Online Accounting Bachelors Degree: An Overview For Students
A bachelor’s degree in accounting, whether completed online or on campus, is typically required for entry-level accounting positions or for entering specialist fields like financial analysis. To take the CPA exam in all but a handful of states, you need at least a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is not mandatory in the following conditions:
The primary function of an accountant is to keep and analyze a client’s financial records. Communicating the results of economic analysis requires accountants to have excellent verbal and written abilities. The roles of accountants and financial managers are crucial to the success of any business. An accountant’s duties range from simple bookkeeping to complex tasks like tax filing and investment management.
Students who major in accounting develop skills in data analysis, financial statement preparation, and data presentation. Students who study accounting as part of a business curriculum also take courses in topics including microeconomics, corporate ethics, and taxation.
Those who study accounting online can go on to careers as financial analysts or even CFOs of companies. Meanwhile, someone might help people with their finances by doing their taxes or serving as a financial planner.
There are many possible areas of expertise for an accountant.
- Auditing: Verifies compliance with requirements by reviewing financial records for accuracy.
- Tax preparation: Focuses on tax preparation to ensure compliance with all tax rules, produces tax statements, and contacts tax officials when necessary.
- Financial reporting: Creates and delivers financial reports to various audiences.s.
- Forensic accounting: Investigations conducted to uncover proof of money laundering or other financial wrongdoing.
- Financial planning/advising: Assists customers in figuring out where and how to put their money.
Accounting might be an excellent career fit for persons who enjoy working with numbers, are organized and detail-oriented, and have strong analytical skills. As a result of the frequent need to give reports and field inquiries from clients about financial concerns, prospective accountants should be comfortable in an office setting and have excellent communication skills.
Recommended Schools for Bachelor’s in Accounting Degree Programs Available Online
|Institution||Deadlines||Accreditation||Tuition per Credit||No. of Credits|
|Arizona State University||N/A||AACSB||$563||120|
|University of Arizona||4/1; 6/15; 8/1; 9/15||AACSB||$530||120|
|University of Minnesota, Twin Cities||8/1; 12/15||ACBSP||$437||120|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||6/1||AACSB||$458||120|
Best Jobs for Online Accounting Bachelors Degree Holders in 2024
The following are examples of careers that require an accounting background. The most recent yearly wage estimates by occupation are from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
|Job Title||Average Annual Salary||Projected Employment Growth Rate from 2023 to 2031|
|Personal financial advisor||$137,740||15%|
Example Courses Here
- Principles of accounting
- Internal auditing
- Applied microeconomics for business
- Business law and ethics
- Strategic planning
Requirements For Degree
Qualifications for a Bachelor’s in Accounting Studies
There are often no prerequisites for entering a bachelor’s degree program in accounting, though a solid grasp of mathematics is always helpful. An official high school transcript or similar document, SAT or ACT scores, and a high school diploma or GED are often needed for admission to an online accounting degree program. Some colleges may require a GPA of 3.0 or better.
The degree’s accounting-specific requirements include studies in auditing, financial accounting, cost and managerial accounting, and economics.
- Working with data systems.
- Business ethics and communication.
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How long does it take to earn a degree in accounting online?
Generally speaking, 120 credit hours are needed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting; however, 150 credit hours may be necessary to sit for the CPA exam in some states. A bachelor’s degree can often be earned in four years of full-time study. It may be possible for students to graduate faster if they can transfer credits acquired at other institutions.
Soft skills like time management and cooperation are essential for a career in accounting, and these are talents that students may develop and exhibit as they progress through an online degree program.
The Investment Cost and Its Return (ROI)
How much does an Online Accounting Bachelors Degree cost these days?
In most cases, you should expect to pay at least $300 per credit hour for an online bachelor’s degree in accounting. At face value, this costs around $36,000 for a 120-hour course. However, this might be significantly reduced by grants and scholarships, depending on your place of residence and financial situation. Consider other choices if this is too much money for you to spend. Military personnel at the University of Maryland’s Global Campus pay $250 per credit hour for tuition, compared to the in-state rate of $318 and the out-of-state rate of $499. While online students might avoid some college expenditures, such as those associated with meal plans and housing, they may still be required to pay a technology charge or other incidentals. Students enrolled in online programs should contact their chosen institution to inquire about additional costs beyond tuition when estimating how much their education will ultimately cost.
Accreditation guarantees an accounting program satisfies the quality criteria for educating future accountants. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business are two organizations that accredit accounting degree programs.
The following graph shows that earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting online can be more cost-effective than earning the same degree in person. For fee-free tuition examples, read on.
|School||In-Person Tuition||Online Tuition|
|Arizona State University||$96,960 in-state $157,200 out of state||$67,560|
|University of Arizona||$101,760 in-state $196,680 out-of-state||$63,600|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||$44,160 in-state $106,080 out-of-state||$54,960|
|University of Minnesota Twin Cities||$64,644 in-state $153,450 out-of-state||$52,440|
How to calculate your degree’s worth after graduation
You should calculate your return on investment – the time it will take to make back the money and time spent on schooling – while making a career decision.
Consider the following factors:
- Your school’s tuition and fees.
- The opportunity cost of the time away from work that you will need to complete your degree.
- What people with varying degrees of education and experience in accounting typically make.
Calculating the real ROI can be tricky since it might vary on factors such as the institution you attend, how much money you make while in school, and how long it takes you to get an online accounting degree. Experts, however, agree that a bachelor’s degree often yields a favorable return on investment. Since public schools often have lower tuition than private schools, they provide the greatest return on investment. The return on investment (ROI) for an accounting degree is good because the job market is growing, and accounting professionals can earn above-average wages. Investing in financial managers may provide a very high return on capital.
ROI on individual degree programs was calculated by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) using the median wages of program graduates at ages 25 and 45. The return on investment was determined in three ways: with no completion adjustment (which assumes a student will graduate on time), with an adjustment for completion (which takes into account the risk of a student dropping out), and with no completion adjustment (which subtracts the cost of college before subsidies). For instance, the lifetime ROI for a bachelor’s degree in accounting and related services from California State University—Long Beach is $597,912, the ROI after completion adjustment is $353,314, and the ROI after completion and underlying spending adjustments is $294,885.
Remember that obtaining a Certified Public Accountant license involves satisfying state-specific requirements and taking and passing a 16-hour, four-part exam. If you want to become a certified public accountant, you should look into the unique needs of your state by contacting the board of accountancy there. A bachelor’s degree and work experience as a public accountant are necessary in most states. To learn more about the prerequisites for taking the CPA exam in your form, consult your school’s website or speak with an advisor or professor.
There is a one-time application fee plus additional costs for each of the four sections of the Certified Public Accountant exam. Below is a list of some example state fees.
|State||Application Fee||Exam Fee|
|Arizona||$100||$254.80 per exam part|
|California||$100||$254.80 per exam part|
|New York||$170||$238.15 per exam part|
Job Outlook and Salary
In U.S. News & World Report’s Best Jobs rankings, accounting is ranked No. 75 in the list of 100 Best Jobs and No. 14 in the Best Business Jobs. Between 2021 and 2031, the BLS anticipates a 6% increase in demand for accountants and auditors. The BLS also reports that accountants and auditors make over $87,000 annually, with potential earnings of well over $100,000. Accurate financial management knowledge and the ability to analyze and convey data are transferable talents that will serve you well in various fields, including accounting.