Online degrees for accounting students provide the knowledge and skills needed to earn a professional accounting certification, pursue entry-level careers, or enroll in graduate school. Graduates can apply accepted accounting principles to real-world businesses, analyze financial issues and make recommendations, and evaluate ethical issues appropriately.
The flexibility and broad access of online programs appeal to high school graduates, older students attending college for the first time, and professionals looking to change careers. Learners with associate degrees who want to become certified public accountants are also excellent candidates for an online bachelor’s degree.
Online degrees for accounting students provide the knowledge and skills needed to earn a professional accounting certification, pursue entry-level careers or enroll in graduate school.
Graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting online gain skills in math, research, communication, and specialized areas of accounting.
What else can I expect from a bachelor’s in accounting program?
Whether earning their accounting degree online or on campus, students can expect to encounter the same basic elements of the curriculum: general education, core curriculum, and electives. In an accounting program, courses cover topics such as economics, finance and business law. Students looking to further specialize their curriculum can often choose concentrations in audit and forensic accounting, management accounting, public accounting, or tax accounting. Each concentration requires courses that focus on area-specific knowledge and skills, such as corporate tax accounting, financial statement analysis, or cost accounting. Students may also choose to supplement their degree with electives.
- Business Ethics: This course teaches students to apply ethical theory and practice in business contexts. Topics include different ethical systems, cross-cultural variations and similarities, and how organizations develop and implement ethics programs. Courses use case studies to help students recognize and analyze ethical issues in the workplace.
- Auditing: An undergraduate auditing course introduces students to assurance services and the professional and ethical standards required of auditors. By examining audit programs and procedures, students gain skills in audit design, testing methods, and communication strategies for discussing results. Coursework emphasizes risk mitigation and compliance.
- Taxation: Students in this course learn the procedures used to interpret tax information for individuals. Coursework explores the basic concepts of federal income taxation, including gross income, exemptions, deductions, and credits. Undergraduate accounting degrees may also offer courses in corporate taxation, focusing on requirements and procedures for businesses.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting gives students a solid foundation in financial principles, computer applications and economics. Public accounting is perhaps the most obvious career for graduates, but an online degree in accounting is also applicable to many jobs serving businesses, governments, and individual clients.
Undergraduate accounting programs are also an excellent choice for students who plan to pursue graduate school before moving into advanced finance or economics positions.
Here are three of the most popular careers for accounting graduates. Some careers require additional training or certification.
Certified Public Accountants
Certified public accountants (CPAs) perform financial tasks for individuals, businesses and governments. These duties include bookkeeping and accounting, auditing, tax preparation and consulting. Accountants generally work independently while performing their duties, but must communicate effectively with clients to explain their findings.
CPAs may operate their own business or work for public accounting firms. To become a CPA, candidates must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting and pass a national certification exam from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. To excel, CPAs must have strong analytical, organizational and mathematical skills.
Chief Financial Officers
Financial managers, also known as controllers, treasurers and financial officers, oversee the financial health of an organization. These professionals monitor legal compliance, prepare statements and reports, direct investment activities, and help set long-term financial goals. They often work on management teams and act as advisors to senior management.
Employers typically look for financial managers with a bachelor’s degree and several years of relevant business or financial experience. Many financial managers begin their careers as accountants or financial analysts before seeking to advance. This position requires excellent analytical, communication and mathematical skills.
Businesses, universities and governments rely on budget analysts to help organize their finances and develop realistic budgets. Duties include monitoring organizational spending, analyzing costs and benefits, reviewing funding requests, estimating future financial needs, and making recommendations to managers.
Educational requirements vary by employer, but many budget analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or statistics. Budget analysts must have excellent communication, math and writing skills.