, caretaking responsibilities, or financial restraints may particularly seek to take advantage of the opportunities that online education affords. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I major in to become an accountant?

    Aspiring accountants often pursue BS degrees in accounting. Other options include a BBA or a BABA with a concentration in accounting.

  • Can I get an accounting degree online?

    Yes. Like their in-person counterparts, online accounting degrees offer specialization options and CPA preparation.

  • What can I do with a degree in accounting?

    Accounting degree-holders can pursue careers in personal financial advising, auditing, tax accounting, government accounting, and more. Many top executives hold backgrounds in accounting, making it a great starting point for those hoping to advance to management.

  • How much does it cost to get an accounting degree online?

    While costs vary, students can find many options for affordable online accounting degrees. Generally speaking, the cheapest programs fall in the range of $300-$500 per credit.

  • Is an online accounting degree worth anything?

    An online accounting degree carries the same weight as its on-campus equivalent. In fact, many schools run identical curricula in both formats and feature the same faculty members.

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Advertisement Accounting.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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