Earning an Online Accounting Bachelor’s Degree

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Accounting is critical to most businesses, organizations, and agencies. This guide outlines various components of an undergraduate online accounting program, including the application process, coursework, and learning outcomes. It also explores the different career paths you can pursue after graduation. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is an excellent first step to a rewarding accounting career.

Top 10 Earning an Online Accounting Bachelor’s Degree

Rank School Location
1 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
2 Northwood University-Michigan Midland, MI
3 Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI
4 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
5 Washington State University Pullman, WA
6 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
7 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH
8 Auburn University Auburn, AL
9 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
10 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
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Best Online Bachelor’s in Accounting


  • OUR METHODOLOGY


    To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

    • Accredited at the institutional level
    • Private nonprofit or public school
    • Minimum of 1 online bachelor’s degree in subject area

    Schools were then scored on factors such as:

    • Cost & Financial Aid
    • Number and variety of online program offerings
    • Student-teacher ratios
    • Graduation rates
    • Placement and support services offered
    • Academic/Career counseling services
    • Employment services
    • Loan default rates

    These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or “bang for your buck” of a college or degree program.


Online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting are designed to give students a strong foundation in finance and the laws and regulations associated with managing personal and organizational financial accounts. These programs provide more in-depth coursework in addition to entry-level accounting classes, including auditing and taxation principles and practices. Students become familiar with accounting software and are encouraged to develop valuable critical thinking skills. Start narrowing down the choices by checking out this list, which ranks the best online bachelor’s in accounting programs for 2019.

  1. Canisius College
    Location

    Buffalo, NY

    Canisius College offers the following five tracks of study for accounting majors: BS/MBA in accounting, BA/MBA in professional accounting, BS in professional accounting, BS in accounting, and BS in accounting information systems. All accounting students take the same courses for the first, to decide on which track to pursue. These tracks take between four to five years, depending on the program, and most provide 150 hours sit exam. Students can apply for several internal accounting scholarships, and through the Experience Program, juniors can get assistance finding summer employment in the accounting field.

  2. Northwood University-Michigan
    Location

    Midland, MI

    Northwood University s accounting program offers on-site instruction at one of 20 on-site locations, including two military online. Qualifying students may also participate in the four-year bachelor of arts/master of business administration option. Studentsin a associations to meet others in the industry and to make connections that might lead to job growth. Graduates may qualify to sit for exams to be certified as a public accountant, management accountant, internal auditor or financial manager. Northwood s mission is to develop leaders of a global, free-enterprise society.

  3. Hawaii Pacific University
    Location

    Honolulu, HI

    The online accounting degree at Hawaii Pacific University prepares graduates to sit for the certified public accountant exam. The school has an active accounting club, which enables students to make connections in the professional world, including to industry leaders who offer. assistance are available to qualifying students and online support is available as well. HPU s student body is its experts in their fields. In addition to the online accounting degree, the university also offers a number of other distance learning opportunities including a Navy college program.

  4. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    The bachelor of business administration degree in accounting at Davenport University is a traditional four year program with opportunities for specialty certification. Courses teach students how to excel in the accounting industry through a practical and applicable set of skills that enable students tog resource for effective decision making. The 120 credit hour program is through the business college and allows studentsocus two areas; internal auditing or management accounting. The university is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and offers students multiple resources on campus including libraries, counseling centers, and tutoring centers.

  5. Washington State University
    Location

    Pullman, WA

    The bachelor s degree in accounting is the largest degree program in the Washington State University s business department. It s also available online, with 24-hour technical support and a student services staff member that are both specifically dedicated to online support. Onlinee Connections which provides webinars, resources and live-streamed events that enhance the program offerings. Threaded discussionsline sense of community within the program and among their peers. Online students can also participate in ASWSU Global, the online community s student government. In addition to the accounting degree, there are eight other undergraduate programs available online.

  6. Northern Arizona University
    Location

    Flagstaff, AZ

    A bachelor of science in accountancy from Northern Arizona University can prepare graduates for a degree in financial analysi, management. The university s goal is to provide the foundational skills and knowledge that students need to start their career in and there. The program is offered only on the school s main campus, where students can participate in a wide range of cultural and recreational activities. NAU serves nearly 30,000 students statewide and online with just over 20,000 of those attending courses on the main campus.

  7. Kent State University at Kent
    Location

    Kent, OH

    Accounting students at Kent State University can earn a bachelor s degree or participate in a five-yeart master s in the field. Graduates of the program have the functional understanding of taxes and C corporations and can analyze issuesting statements. The program requires students to maintain a minimum grade point average and prepares graduates for careers in accounting, tax preparation, company management, finance and the government. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its campus and online.

  8. Auburn University
    Location

    Auburn, AL

    Accounting majors at Auburn University are highly recruited by companies looking for quality interns. In addition, moste graduation and also go on to earn a master s degree in the field. Students who seek a second bachelor s degree qualify for theelor accounting. This program is for those changing career paths or who want the coursework required to sit for the CPA exam. In this program, students watch recorded lectures of the on-campus classes and follow the same academic calendar as their traditional counterparts.

  9. University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    A bachelor of science in accounting at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is available in a flexible format to help more students gain the degree they want to move their careers forward. In addition to being available on campus, it s one of six fully online bachelor s. insight into working in the public, private and nonprofit sector and allows students to sit for a variety of certifications, includingrnal management accountant. A fast-track program is available for high-achieving students who have completed 15 hours of work at the school and have 45 or fewer hours to earn before graduation.

  10. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    Location

    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

    Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic liberal arts college that aims to pair intellect with spirituality within its programs.s student to faculty ratio, giving students an opportunity to work closely with their instructors and peers. Its online accounting program includesedit instruction. The school has offered distance education programs since 1973 and currently educates more than 800 students around the world. Students have numerous scholarship opportunities for programs that were designed specifically for busy adults.

Search Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs

Pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in accounting may be a more flexible option for students who work and have other commitments. Because accounting is a numbers-driven field consisting of financial records, spreadsheets, software and data, it lends itself well to online learning.

Students interact with professors and classmates with tools like Skype, Blackboard and Adobe Connect, while learning to work independently and in teams. Emailing and file sharing programs offer convenient ways to submit coursework and assignments.

If this sounds interesting, take the next step and search for the best online bachelor’s in accounting programs using a variety of personalized criteria below.

Overview of Accounting Degrees

Accounting is the systematic practice of recording, presenting, and interpreting financial data. Its basic elements — assets, expenses, liabilities, and revenue — constitute the core of businesses and organizations. In a bachelor’s in accounting program, students study fundamental accounting principles, such as accounts receivable and payable, bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes. An accounting bachelor’s degree prepares students for entry-level jobs and provides a foundation for postgraduate study.

Organized and methodical individuals with business, mathematical, and financial aptitude make successful accountants. Because they handle sensitive data, accountants must be trustworthy, transparent, and committed to upholding the ethical standards of the profession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% increase in accounting jobs by 2026, affording accounting graduates ample career opportunities. Several accredited colleges and universities that offer on-campus undergraduate accounting programs also offer online accounting degrees.

Application Proces

The application process and admission standards vary by school. Most schools that offer on-campus and online accounting programs have similar admission requirements for both formats.

All schools require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Minimum accepted GPAs vary by institution, but most colleges consider applicants with at least a 2.5 GPA. Some schools accept students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement on a conditional basis.

Some applicants must submit scores from at least one standardized college application test, such as the SAT. Most colleges and universities require applicants to submit at least one letter of recommendation and high school transcripts.

What Will I Learn?

An online accounting degree comprises 120 credits and typically takes four years of full-time study to complete. Students begin by enrolling in general education courses, like English, history, and science. General education units often comprise 60 credits. When students begin their junior year, they enroll in accounting-specific classes, such as accounting information systems, auditing principles, and ethics in accounting. In most programs, including online accounting degrees, major-specific courses comprise 40 credits. Students can typically take 20 elective credits.

The flexibility of an online accounting program often attracts nontraditional students, including mid-career professionals and accounting associate degree holders.

  • Auditing

    In this course, students explore the ethics and legal responsibilities of auditors. Students also study auditing procedures and standards. Students learn how to prepare audit working papers, examine financial statements, and verify financial and management assertions.

  • Federal Individual Taxation

    In this course, students examine the common body of tax laws. Students study federal income tax laws and regulations for taxpayers, allowable deductions, capital-asset transactions, and the components of personal and business income. Taxation knowledge is especially helpful for accountants in private practice.

  • Government and Nonprofit Accounting

    This course introduces students to accounting principles and practices pertaining to government and nonprofit entities. Students study the differences between financial reporting for local and state governments and businesses. They also study budgetary accounting and statement account operation for government agencies.

  • Information Systems for Accounting

    Technological advances affect accounting processes and procedures. Students review various information systems, their usefulness and value to accounting practice, and how to apply technology to business and accounting processes.

  • Principles of Accounting

    This course covers fundamental accounting principles with respect to for-profit organizations. Students study topics such as accrual-based accounting, balance sheets, and the accounting cycle. This course is usually required for all accounting majors. However, some schools waive the course requirement for students with demonstrable workplace knowledge.

What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting?

Accounting uses skills in business, finance, management, and technology. When researching the best online colleges for accounting, look for programs that emphasize these skills.

Core Skills

Graduates from a bachelor’s program in accounting know how to apply accounting principles and procedures to solve a variety of operational and organizational problems. They can analyze, classify, and interpret financial information and communicate findings using appropriate media. Graduates can also identify, analyze, and mitigate organizational risks and apply ethical reasoning and principles to their accounting practice.

Potential Careers and Salaries

Competent accountants can find work in most industries. Each of the following positions uses the skills students learn from a bachelor’s in accounting. Specializing in a role, such as a cost estimator or a financial adviser, may limit professional opportunities. However, the prospects for most accounting-related positions remain positive.

BROWSE BACHELOR’S IN ACCOUNTING CAREERS

Accountant or Auditor

Accountants and auditors determine the accuracy of financial data and records, assess an organization’s financial operations to maximize efficiency and productivity, prepare financial reports, and ensure that taxes are paid on time.

Annual Median Salary

$69,350 per year

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts review spending requests, monitor an organization’s spending, estimate future financial needs, and prepare budget reports. They also review budget proposals for compliance with internal and external regulations. Budget analysts sometimes explore alternative funding sources.

Annual Median Salary

$75,240 per year

Cost Estimator

Because their work entails in-depth knowledge of an industry or product, cost estimators often specialize in an area. By collecting and analyzing data, they estimate the cost of labor and materials and how long it might take to complete a project or manufacture a product.

Annual Median Salary

$63,110 per year

Financial Adviser

Financial advisers assess the financial affairs and goals of clients. They educate clients about different financial instruments, such as trusts, IRAs, and securities, and advise them on which ones to use to achieve financial objectives.

Annual Median Salary

$90,640 per year

Tax Examiner and Collector/Revenue Agent

Tax examiners and revenue agents determine how much in federal, state, and local taxes businesses and individuals must pay. They also conduct audits, review tax returns for accuracy and regulatory compliance, assess and collect overdue tax payments, and evaluate financial information.

Annual Median Salary

$53,130 per year

Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Accounting?

Postgraduate accounting studies can expand your career options and salary prospects. Many graduates of an on-campus or online bachelor’s in accounting program pursue further education to become certified public accountants. However, a bachelor’s degree in accounting provides ample opportunities for a rewarding career as well. Bachelor’s degree holders can become bookkeepers, budget planners, and auditors, or pursue roles that incorporate all three components. A bachelor’s degree in accounting particularly serves graduates seeking generalist positions.

Accreditation for Accounting Bachelor’s Program

The Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee several accrediting agencies. Accreditation indicates that a school adheres to high academic standards. It also expands financial aid, education, and employment opportunities.

Federal financial aid is only granted to students at accredited schools. Additionally, most accredited institutions do not accept credits from schools without accreditation.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is among the most prestigious accrediting bodies in business. The AACSB accredits accounting programs and schools separately from business schools. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) also accredits accounting programs. Both the ED and CHEA recognize the ACBSP.

Accounting Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide excellent networking opportunities for accounting professionals to share the latest field developments and career tips. Members of professional accounting organizations also enjoy continuing education opportunities, discounts on professional resources, and employment opportunities.

American Accounting Association

An international organization with over 7,000 members, the AAA publishes 17 digital journals and a quarterly newsletter focused on accounting education. It maintains an active career center on its website, produces webinars, and provides links to professional development courses.

American Institute of CPAs

The largest professional association in accounting, the AICPA offers resources for certified professional accountants (CPAs) and bachelor’s degree holders planning to take the CPA exam. Members can access practice exams, study guides, and a job board on the AICPA website.

National Society of Accountants

The NSA boasts National Association of State Boards of Accountancy approval to provide continuing education units. Members can access exam preparation courses and accounting resources. The NSA Foundation also administers a scholarship program for accounting students.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


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Advertisement AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org 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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