Get an accounting degree online: What professionals need to know

Enrolling in an accounting degree program is a smart investment in your most valuable asset — yourself. Getting into an accounting degree program online gives you the flexibility to study at your own pace and on your own schedule, making it a fit for your busy lifestyle. Accountants are in demand in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to help manage financial records and advise on business decisions.

Life as an accountant means more than just crunching numbers — these professionals are filling key roles in many areas of businesses. Some analyze data and identify opportunities to increase revenue or identify redundancies that can be combined to reduce expenses. Others consult with management teams, advising on product decisions, acquisitions, overhead costs, and more. As a career, accounting has a stable and lucrative history and remains relevant to all sectors of the economy.

An online accounting degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business can help prepare you to pursue an advanced degree or professional certification, such as certified public accountant, certified management accountant, certified internal auditor, or certified fraud examiner — all of which will further increase your stock in the job market.

Below, we’ve listed some of the top reasons why you should pursue an accounting degree online:

The job demand

As with any career route you choose to take, better understanding the job demand before diving into education and earning your degree can help you determine if it’s worth the investment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the accounting field is predicted to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, as fast as the average for all American professions. This indicates a promising future for those interested in pursuing accounting as a career.

In fact, the BLS projects there will be an average of over 125,000 job openings for accountants and auditors each year during this time frame. With so many job opportunities comes a level of robust competition. While there are a variety of entry-level positions available, there may be more people applying, which can make it more difficult to secure a spot. That’s what makes earning an online accounting degree so important:  Furthering your education and boosting your skill set with a bachelor’s degree, as well as other potential certifications, can give you an advantage and set you apart from your colleagues.

Two female accounting professionals collaborating over papers

The pay

According to BLS data, becoming an accountant provides a median salary of $73,560 as of May 2020. This is significantly greater than that national average of all occupations, which is $41,950.

No matter the specific industry you wish to pursue, the median annual salary is within $10,000 of $70,000. The BLS reported the following average wages based on industry:

  • Finance and insurance: $78,600
  • Management: $76,230
  • Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll: $73,180
  • Government: $72,260

These salaries are median wages for all accountants in 2020, which means there’s an opportunity to earn more. In fact, the highest 10% earned more than $128,680.

Typically, work in the accounting field is hard to come by without a degree. Earning your accounting degree online not only prepares you for the working world in general, but can also provide greater access to better jobs with more opportunities to advance, particularly if you use your degree to pursue additional professional certifications.

The learning opportunity

Students studying online while they continue in their careers have the unique opportunity to apply what they’re learning to real-world situations. If you choose this path, it can help you to better retain what you learn while adding some valuable context.

The online bachelor’s in accounting program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is designed to provide you with the necessary tools and education to expand your knowledge and prepare you for a career in the industry. The program is 100% online, which means you can work at your own pace.

Some of the classes you will take include:

  • Business Foundations: A foundational course, this class takes you through the different business careers you may be interested in pursuing after graduation, paying close attention to the positions’ functions in national and international business culture.
  • Principles of Accounting I: A three-credit-hour course, this class focuses solely on accounting and how it impacts financial statements. Financial reporting, accrual versus cash, long-term operational assets, and stockholders’ equity are a few of the topic areas covered in this class.
  • Quantitative Analysis I: Learn how to examine and conceptualize basic statistics, index numbers, probability, statistical inference, estimation, and more.
  • Information Systems: Technology plays a major role in many industries today, and the impact the tech world has on accountants makes a big difference in day-to-day tasks compared with a decade ago. In this class, you’ll learn about management and application of information systems, through the planning, design, development, and implementation stages.
  • Business Communications: No matter your career path or industry, having strong written and verbal communication skills is a must. In this course, you’ll review grammar and the organization of basic written communication through collaboration with peers and individual writing assignments.
  • Financial Accounting I: Once you power through your foundational and core classes, you can get into the accounting specialization. This course goes over the financial accounting environment, paying close attention to accounting cycles, financial statements, and the time value of money.
  • Cost Accounting: Take a deeper dive into financial theories and procedures, learning more about cost allocation, overhead, budgeting, job orders, and quantitative techniques.

At the end of the program, you will complete the Accounting Capstone requirement, a project that allows you to showcase the skills and knowledge gained throughout your learning experience.

Career growth opportunities

Not only does earning an online accounting degree bring a multitude of learning experiences, but it also sets you up for success in finding a job that suits your personal goals and values. While becoming an accountant might be the first job choice that comes to mind after you get an accounting degree online, that’s not the only option. Other suitable jobs for someone with this academic background include:

  • Staff auditor: A staff auditor focuses on mismanagement, fraud, financial discrepancies, and other potential risk areas that exist within a business to help avoid legal issues.
  • Financial analyst: A financial analyst is responsible for helping people (whether stakeholders in a business or clients at an individual level) make better-informed decisions about their finances based on personal goals, market behavior, and business and economic trends.
  • Cost estimator: A cost estimator analyzes a variety of factors that impact time and budget needed to complete a project.
  • Tax reviewer: This career path involves conducting audits and reviewing tax returns to ensure taxpayers are paying the correct amount on their taxes and doing so in a timely manner.

Additional careers you may pursue after earning your bachelor’s degree in accounting include financial manager, budget analyst, accounting clerk, and bookkeeper.

The business expertise

Accounting is the language of business. No matter which specific career path you end up choosing, your accounting degree will give you a strong overall business background. You will learn to understand the inner dynamics that govern a business’s bottom line, and for that reason alone you will be a genuine asset to future employers.

The bachelor’s in accounting program at the Collat School of Business pays close attention to business in general, with many courses focused on this area of expertise. Business Foundations, Legal Environment of Business, and Business Communications will all cover a breadth of topics that are business-relevant, while the remainder of the program will teach you how to apply that core knowledge from an accounting perspective.

The flexibility

Pursuing your dream as an accountant is a major accomplishment. However, going back to school doesn’t always seem achievable to a person with a busy lifestyle or limited free time. That’s the beauty of pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in accounting — studying on your own time and gaining the necessary education needed to graduate and become a successful accounting professional are still achievable goals even when you can’t attend classes on campus.

Online education offers a flexible way to pursue your education and advance your career. The Collat School of Business offers a 100% online accounting degree that has the curriculum, tools, and resources to teach you the foundations of accounting and business so that you’re prepared for a job after graduation.

The quality standard

By gaining an accounting degree from a regionally accredited and recognized institution, you put yourself in a better position when applying for jobs, as employers are looking to make sure you earned your education with high standards. Taking online courses doesn’t mean you have to worry about getting a lower-quality education than your colleagues. In fact, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business has gained national and international recognition based on its rigorous academic standards and educational growth consistency. Some of those accolades include:

  • Named one of the “Top 10 Universities in the United States for Diversity” for four consecutive years by The Princeton Review.
  • Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the world’s largest business education alliance that pays close attention to the effort schools put into their curriculum and overall educational practices.
  • The online bachelor’s in accounting program is endorsed by the Institute of Management Accountants for successful CMA exam preparation. The IMA endorsement means the online accounting degree program meets the rigorous educational standards necessary to prepare participants for the Certified Management Accountant exam.

These accolades and others give the Collat School of Business its reputation for quality education and can make your job search easier in the long run.

Enroll online in the Collat School of Business today

Earning your bachelor’s degree in accounting can provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to advance your career and take on new challenges in the working world. By pursuing your accounting degree online, you can further your education without putting the rest of your life on pause. The Collat School of Business can set you up for success and provide you with the necessary tools to become a technically proficient accounting professional.

As the university is renowned for its focus on leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship, gaining your bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Collat School of Business can help you build a solid foundation in accounting practices.

You will benefit from a worldwide alumni network and a rigorous curriculum designed to prepare you for a successful future in accounting. Your degree will equip you with accounting principles, business communications and foundations, financial management, information systems, management processes, and quantitative analysis skills.

Interested in learning more about earning your accounting degree online? Download your free brochure today or contact an enrollment advisor directly at 1-888-836-4670.


Recommended readings:

The Benefits of Getting Your Master of Accounting Degree Online

Is An Online MBA Worth It?



Straighter Line, Should You Get Your Accounting Degree Online?

Accounting Degree, Five Reasons To Get Your Accounting Degree

Career Igniter, Should I Get An Accounting Degree Online?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Accounting curriculum

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business