Online bachelor’s programs in accounting are ideal for people fascinated with numbers, balancing budgets and business reporting. Accounting is a system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying and reporting the results. A typical accounting bachelor’s will cover such germane concepts as basic accounting, auditing, tax accounting, and management accounting. Students will also take general business courses in economics, statistics, corporate finance, business management, and business ethics. Because accounting is about number crunching and analyzing financial statements, students must be skilled at math, paying close attention to details, and spotting errors in reporting.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
Although it is possible to work in an accounting department without a college education or with just an associate degree in accounting, it is very rare to see someone move up into a middle or advanced position without a bachelor’s in accounting or a related field. Additionally, all accounting certification exams (like the CPA exam) require testers to have at least a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience before testing for certification.
Inside an Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Program
Most accounting programs include classes in basic accounting, financial reporting, financial statement auditing, taxation, and management accounting. Some colleges also require students to participate in internships and attend or watch a distinguished scholar lecture series. Assignments, projects, and exams are designed to test students’ knowledge of accounting practices and ability to solve accounting problems.
For online accounting students, course material is presented through slideshows and/or audio or video lectures. Assignments, projects, and exams are submitted through an online learning platform like Blackboard or by email. Online students are also provided with the same support system as traditional students. They are typically assigned an academic and financial aid advisor and given contact information for every faculty member in their program of study so that they will know who to contact in case of an emergency or for general inquiries.
What’s Next for Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Once you have graduated, you will be qualified to apply for most entry and some mid-level accounting and auditing positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2014, accountants nationwide earned an average annual salary of $73,670. Of course, the actual amount you earn depends on your years of experience, level of certification and education, your location and your current position. The BLS also reports that employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 11% from 2014 to 2024; the average rate of growth for all occupations.
Because the CPA exam requires 150 college credit hours (30 hours more than is required for a bachelor’s degree), many professionals go on to get a master’s degree in accounting or a related field. Getting your master’s degree in accounting may also help you qualify for other upper-level career opportunities. Some schools offer special fast-track programs that allow students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the subject in five years. And for those interested in academia and teaching, there are Ph.D. programs in accounting.