Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Accounting 2021

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Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Accounting badge

Accountants help clients file financial documents, recommend strategies for businesses to maximize their profits, and identify financial fraud. A bachelor’s degree in accounting meets the entry-level educational requirement for careers in this growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earn a median pay of over $71,000 per year.

An online bachelor’s in accounting program covers topics like financial reporting, business analysis, and auditing. The flexibility of the online learning format appeals to busy students balancing school with other responsibilities.

Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.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.

Accredited Online College Programs

Our list ranks the best accounting bachelor’s online programs for 2021. Prospective accounting majors can use our ranking to identify the right program for their interests and career goals. We also provide data on the most affordable accounting bachelor’s online programs to help students find a program that fits their budget.

Top 10 Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Accounting

FAQ


  • What is accounting?

    Accounting professionals create financial statements, prepare tax returns, and analyze financial documents. Accountants may specialize in areas like public accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, or financial accounting.


  • How long does it take to earn a bachelor's in accounting?

    Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting typically takes four years for full-time students. Transfer students and those who choose an accelerated program can earn their degree in less time.


  • Can I Study Accounting Online?

    Yes, there are many online accounting bachelor’s programs. By choosing an online program, accounting majors can complete their degree in a flexible format.


  • What is the difference between accounting and finance?

    Accounting emphasizes recording and reporting financial transactions, while finance focuses on strategic planning for financial decisions.


Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Accounting 2021



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

    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1846, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods began as a seminary for the higher education of women. In 2015, the school expanded to allow men into all of its programs. Students can choose from a variety of on-campus and online programs, including an online bachelor's in accounting. The 125-credit bachelor of science in accounting covers foundational topics such as managerial and cost accounting, accounting information systems, and individual tax preparation. The curriculum prepares students for several professional certifications, including certified internal auditor and certified management accountant. The school awards up to 30 credits for prior learning assessments and offers all students free access to its online tutoring service. SMWC holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Peirce College
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Philadelphia and founded in 1865, Peirce College focuses on educating nontraditional and working learners. In addition to on-campus programs, the school offers a variety of online programs, including an affordable, fully online bachelor's in accounting. The 121-credit bachelor of science in accounting typically takes four years to complete. Core courses include global dimensions in business, applied management concepts, and an accounting capstone project. Graduates can pursue credentials such as certified public accountant, certified management accountant, and certified fraud examiner. Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward the degree. Peirce's online bachelor of science in accounting holds programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Peirce holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  3. Trine Online
    Location

    Fort Wayne, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Trine University is a private institution that offers a variety of online undergraduate and graduate programs through Trine Online. Trine's online offerings include many business-related degrees, such as an online bachelor's in accounting. The 120-credit bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting covers topics like advanced accounting, income tax, and corporate finance. Learners culminate the degree with a business internship or a capstone simulation. The program prepares learners to earn certified management accountant and certified public accountant (CPA) credentials. The school recommends that students seeking CPA credentials work with their advisor to tailor the degree to their state's certification requirements. Online students take flexible, asynchronous courses through the Moodle learning management system. Trine holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. St Catherine University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1905, St. Catherine University is a private, Catholic institution in the Midwest that offers an online bachelor's in accounting. The 120-credit degree holds programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Students take courses on topics like cost accounting, business analytics, and legal environment of business. The degree qualifies graduates to sit for the certified public accountant certification exam. Students culminate the degree with a professional business portfolio. The school delivers online courses asynchronously through the Brightspace learning management system. St. Kate's holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Dickinson State University
    Location

    Dickinson, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1918, Dickinson State University offers accredited degrees in a flexible online format, ideal for nontraditional students. DSU's online catalog includes an online bachelor's in accounting. The 121-credit bachelor of science in accounting allows students to take courses part time or full time. Core courses include computerized accounting, government and nonprofit accounting, and financial institutions and markets. Graduates can pursue certified management accountant, certified fraud examiner, and certified internal auditor credentials. The program also partially qualifies learners for certified public accountant (CPA) credentials. Students can work with an advisor to tailor their degree plan to CPA credentials. Online students access coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. DSU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. McKendree University
    Location

    Lebanon, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The oldest four-year higher education institution in Illinois, McKendree University offers diverse undergraduate and graduate programs, including many online options. The school's 120-credit online bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting typically takes two years to complete. Students take core courses on topics like taxation of individuals, managerial cost accounting, and taxation of business entities. The program culminates with a business-related capstone project. The school allows students to extend their degree to meet the educational requirements for certified public accountant credentials. Online students take asynchronous courses through the Blackboard learning management system. Many online students follow a degree track that allows them to earn a bachelor's in accounting and master of business administration in five years. MCK holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Alaska Pacific University
    Location

    Anchorage, AK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University is a liberal arts institution that offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition to on-campus programs, the school offers many online programs, including an accounting bachelor's degree tailored to working learners. The 128-credit online bachelor of arts in accounting examines topics such as auditing, law and citizenship, and business finance. Students can customize the program to prepare for certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, and certified management accountant credentials. Online students take flexible, asynchronous coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. APU holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  8. Walsh University
    Location

    North Canton, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in North Canton, Ohio, Walsh University is a Catholic liberal arts institution that offers a fully online bachelor's in accounting. The 124-credit bachelor of business administration with an accounting concentration typically takes three years to complete and allows students to take courses at an accelerated pace. Core courses include auditing, managerial accounting, and fraud examination. The curriculum aligns with Walsh's CPA Readiness Program to qualify graduates for certified public accountant and certified managerial accountant credentials. Students culminate the degree with an internship, gaining hands-on experience in the field. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA for consideration. Walsh holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Misericordia University
    Location

    Dallas, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A small private school based in Dallas, Pennsylvania, Misericordia University offers a fully online bachelor's in accounting. The 121-credit program features an accelerated format that allows students to graduate within 2.5 years. Learners take core classes on topics including principles of accounting, auditing, and advanced financial accounting. In addition to coursework, students complete a six-credit internship at a local approved site. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. The bachelor of science in accounting holds programmatic accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Misericordia holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  10. Concordia University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Concordia University-Saint Paul offers small class sizes and relatively low tuition rates. Students can choose from a variety of on-campus and online programs, including an online bachelor's in accounting. The 120-credit bachelor of science in accounting typically takes three years to complete and prepares graduates for careers in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Core courses include corporate finance, federal income tax, and managing finances and business strategy. The curriculum prepares students for certified public accountant and certified managerial accountant credentials. Online students take asynchronous coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA for consideration. CSP holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

 
 

Career and Salary Outlook for Accounting



Accountants and auditors create financial reports, review financial records, and recommend data-driven financial strategies for clients. A bachelor’s in accounting degree meets the educational requirement for entry-level roles in this field.

Accountants benefit from above-average salaries and strong demand. According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earn a median pay of over $71,000 per year, with more than 61,000 new jobs projected between 2019-2029. Accountants can increase their earning potential by moving into roles like CPA.

In addition to careers in accounting, an online bachelor’s in accounting degree prepares graduates for a variety of other jobs. For example, budget analysts evaluate budget reports to understand spending, while cost estimators use data to develop estimates of the money required for a project. Personal financial advisors recommend savings strategies for their clients, and tax examiners and collectors make sure businesses and individuals pay their taxes.

The table below highlights the earning potential for accountants and auditors, including the highest paid accountants.

Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10%
Accountants and Auditors Less than $44,480 $71,550 More than $124,450

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Accounting Degrees

Accredited colleges and universities meet the highest standards for educating students. An accredited degree benefits accounting majors in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.

As a result, prospective students should only apply to accredited schools. Learn more about why accreditation matters from our accreditation guide.

Courses in a Accounting Bachelor’s Program



During an online bachelor’s in accounting, majors gain strong analytical and decision-making skills. Many programs let majors customize their degree through specialized courses in areas like forensic accounting, auditing, and public accounting. A specialization or minor helps accounting graduates pursue specific career paths after earning their degree.

Accounting majors build career-ready skills through case studies, team assignments, and projects. Some programs incorporate an internship or capstone project to give students additional hands-on training.

This section provides a sample curriculum for a bachelor’s degree in accounting. While every college sets its own curriculum, the following list includes common accounting courses.

Accounting majors build foundational skills in this course. Learners study accounting records and procedures. The course also introduces managerial accounting skills, such as financial decision-making and budget planning. Other topics may include financial statement analysis, auditing, and financial reporting. The course prepares majors for upper-division accounting courses.

Accountants need a strong understanding of the financial reporting process and its rules. This course introduces majors to financial accounting systems. Topics include revenue reporting, long-term liabilities, assets, and present value accounting. Learners also study the process of creating income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.

In tax accounting courses, majors study the federal, state, and local tax and regulatory system. They learn how to prepare and analyze tax returns for individuals and businesses. They also learn strategic approaches to corporate tax management. The course prepares graduates for careers in tax preparation, tax examination, auditing, and corporate accounting.

Accounting majors in this course learn how to analyze costs and develop strategic plans based on a cost analysis. Learners study topics like financial performance evaluation, strategic performance improvement, and financial performance forecasting. Learners use case studies and real-world examples to build their knowledge and skills.

Accounting students in this class learn how to analyze an organization’s financial statements, prepare a valuation of a business, and determine the financial health of an organization. Topics may include assessment strategies, earnings sheet analysis, and disclosure statements. These business analysis skills train majors for roles in corporate accounting, auditing, and managerial accounting.

Scholarships for Accounting

Students attending online accounting bachelor’s programs may qualify for many scholarship opportunities. Professional associations, private foundations, and government agencies offer scholarships for accounting students. In addition to the following scholarships, students can research opportunities based on factors like their location, career goals, or school.

AICPA Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers several scholarships for undergraduate accounting majors. For example, the AICPA/Robert Half Student Scholarship awards $10,000 to full-time undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $5,000-$10,000

NSA Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The National Society of Accountants offers multiple scholarships to students pursuing an accounting degree. Applicants must attend an accredited institution. In 2019, NSA awarded over $95,000 in scholarship funds.
Amount: $2,000

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Undergraduates planning a career in fraud examination or an anti-fraud field qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must attend an accredited institution on a full-time basis with a declared major in accounting, business administration, or a closely related field.
Amount: $10,000

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