Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting 2021

| TBS Staff

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Students who seek long-term career stability pursue online bachelor's in accounting degrees.

Accounting is a popular career field for its straightforward education requirements and stable job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 6% between 2018 and 2028 thanks to increasing globalization and complex regulatory environments.

One of the most direct pathways to break into the industry is to earn a bachelor's in accounting. This degree prepares graduates for professional certification exams and entry-level careers. Many programs offer concentrations for students who plan to pursue specialized careers like forensic, managerial, or tax accounting.

This guide evaluates 25 of the best online degrees for accounting students, providing information about curriculum content, admission requirements, program formatting, and online support services.

Top 10 Online Accounting Programs 2020
#1 Penn State World Campus University Park, PA
#2 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#3 Trine Online Fort Wayne, IN
#4 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA
#5 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
#6 Shorter University Rome, GA
#7 Ottawa University – Online Ottawa, KS
#8 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
#9 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
#10 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL

Featured Online Schools

The Best Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs

Penn State World Campus View School Profile $$$$ University Park, PA 71% 100% 48%

With over 125 years of experience in distance education, Penn State launched World Campus to bring the latest technology and online best practices to its world-class curriculum.

Penn State World Campus offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. Students participate asynchronously in the 120-credit program with the chance for three start dates yearly.

Penn State does not require standardized exams to apply -- only education transcripts and a school application. Students must complete eight entry-to-major courses to declare the accounting major.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH 54% 93% 68%

A nonprofit university with 80 years in higher education, SNHU expands education boundaries with its online programs. It brings education to students operating in the modern world.

SNHU's online bachelor of science in accounting includes courses covering audits, rules and regulations, and preparing tax returns. Students may also pursue an additional concentration in forensic accounting and fraud examination.

Applicants must submit a school application and transcripts. The school does not require standardized tests or a minimum GPA for students to qualify for admission.

Trine Online View School Profile Fort Wayne, IN 63% 93% 55%

Trine brings 130 years of experience to its online programs. Working adults and those with nontraditional college experience can earn degrees without uprooting their lives.

Trine offers an online bachelor of science in business administration with a major in accounting. Courses happen asynchronously on an eight-week schedule. Students concentrate on fewer courses at a time and study subjects like auditing and tax preparation.

Applicants must submit transcripts and the online application. The school does not require a minimum GPA or standardized tests for students to qualify for admission. Students may transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana View School Profile $$ Natchitoches, LA 45% 81% 63%

Louisiana's first online campus, eNSU, draws on 130 years of higher education experience. The school has national recognition and military-friendly programming.

NSU offers an online bachelor of science in accounting that covers financial and managerial accounting subjects. Students take courses like microeconomics, income taxes, and international business, preparing them for careers in a variety of industries. Courses unfold asynchronously.

Applicants need a minimum GPA of 2.75 and minimum ACT scores of 18 (English) and 19 (math) to qualify for admission.

Maryville University of Saint Louis View School Profile Saint Louis, MO 72% 56% 49%

Founded in 1872, Maryville launched online courses to facilitate learning in nontraditional environments. With over 7,000 students studying over the web, students gain an enormous network.

Maryville's online bachelor of science in accounting prepares students to pursue careers in business in a variety of institutions. Students study asynchronously with no residency requirements and can graduate in as few as 2.5 years with foundational, well-rounded skills.

Maryville requires no SAT or ACT scores and no minimum GPA to apply. Students must send transcripts from other educational institutions and submit an application to get started, with multiple start dates available.

Shorter University View School Profile Rome, GA 46% 38% 62%

Shorter began as a women's college in 1873. Today, the Christian school serves over 3,500 students through both on-campus and online programs.

The online bachelor of business administration in accounting prepares students to work in a variety of settings. Courses include principles of accounting and governmental accounting, as well as swindles and schemes. Students gain 120 credits of the 150 needed to sit for the CPA license.

Students need the completed application and official transcripts to apply. Shorter requires a 2.5 high school or 2.0 college GPA and SAT (900 minimum) or ACT (19 composite minimum) scores.

Ottawa University – Online View School Profile Ottawa, KS 51% 100% 54%

Founded in 1865, OU offers students a foundation in education from a faith-based perspective. The school maintains Baptist affiliation and boasts thousands of online students.

OU offers an online bachelor of arts in accounting with four concentrations: actuarial science, economics, finance, and leadership and management. Students asynchronously participate in courses such as macroeconomics, cost accounting, and business ethics. Students can complete the program faster through accelerated degree options.

OU requires an admission application and official transcripts but no SAT/ACT scores or minimum GPA.

University of Mary View School Profile Bismarck, ND 55% 46% 59%

The benedictine-affiliated university got its start in 1959. Today, Mary serves thousands of students in North Dakota, Arizona, Montana, and Kansas.

Mary's online bachelor of science in accounting uses an accelerated format. Students study subjects like auditing, tax law, and cost accounting. Most students can complete the degree in as few as 3.3 years.

Applicants must submit transcripts and a completed application to begin. Students with 24 transfer credits need a minimum 2.0 GPA to qualify for admission. Students with fewer transfer credits must submit ACT or SAT scores.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College View School Profile Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 57% 37% 70%

A private university in the Midwest, SMWC provides a liberal arts education grounded in the Catholic faith.

SMWC offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. Courses include principles of accounting, microeconomics, and auditing theory. Students can choose entrepreneurship or professional prep as concentrations, with customized course tracks.

To apply, students must submit an online application along with any relevant transcripts. The university does not require SAT or ACT scores but accepts them for financial and academic award purposes.

Florida Atlantic University View School Profile $ Boca Raton, FL 52% 44% 35%

With a vibrant culture and campuses across Florida's coast, FAU offers diversity and innovation. Students can take online courses designed to provide critical skills with minimal disruption to careers.

FAU's 120-credit, online bachelor of science in accounting prepares students to sit for the CPA exam and pursue accounting careers. With modern accounting theory courses, students learn to prepare for audits, build tax returns, and manage both large and small institutions' finances. Expert faculty lends practical experience to the curriculum.

To apply, students must submit relevant transcripts, a completed application, and ACT or SAT scores.

Dakota State University View School Profile $$$ Madison, SD 47% 65% 46%

DSU blends teaching excellence with the latest technology. Originally founded for teacher education in 1881, the school offers online programs for traditional and nontraditional students.

DSU's online bachelor of business administration in accounting offers asynchronous instruction with no residency requirements. Students take courses in principles of accounting, business statistics, and QuickBooks. The school encourages internship credits, and students graduate prepared for a variety of work environments.

To apply, students must submit relevant transcripts, a completed application, and SAT or ACT scores.

University of Alabama at Birmingham View School Profile $$$ Birmingham, AL 58% 58% 51%

UAB offers a long, storied history in education. With thousands of on-campus and online students, UAB offers a wonderful network of fellow scholars and mentors.

UAB's online bachelor of science in accounting prepares students for a variety of accounting careers. Courses include microeconomics, business communications, and internal auditing. Accelerated formats and asynchronous delivery give students the flexibility to complete the degree at their own pace.

Students need transcripts and a completed application to apply. The school waived standardized test requirements through fall 2021.

Concordia University – Saint Paul View School Profile Saint Paul, MN 59% 65% 60%

CSP made history as one of the first colleges to reset tuition fees. Founded in 1893, the university offers affordable, private education to students worldwide -- both online and on its Minnesota campus.

CSP offers an online bachelor of science in accounting, preparing students for careers and certifications. Students take courses such as organizational behavior, microeconomics, and advanced accounting in a flexible, asynchronous format.

Students need a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA to apply, along with transcripts and a completed application. CSP does not require standardized tests.

Davenport University View School Profile Grand Rapids, MI 45% 73% 59%

Michigan's first online learning community, Davenport offers trailblazing courses designed to meet students where they are. The university has more than 20 years of experience in online learning.

Davenport offers an online bachelor of business administration with a major in accounting. The program provides a path for students to launch careers in various financial institutions. With courses like accounting foundations, cost accounting, and business law, students develop skills needed for certification or further career advancement.

Students need transcripts from all educational institutions and a completed application to apply. Davenport offers rolling admissions.

CSU Global View School Profile Aurora, CO 70% 100% 49%

CSU-Global offers online learners the full weight of the university's traditional expertise. Its 100% online offerings facilitate learning and help students begin and complete degrees with minimal disruption to their professional lives.

CSU-Global's online bachelor of science in accounting offers foundational skills in accounting in an asynchronous format. Core courses include business intelligence in accounting, auditing, and forensic accounting. Students must also complete a capstone project and accounting practicum.

To apply, CSU-Global requires students to submit official transcripts, proof of a high school diploma or GED diploma, and a completed application. Transfer students need 24 semester hours or 36 credits.

Misericordia University View School Profile Dallas, PA 69% 38% 71%

With small class sizes and a Catholic foundation, Misericordia offers a well-rounded education. Founded in 1924, the university serves several thousand students annually today.

Misericordia offers an online bachelor of science in accounting in an accelerated format. Students can finish in as few as 2.5 years. Courses include foundational accounting topics, and students can also choose forensic accounting as a minor.

The school just began a test-optional review process for students entering fall 2021. Successful applicants typically hold at least a 2.0 GPA.

Eastern New Mexico University View School Profile $$ Portales, NM 35% 69% 30%

ENMU boasts 85 years of experience in higher education, offering students a close community and course variety.

ENMU offers an online bachelor of business administration in accounting, with courses taught asynchronously and synchronously, balancing interaction with flexibility. Students take accounting and business courses for foundational skills.

The application distinguishes learners over 25 from standard first-year students. The school does not require a minimum GPA or standardized tests to qualify for admission.

University of Minnesota – Crookston View School Profile $$ Crookston, MN 54% 44% 35%

This small university serves around 2,000 students annually and offers targeted majors and a close-knit community. The diverse student body and world-class education offer attractive advantages for students.

UMC's online bachelor of science in accounting prepares students for a variety of jobs. Courses include cost accounting, business writing, and CPA preparation. Students can transfer some credits from previous universities and pursue further credits to qualify them to sit for CPA certification.

To apply, first-year and transfer students need to submit transcripts and a completed application. The school considers GPA, but does not require a minimum.

Troy University View School Profile $$ Troy, AL 43% 52% 63%

Troy began in 1887 as a teacher training college. Today, it serves around 18,000 students annually in a variety of majors.

Troy offers an online bachelor of science in global business with a concentration in accounting and finance. The program provides students with a world-class, asynchronous education. Courses focus on accounting's global business side, including investments, managerial accounting, and database management systems.

Troy requires a 2.0 GPA and standardized test scores of 20 ACT, 1030 RSAT, or 950 SAT-1, if taken before March 2016, for unconditional admission. The school does not require applicants 21 or older to submit standardized test scores.

Dickinson State University View School Profile $$ Dickinson, ND 34% 40% 41%

DSU offers small class sizes, a small student population, and affordable tuition for students worldwide. With the latest technology, the university offers an innovative education for modern students.

The university offers an online bachelor of business administration with an accounting concentration. Students take both accounting courses and a business core, including microeconomics and business policy. An asynchronous instruction style offers students more flexibility.

Online students need a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, and a minimum ACT score of 18 or a minimum SAT score of 950. Applicants 25 or older do not need to submit standardized tests.

Northern State University View School Profile $$$ Aberdeen, SD 48% 54% 29%

Established in 1901, NSU provides students a path to earning online degrees. Small class sizes and teacher-to-student ratios ensure students have mentors and community support.

Students can earn an online bachelor of science in accounting without stepping onto campus. Courses include business finance, marketing, and macroeconomics. Plus, successful students can enroll in an accelerated master's degree, earning both a bachelor's and a master's in only 5 years.

NSU offers multiple admission options: minimum GPA of 2.6, ACT composite score of 18 (SAT 960 or older test equivalent), or rank in the top 60% of graduating class.

California Baptist University View School Profile Riverside, CA 55% 54% 70%

A private Christian university founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention, CBU has 100% Christian faculty and an annual enrollment of around 12,000 students.

CBU's online bachelor of science in accounting takes an interdisciplinary approach, preparing students with finance, law, business, and marketing courses. Courses include real-world case studies, and graduates can go on to sit for the CPA and other exams.

To apply, students need to submit official transcripts and a completed application.

Georgia Southwestern State University View School Profile $$ Americus, GA 29% 61% 50%

GSW offers students small class sizes and over 60 certified programs. Founded in 1906, the university remains a world-class institution for modern students, offering online programs.

GSW offers an online, asynchronous bachelor of business administration with a concentration in accounting. Course schedules happen on a two-year rotation and include options like auditing, taxation, and nonprofit accounting.

Applicants must submit transcripts and a completed application, along with GPA and SAT or ACT scores. The school does not require a minimum number, but instead considers these scores as part of the application process.

Central Methodist University View School Profile Fayette, MO 55% 26%

CMU offers students a liberal arts, faith-based education. Small class sizes and the latest technology facilitate success from a distance.

CMU's online bachelor of accountancy prepares students to work in a variety of business settings. Students take courses such as accounting principles, income tax, and business law.

CMU requires at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA with a minimum ACT score of 21 or a minimum SAT score of 1050. Along with a completed application, students must send current transcripts from other academic institutions.

Old Dominion University View School Profile $$$ Norfolk, VA 52% 51% 56%

A doctoral research university with 24,000 students, ODU offers many online courses, making its world-class education available to students worldwide.

ODU teaches the latest technology in accountancy with its bachelor of accountancy degree completion program. Students study principles of financial accounting, as well as managerial accounting. The degree completion format helps students achieve goals by allowing transfer credits and offering flexible scheduling.

ODU offers guaranteed admission for students from select partner institutions. The school doesn't specify minimum SAT or ACT scores, but does require students to have a score for admission consideration.

Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

What Is an Online Bachelor's in Accounting Degree?

Online degrees for accounting students provide the knowledge and skills needed to earn 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 assess ethical issues appropriately.

The flexibility and expanded access of online programs attract high school graduates, older students attending college for the first time, and working 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 professional accounting certification, pursue entry-level careers, or enroll in graduate school.

Graduates who earn an accounting bachelor's degree online gain skills in mathematics, research, communication, and specialized types of accounting.

Choosing an Online Program

Many top universities offer accounting programs online. With so many options, how do you find the right program for your unique needs and goals? Prospective students must consider factors like cost, course formatting, degree requirements, and learning outcomes.

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Accounting Program?

Whether earning their accounting degrees online or on campus, students can expect to encounter the same foundational curriculum components: general education, major core, and electives. In an accounting program, courses cover topics like economics, finance, and business law. Students looking to further specialize their curriculum can often select from concentrations in auditing and forensic accounting; managerial accounting; public accounting; or tax accounting. Each concentration requires courses focused on field-specific knowledge and skills, such as corporate tax accounting, financial statement analysis, or cost accounting. Students may also choose to supplement their degrees with open electives.

Accounting Curriculum

  • 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.

Accounting Professional Organizations

In the world of finance and accounting, professional organizations offer opportunities for certification, networking, and career development. It is never too early to start making connections and planning for the future, especially when many organizations offer student memberships at a reduced cost.

National Society of Accountants
For more than 75 years, NSA has served accountants and tax practitioners working in small practices. The association provides continuing professional education, networking opportunities, and advocacy for practice rights. Students receive a discounted membership rate and can earn scholarships through the NSA Foundation.
American Institute of CPAs
AICPA provides national representation for certified public accountants and develops industry rules and standards. Students can apply for free membership and scholarship opportunities. They also receive access to an online mentoring program and education and career resources.
American Accounting Association
The largest community of accountants working in academia, the AAA strives to shape the future of the profession through teaching, research, and networking. Membership benefits include access to a digital library of all AAA publications and access to an online career center. Students pay a reduced rate for membership dues

Accounting Jobs

A bachelor's in accounting gives students a strong foundation in finance principles, computer applications, and economics. Public accounting may be the most obvious career path for graduates, but an online degree in accounting is equally applicable to many jobs serving businesses, governments, and individual clients.

Undergraduate accounting programs are also an excellent choice for students who plan to attend graduate school before pursuing advanced positions in finance or economics.

Here are three of the most popular careers for accounting graduates. Some careers require additional education or certification.

Certified Public Accountants
Median Salary: $71,550 Projected Job Growth: 6%

Certified public accountants (CPAs) complete financial tasks for individual, corporate, and government clients. These tasks include bookkeeping and accounting, auditing, tax preparation, and consulting. Accountants generally work independently while completing tasks, but they must communicate effectively with clients to explain their findings.

CPAs may operate their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. To become a CPA, candidates must earn at least a bachelor's degree in accounting and complete a national certification exam from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. CPAs must have keen analytical, organizational, and mathematics skills to excel.

Financial Managers
Median Salary: $129,890 Projected Job Growth: 16%

Financial managers — also known as controllers, treasurers, and finance officers — safeguard the financial health of an organization. These professionals monitor legal compliance, prepare statements and reports, direct investment activities, and help craft long-term financial goals. They often work on management teams and act as advisors to top executives.

Employers typically look for financial managers with a bachelor's degree and several years of relevant experience in business or finance. Many financial managers begin their careers as accountants or financial analysts before seeking advancement. This position requires excellent analytical, communication, and mathematics skills.

Budget Analysts
Median Salary: $76,540 Projected Job Growth: 4%

Businesses, universities, and governments rely on budget analysts to help organize their finances and develop realistic budgets. Tasks include monitoring organizational spending, analyzing costs and benefits, reviewing funding requests, estimating future financial needs, and making recommendations to managers.

Education requirements vary by employer, but many budget analyst positions require a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or statistics. Budget analysts should have excellent communication, mathematics, and writing skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Bachelor's in Accounting?

Earning an accounting degree online typically takes four years of full-time study. Students with significant transfer credits or an associate degree can graduate faster.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Accounting?

An online accounting degree program prepares graduates for careers as certified public accountants, budget analysts, financial managers, and financial advisors.

How Much Do You Make in Accounting?

Salary potential varies depending on experience, employer, and position. According to the BLS, accountants earn a median income of $71,550 per year.

What Is Accounting?

Accounting involves the identification, measurement, and communication of economic and financial information to clients. Accountants may specialize in areas like taxation or auditing.

What Is a Bachelor's in Accounting?

A bachelor's in accounting is a comprehensive undergraduate program that prepares students for entry-level employment, industry certification, and graduate study in finance.

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