Best Online Accounting Programs

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If you’ve been working in the finance department for the past few years and are ready to advance your career, an online bachelor’s in accounting program could be a great fit for you. In order to become an accountant in the public or private sector, you need an advanced understanding of taxes, financial analysis and auditing—all skills taught during this program. Additionally, an online bachelor’s in accounting will prepare you to sit for the CPA examination while allowing you the flexible schedule needed to continue working full-time.

While this page is primarily a detailed breakdown of the best online accounting bachelor’s programs, we also look at the many factors surrounding pursuit of the degree: the basic modes of online accounting education, the awards accounting students can pursue regardless of where they are enrolled, the prospects graduates have in the workforce and the university system once their bachelor’s is secured. These dimensions, once understood, make it that much easier for prospective students to complete that all-important task: deciding where to enroll.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Indiana Wesleyan University

 4/562.53%Marion, IN


U.S. News and World Report considers Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) "One of the Top Universities in the Midwest." This private, Christian university based in Marion, Indiana is lauded for its academic rigor and practical approach to pedagogy within the liberal arts tradition. Since the 1920s, IWU has offered small classes, an array of degrees and a supportive academic community for students. The school's online degree offerings, including its online B.S. in Accounting, are designed to meet the educational needs of working professionals. The program exposes students to everything they'll need to know as accountants regarding taxation, accounting theories and auditing methods, among other key topics.

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Washington State University

 3/567.24%Pullman, WA


Washington State University (WSU) is Washington's only land-grant university. It is a public institution headquartered in Pullman, Washington that is among the 96 universities in America recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for "very high research activity." WSU's online programs, considered a part of the WSU Global Campus, help fulfill the school's land-grant commitment of increasing access to education on a large scale. Online enrollment at the school exceeds 25,900 students. WSU's online accounting program focuses on core accounting competencies and innovation in the field.

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Northwood University – Michigan

 4/556.29%Midland, MI


Northwood is a private institution located in Midland, Michigan with a serious focus on the business side of things, only offering business degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. The university offers the Bachelor of Business Administration degree in sixteen different majors, including Computer Information Management, Accounting, Advertising and Marketing and Hospitality Management. Aiming to foster the growth of leaders and entrepreneurs, Northwood University's online programs provide both the flexibility and rigor working professionals need to take their skills and knowledge to new levels. Their accounting program focuses on financial analysis, cost-cutting strategies and profit maximization for businesses.

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Misericordia University

 4/571.16%Dallas, PA


Misericordia University is a private, Catholic University located on a scenic campus in Dallas, Pennsylvania. The university takes special care to ensure that its students feel supported in their academic and professional growth, offering things like a "Guaranteed Placement Program" to help students find jobs after they graduate. For working professionals, the school has also taken special care to develop challenging and useful online bachelor's degree programs and undergraduate certification programs. Among those is Misericordia University's online accounting program, which prepares students to work as financial analysis and taxation experts.

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Auburn University

 2/570.86%Auburn University, AL


Auburn University (AU), a public institution located in Auburn, Alabama serving over 20,000 students, is one of the largest universities in the state as well as the state's first land-grant university. AU is currently one of the select few American schools considered a land-grant, space-grant and sea-grant research center. Its architecture, agricultural and business programs consistently rank well in major publications. The university offers both bachelor's and master's degree programs online, including programs in engineering, business, human sciences, and education. AU's online B.S. degree program is structured for students who already have degrees who wish to become accountants or fulfill the requirements to sit for the CPA Exam.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham

 2/555.54%Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is one of three universities in the University of Alabama system. It was also the first institution in the University of Alabama system to receive the status of "Research University I" by the Carnegie Foundation. UAB is well-known both in Alabama and nationally for its health research as well as its challenging business degree programs. The school's online offerings aim to empower working professionals with the courses they need to further their careers in meaningful ways. UAB's Bachelor of Science in Accounting is a comprehensive program that prepares students for public accounting, governmental accounting and internal accounting.

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Clarion University of Pennsylvania

 2/549.5%Clarion, PA

Founded in 1867, Clarion University of Pennsylvania has a long, rich history of going above and beyond in the name of education. Clarion University is currently located in a beautiful, rural setting on 128 acres in Clarion, Pennsylvania. The school offers associates, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in a number of different subjects. Students can currently attend classes on-campus or get their degrees through 100% online coursework. The online B.A./B.S. in accounting program at Clarion University equips students with all the knowledge they need regarding business, law and taxation to thrive as accountants in the fast-paced world of business.

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DeSales University

 5/570.65%Center Valley, PA

DeSales University is a small, globally minded university located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania that focuses not only on the intellectual development of students but also on their character development. DeSales strives to challenge students to think about the character strengths of responsibility, respect, purpose, humility, honesty, courage and compassion. The university's online programs also focus on both academic and character development, pushing students to think about the impact of their current and future careers while delivering instruction with attention to what works best for online students. The online accounting program at DeSales University aims to open doors to "every kind of business," whether it be corporate, finance, management or government.

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Florida Atlantic University

 1/545.95%Boca Raton, FL

The motto at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is "Where Tomorrow Begins," and this motto serves an apt description for a university that strives to provide its students with so many opportunities to advance academically and professionally. Over 30,000 students are currently enrolled at FAU, and these students have the option to take classes both online and in-person at the school's headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida. FAU offers over 180 degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Of those degrees, seventeen can currently be earned through 100% online coursework. The B.B.A. in Accounting degree program at FAU provides students with the foundational knowledge they need to enter either the public or the private sector as accountants.

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Old Dominion University

 2/551.58%Norfolk, VA

Old Dominion University (ODU) is a space-grant, sea-grant, public research institution located on 251 acres of land in charming Norfolk, Virginia. One of Old Dominion University's many claims to fame is its TELETECHNET distance learning program, which is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the United States. Approximately a third of ODU's current students attend classes online through this distance learning program, which has developed quite a prestigious reputation thanks to both its age and the success of its graduates. The school's accounting program is one of the few in the country that has separate accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – International, which gives its graduates an extra edge once they enter the professional world as accountants.

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Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

 5/562.62%Standish, ME

Saint Joseph's College of Maine is a private, Catholic liberal arts college located in Standish, Maine on the beautiful shore of Sebago Lake, right outside of Maine's largest city, Portland. Current and former students at St. Joseph's College of Maine have been recognized for their community service, innovation in the arts and professional contributions. There are currently around 1,000 students who attend classes on campus and 2,400 students who attend classes online at St. Joseph's College of Maine. The college's global, online campus provides extra support for students in the form of online advisors, online tutors and an online help desk. The online Bachelor of Science in General Studies with an Accounting Specialization offered at St. Joseph's College of Maine allows students to meet the academic requirements necessary to sit for the CPA exam.

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Champlain College

 5/557.12%Burlington, VT

Champlain College is a private, co-ed college based in Burlington, Vermont. It stands out in terms of its small class sizes, international satellite campuses in Dublin and Montreal, and "upside down" curriculum, which gives students the opportunity to take classes in their chosen majors as early as their first semester. U.S. News and World Report named Champlain College among the top 25% of schools with online degree programs for undergraduates. The college currently offers quite a few bachelor's, master's and certificate programs for online students. One of those programs is the B.S. in Accounting program, which covers all the finance, tax, tax law, auditing and business bases aspiring accountants need to know.

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Regis University

 5/559.05%Denver, CO

Regis University is a prestigious Catholic university located in Denver, Colorado that currently educates over 1,600 undergraduate students and many graduate students. The likes of Jimi Hendrix, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have even visited the campus. Regis is dedicated to enrichment in many ways and now offers students more opportunities to fit higher education into their busy schedules through the Regis University World Campus, which offers online degree programs in computer science, business and the health professions. The online Bachelor of Science in Accounting program exposes degree candidates to all of the latest accounting techniques.

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Bemidji State University


Bemidji State University (BSU) is a public, state university located in Bemidji, Minnesota on the stunning shores of Lake Bemidji. Originally Bemidji State Normal School, the institution of higher education has been around since 1919 and has a long, successful history of educating students from Minnesota and beyond. Over 5,000 undergraduate students and over 400 postgraduate students are currently enrolled at BSU. The university's online degree programs, which offer in-state tuition for all students regardless of state residency, have expanded over the past few years and now include twelve different bachelor's degree programs and three different master's degree programs. The online B.S. in Accounting program is an attractive option due to its relative affordability and the fact that students can complete it in as little as two years.

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Tiffin University

 4/538.82%Tiffin, OH

Tiffin University is a private, co-ed university based in Tiffin, Ohio that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The university's School of Business is, in particular, known for producing graduates who quickly move up the ranks in the realm of business. Tiffin University is also known for its music program, which specializes in commercial music production. The school's online degree options are steadily increasing in popularity and reach. The Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting at Tiffin University provides traditional accounting courses in a non-traditional format, allowing for increased flexibility for students.

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Aurora University

 4/557.56%Aurora, IL

Aurora University is a private, liberal arts university nestled in the cozy, scenic area of Aurora, forty miles outside of Chicago. It serves approximately 3,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students in a variety of disciplines. The student faculty ratio in undergraduate courses is 15:1, which means classes are small, and students don't get lost in the shuffle. Online degree programs at Aurora are also small and structured to give students the attention they need to thrive. The university's online B.B.A. in Accounting teaches students the ins and outs of accounting in the corporate world as well as the public sector.

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Gardner-Webb University

 4/553.97%Boiling Springs, NC

Gardner-Webb University is a private, four-year university with a brick-and-mortar main location in Boiling Springs, North Carolina at the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. There are over 4,300 total undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Garner-Webb. The university consistently ranks highly among regional universities in U.S. News and World Report Rankings. Additionally, its online business degree programs have been recognized by major publications due to their innovative approach to distance learning. The online accountancy program for undergraduates at Gardner-Webb explores both the science of accounting and business administration for accountants.

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Southern New Hampshire University

 4/5N/AManchester, NH

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonsectarian university based in Hooksett, New Hampshire. SNHU has been around since 1932 and was once exclusively a college for undergraduate students majoring in subjects related to accounting and business. Now the university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business and education. Its online degree programs are immensely popular, and around 18,000 students are currently enrolled in them. The Affordable Colleges Foundation recently named SNHU's online bachelor's in accounting program as one of the three most affordable online accounting degree programs in the U.S.

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University of West Alabama

 2/532.9%Livingston, AL

University of West Alabama (UWA) is based on a 600-acre rural campus in charming Livingston, Alabama. UWA has served students from Alabama and beyond since 1839 and now serves over 5,000 students, in person and online. The university grants associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in addition to education certificates for teachers. Its online programs are tailored to the needs of working adults. The 70-hour online accounting degree program at UWA preps students to sit for the rigorous CPA examination and enter the business world ahead of the game.

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Northwestern State University of Louisiana

 2/537.79%Natchitoches, LA

Northwestern State University (NSU) of Louisiana is a four-year, public university based in Natchitoches, Louisiana on a sprawling, 916-acre campus. NSU opened its doors in 1884 as a regional school for teachers and now offers over 50 degree programs for students to choose from. Committed to innovation, NSU was one of the first universities in the U.S. to work on research for NASA scientists as a part of the NASA Joint Venture Program in the 1990s. NSU'S continued commitment to innovation can be seen in the school's top-notch online degree program offerings. The online B.S. in Accounting degree program at NSU guides students through the basics of accounting and the more advanced areas in the field.

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Davenport University

 3/539.57%Grand Rapids, MI

Founded in 1866, Davenport is a private, non-profit university serving nearly 9,000 students at campuses across Michigan and online. Davenport provides high academic quality, small class sizes, conveniently located campuses, faculty with real-world experience and more than 50 dynamic undergraduate and graduate programs addressing in-demand careers. The online B.B.A. in Accounting Information Management at Davenport University prepares students for the in-depth financial analysis and complex financial reporting they'll need to do as practicing accountants. Davenport is proud to received accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The university currently offers 50 areas of study and online programs that are steadily growing in popularity and reputation. The online B.B.A. in Accounting Information Management at Davenport University prepares students for the in-depth financial analysis and complex financial reporting they'll need to do as practicing accountants.

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Saint Leo University

 3/544.89%Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University is a private, Catholic university located in Saint Leo, Florida, 35 miles outside of Tampa, Florida. U.S. News and World Report considers Saint Leo University one of the "Top Universities in the South." Additionally, G.I. Jobs recognizes the university as a "Military Friendly School." Saint Leo has offered online programs for working adults and those in the military since 1998, which means its online programs have been around for quite a bit longer than average and are thus quite well-established. The online B.A. in Accounting degree program at Saint Leo University helps students succeed in today's fast-changing business environment by exploring topics like cost accounting, auditing, income taxes, and business law.

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Morehead State University

 2/542.73%Morehead, KY

Morehead State University (MSU) is a public university based in Morehead, Kentucky in the foothills of the Daniel Boone National Forest. U.S. News and World Report considers MSU one of the top 25 public universities in the south. Additionally, G.I. Jobs recognizes MSU for being veteran and military-friendly. The university started as a teacher's school in 1887 but has grown exponentially over the years, now offering 222 degree programs. MSU's online options use video conferencing, discussion boards, chats, blogs and more to provide students with in-depth information related to their coursework. The online accounting degree program at MSU focuses on preparing students to design accounting systems, prepare financial statements, analyze accounting data and more. Morehead's BBA-Accounting program is accredited by AACSB International, which is the most prestigious business school accrediting body in the world.

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Northwestern Oklahoma State University

 2/534.38%Alva, OK

Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) is a public, state university headquartered in Alva, Oklahoma with a global, online satellite campus and satellite campus locations in Enid, Oklahoma and Woodward, Oklahoma. NWOSU started out as a teacher's college at the turn of the 20th century and expanded its degree program offerings in the 1950s. The university now grants both bachelor's and master's degrees, most of which can be earned on campus and some of which can be earned online. Currently, only business and nursing degree programs are offered online by NWOSU, but the university plans to expand its offerings in the future. The online B.S. in Accounting program prepares students to pass the CPA exam as well as enter the business world.

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University of the Incarnate Word

 4/542.73%San Antonio, TX

University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is a private, Catholic University based in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to operating a university that grants both bachelor's and master's degrees, UIW also operates an all-girls high school. All high school and undergraduate students who attend UIW are required to volunteer in their communities for a pre-established number of hours before they can graduate. U.S. News and World Report ranks UIW among the top liberal arts schools in the Southwest. The online degree programs at UIW, including the online B.S.B.A. in Accounting, are designed for self-motivated students who are ready to advance their careers through flexible, challenging coursework.

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What to Expect from an Online Accounting Program

As a student working to earn your online bachelor’s degree in accounting, you’ll take courses that introduce you to foundational accounting principles, cost management, cost analysis, taxation, accounting information systems, auditing, accounting research, financial management and income tax planning. Typically, you’ll take around 70 credit-hours online and ultimately earn your B.S., B.A. or B.B.A in Accounting. No matter which degree you earn, you’ll be qualified to work as an accountant.

Initial courses will cover the basics. After you understand the essentials of accounting, you’ll delve into more complex concepts meant to prepare you to handle any financial situation in the business world. By the end of your degree, you’ll be equipped to work as an accountant at a small business, large corporation or government entity. You’ll also have taken all of the necessary credits to qualify for and pass the CPA exam; this credential will open endless doors in the professional world.

We’ve compiled a list of prerequisite and core courses from our top school, Indiana Wesleyan University, to give you specific examples of the kinds of classes you’ll be taking.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Accounting Principles I
  • Accounting Principles II

Core Courses

  • Accounting Ethics
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Advanced Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Business Law
  • Federal Income Tax I
  • Federal Income Tax II
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting I
  • Intermediate Financial Accounting II
  • Management and Leadership
  • Managerial Cost Accounting I
  • Managerial Finance

Accounting Scholarships

AICPA/Accountemps Student Scholarship Award: A $10,000 award given out to four students each year to cover expenses associated with the pursuit of an accounting undergraduate or graduate education.

AICPA Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students: An award ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 given out to underrepresented racial minority students pursuing an accounting undergraduate or graduate education.

The Education Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA) Undergraduate Scholarships: A series of awards for women pursuing post secondary accounting education at all levels. Scholarships are awarded to applicants based on qualifications like need, merit, and nearness to degree completion.

National Society of Accountants (NSA) 15-16 Scholarship Program: A collection of accounting scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,200, given to undergraduates pursuing accounting and college applicants who intend to.

Employment Outlook For Accounting Degree Holders

As long as there are businesses, accountants will remain in demand. Even during times of economic difficulty, accountants rarely struggle to find work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of job openings for accountants will grow approximately 13% by 2022. Though this is the average growth rate across most jobs, the field of accounting is so robust that it’s a great sign there’s still a steady need for more skilled professionals.

According to BLS figures, opportunities abound, especially for Certified Public Accountants. Some of the most common jobs available to graduates of accounting bachelor’s degree programs include: staff accountant, budget analyst, Certified Internal Auditor, comptroller, forensic accountant and Chief Financial Officer. It’s unlikely you’ll become the CFO of a major corporation as soon as you finish your degree. However, having a bachelor’s degree in accounting will definitely help you climb the ladder. Plus, the BLS estimates that accountants earn $63,550 per year on average. That’s certainly not a number to scoff at, especially if it’s your starting salary!


Source: PayScale; Collected August 2015

Where Are the Accounting Jobs?

The following map reflects the average number of accounting jobs per 1,000 total jobs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, the need for financial aid is still a reality for most students. But rest assured, loans aren’t your only option. Explore our collection of financial aid resources or dig into one of the following guides to read more about financing your education.

An Overview of Financial Aid

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options savvy students can use to reduce the total costs of their education.

Understanding the FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first and most crucial step for any student seeking financial aid. Follow our step-by-step guide for answers to frequently asked questions.

Financial Aid for Online College Students

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place and funding opportunities for online students.

Scholarships for Single Parents

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for single parents looking for a more secure financial future for their children. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships for these hard-working parents.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Millions in education benefits are available for veterans and active members of the military. Unfortunately, much of this goes unused. Find out if you’re entitled to help with college and start planning for your future.

Best Online Accounting Programs of 2015
Rank School Location
1 Washington State University Pullman, WA
2 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
3 St. Catherine University Saint Paul, MN
4 California College San Diego San Diego, CA
5 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
6 CollegeAmerica Colorado Springs, CO
7 Champlain College Burlington, VT
8 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN
9 AIB College of Business Des Moines, IA
10 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
11 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
12 Midway College Midway, KY
13 University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH
14 Lakeland College Plymouth, WI
15 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME
16 Tennessee Technological University Cookeville, TN
17 Monroe College Bronx, NY
18 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion, PA
19 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO
20 Florida National University Hialeah, FL