Accounting is sometimes thought of as a boring job, but for people who are detail oriented, good with numbers and enjoy working people, accounting offers a great option. Online accounting programs and degrees is a great way to become an accountant.
Accountants help people to make sense of their finances and taxes, prepare and examine financial records, and asses financial operations for businesses and organizations to ensure that things go smoothly.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for accountants will grow by 13% by the year 2022.
About Online Accounting Degrees
Accounting is a field that lends itself very well to online learning since much of the classwork can take place in a digital format.
Some programs–like the one at Western Governor’s University–can be taken entirely online. Their program is designed to take around 15 hours a week, which allows students who already have some college credit to continue their studies and gain the 150 semester hours required to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam while they are working full time.
Online Accounting Degrees Offered
Like many fields, students interested in accounting can pursue various levels of degree offered online.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting (B.S.)
A Bachelor’s degree in accounting is the best way to set yourself up for a job in the accounting field. Whether you choose to go on to be a bookkeeper, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), financial analyst, or any of the other wide variety of jobs available, a B.S. will be sure to get you there.
Bachelor of Business with an Accounting Emphasis (B.B.A.)
Getting your Bachelor’s in business with an accounting emphasis is also a great way to get into this field. Business majors will take classes that cover a much broader curriculum including topics like supply chain management and online finance programs that may not be covered in an accounting major.
Master of Accounting (M.A. or MAcc)
Obtaining a Master’s in accounting can have a significant impact on job opportunities for accountants. Usually a lot of prior experience and coursework is a prerequisite for entrance into a Master’s program in accounting, which builds heavily on a Bachelor’s degree. Master’s programs allow you to focus further on a particular area which can also give you a step up when looking for jobs post graduation. For those students who do not meet the semester hour requirement to become a CPA, a Master’s degree is a great way to meet the 150 hour requirement and gain important experience.
Masters of Business Administration – Accountancy Emphasis (MBA)
An MBA degree with an accounting emphasis, much like a Bachelor’s in business, is a great option for those students looking to gain a broader education than a Master’s of accounting provides. For students not looking to become a CPA, a masters can set you apart form the competition in the eyes of prospective employers.
Doctorate of Accounting (PhD)
A Doctorate of accounting is an academic degree, which focuses largely on research. Most PhD candidates in accounting are more interested in the academic aspects of accounting than the practical aspects.
Online Accounting Programs and Fields of Study
There are many fields within engineering that students can choose to pursue.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Auditor
This is one of the most desired position that students strive for in the field of accounting. CPAs receive extra credentials along with their degree and are certified by the state after passing an exam. With duties ranging from ensuring that private businesses, organizations, public firms, and government agencies adhere to laws of reporting and taxation to leading teams of accountants and analysts, CPAs need to have great leadership and problem solving skills as well as a strong attention to detail. Auditors have many of the same duties as CPAs however they may not have the same certifications.
A bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining the accounts of businesses and organizations. Much like a CPA, they must be good with numbers, have strong problem solving skills and be detail oriented. Bookkeepers with two years of experience may apply to be certified which gives them a competitive advantage within the field.
Financial analysts help businesses, and organizations to make smart financial decisions. They asses risk, analyze trends, and determine the return on investment (ROI) of different scenarios.
Forensic accountants work with law enforcement agencies to provide evidence of tax and finance related crimes. Like all those in the field, they rely on strong problem solving skills and attention to detail in order to assist the agencies that they work for.
What to Look For in an Online Accounting Degree Program
Much like nursing programs and their requirements, there are many different regulations that accountants must adhere to which are set up by each state individually.
Be sure that the program you choose is reputable within the state where you will be practicing. A regionally accredited school is generally a better bet than a nationally accredited school. It is also helpful to check the program through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which administers many certifications such as that needed to become a CPA.
This should come second nature to anyone looking to go into accounting. Take a look at the costs of programs as well as any software you may need to complete your degree before making a decision. This is not only good practice for your future career, but it will help you to maximize your ROI.
If you are unsure that accounting is right for you, take a look at the courses offered by the programs you are considering. This will not only help you to decide whether or not to go into the field, but also to determine if the program you are looking at will be a good fit.
Skills / Experience
Accounting requires excellent problem solving and leadership skills as well as a strong attention to detail and ability to work with numbers. The coursework should help you hone these skills, but often for higher degrees experience is necessary. Consider getting an internship with a firm to help you gain valuable experience which will help you stand out in the field.